Monday, February 11, 2013

Great Accomplishments Require Great Sacrifices

Photo ©ArmyGirl '13
  Well Neil's first year of high school wrestling has come to an end.  It has been a learning experience.  High school wrestling is certainly a different beast than kid's club.  Neil had a great season, Kevin and I are so proud of him.  He went undefeated as a JV Wrestler and finished with a 6-11 Varsity record...not too bad for a freshman, some kids never even see a varsity match their first year of high school.  And remember, this is only his third year wrestling!  We were so proud of his commitment to wrestling.  Watching what he ate, going to nearly every practice, staying and helping with kid's club.  And even now that his personal wrestling journey has ended for the folkstyle season, he continues to travel to support his team who went on to Districts and State.  So proud of this kid!
Neil hated that I edited this picture and added this quote.  It does look like he is losing but the kid actually scored no points off of this since he couldn't fully turn Neil and Neil won the match in the end.  I thought it fit the quote perfectly.
 It was definitely fun to watch him this season grow as a wrestler and as a person.  There is still lots of room for improvement.  He needs to be stronger mentally, many of his matches he lost were a result of mental defeat (in my opinion).  We'll keep encouraging him and hopefully he'll gain a bit more confidence in himself.
This kid was really that much taller than him...a Senior...a state qualifier and Neil beat him!  Of course he had no idea who he was when he stepped on the mat but he fought hard.  Still one of my favorite matches of the season!

He really had a great support system this entire year.  He was encouraged by so many people it warmed my heart.  So many friends would go to his wrestling matches and they'd yell so loud for him.  It helped to fill the void of his dad not being here.  He didn't say much about that, but I know it was hard for him to go through his first season of high school wrestling without his dad in the stands, but he made his dad so proud even through 6800 miles of distance.
©ArmyGirl '13

Along with watching him on the mat, it was amazing to watch him support his teammates.  Our wrestling team is a special group.  They aren't all best friends but they definitely support one another and I am grateful for that.  They even took Daniel in and helped him at practices.  It probably helped that I always sent Neil with lots of food when they went to tournaments...I mean who doesn't like the kid with lots of yummy treats?

Neil also impressed me with how good he was helping with the kid's club.  He was patient with the really young kids and was such a good example to them.  It warmed my heart when the little kids would go to the home wrestling matches and get excited to see Neil on the mat.  He was one of the few high school wrestlers who went to the club practice every day so he was one they recognized easily.  It was also cute to see them run up to Neil and tell them they needed a coach at the tournaments and wanted him.  He has done a great job coaching and it's really helped him grow overall as a wrestler.  His favorite fan, of course, is his little brother.

While he was good with the little kids, he needs to work a bit on being a better drill partner with the middle-schoolers.  I think he forgets that it's only a drill and wants to constantly go live with them.  But as he reminded me one day, when he was an 8th grader and practiced with the high-schoolers, they didn't go easy on him!
Love this picture of Neil talking to the club kids right before they started their first tournament of the season.  I love how the kids are all looking up at him!
Wrestling has really helped Neil grow into an amazing young man, I love this total package of a boy I'm getting as a result of hard work and opportunities to be a leader and a teammate.  I love watching him interact with the other wrestlers and the coaches.  I would be remiss to not mention the coaches that have helped Neil so much this year.  I can't even being to express what the concern and care the head coach had for Neil meant.  He was tough on him...he pushed him to reach his potential and when he didn't, he was very much like a parent...disappointed and frustrated.  We tried to work together to get Neil where he needed to be.  Sometimes we were successful and sometimes we weren't.  I have no doubt that the coach and his staff had the best interest of Neil in mind.

Neil finished his season placing first in his weight bracket at the Ozark Conference Championship with his JV team.  JV doesn't always get the same glory as Varsity but I can say with confidence that Neil certainly did his share in helping his team this entire season...whether it was on the JV side or Varsity. 
Our JV and Varsity Teams that both won Ozark Conference Championships!

Through the ups and downs of the season, we can look back and say it was an incredible journey and a blessed opportunity of growth.
Neil with is bracket and medal and the best smile after taking first in his weight bracket at his last tournament of the season!

And really, who am I kidding there really isn't an off season in wrestling!

1 comment:

Jen said...

What a wonderful season he had! :) He will continue to get better and better.