This week our family was able to participate in one of those highlight of your lives type experiences. It wasn’t up there with a birth or a wedding, but definitely just a tier below. Our wrestling team qualified to go to state. This is the second time this has happened in our school history. Last year was the first.
The meet came down to the last match. The other team won the second to last match. After the boy from the other team beat our kid, he snarled at our crowd; that made the whole thing feel even more like we were watching an after school special. We were only up by one point. Our final wrestler needed to win the last match for our team to earn a trip to Team State. He won. I am going to admit to you now that we freaked the freak out.
Zeke and Olivia said they were a little embarrassed by my enthusiasm. I’ve watched a ton of wrestling in the last 20 years. I’ve had practice at controlling my emotions. I’ve learned that you keep crazy mom on the inside. You don’t let that maniac out. On this night she came out; she made up for lost time.
I started feeling badly for acting so crazy. I couldn’t really remember what I even did or said. I just know whatever came out of me was produced by adrenaline. Then I remembered my friend next to me bawling her eyes out. My other friend and I were clinging to each other during the last match. See? It wasn’t just me.
My kids also told me they saw their dad, the Coach, behaving in a way they have never seen him behave before. Most the time we have to check Scott for a pulse during wrestling meets. During this last match he was banging the chair on the ground, jumping around and yelling, “Sauk Prairie”!!!
That proves it. This was one of those moments where we all had permission to freak the freak out. And why wouldn’t we? There’s a lot to celebrate. Winning a trip to state didn’t make our problems go away. We still had to get up and go to work the next day. But, on that night, something special was happening; something a lot of people have worked hard for, and have been concentrating on for a long time; something worth being excited about. So, we were.
Personally, I was celebrating a lot more than winning. I was celebrating our little 106 pounder. He was not favored to win. His role in the team effort was to fight off being pinned. He fought, and fought and fought. He endured pain, but he did not quit. It was close, and he delivered. The scoreboard said he lost, but we all knew he won.
I was also celebrating one of our injured wrestlers. He told the coaches he was going to take a pass on the trip he earned to individual sectionals, so that he could save himself for team state. He’d rather compete for the team title, than an individual title. That moves me.
I was celebrating the fact that all the wrestlers root for each other. No one tries to steal the show. The parents do the same.
I was celebrating our last kid on the mat that night. He has lost some matches, but he always fights. He always fights hard and to the very end. That night he taught us that if you keep fighting, sometimes you win. Sometimes you win big. We can use that as we fight through each day.
I was celebrating our team’s diversity. I love our little town, but I wish we didn’t all look so much alike. About ten percent of the high school population are minorities. On the wrestling team it is twice that. The team is made of kids with different backgrounds and different ethnicity. It’s exactly what I want my kids to be a part of.
The team is made up of some great kids who grew up in our small town, with two parents who would never miss a match. There are other kids who have moved to our town to get away from the city, and the stress and risks of living there. There are also kids who speak English as a second language; they have one parent at home who works every day of the week to keep food on the table. Attending wrestling meets is a luxury those parents cannot afford. These are unspoiled kids who show us how to take advantage of opportunities.
There is a spot on this team for everyone who chooses to join. They hang out and do things as a team.
You know I love a good story, and I like a happy ending. But, I hope you don’t think I think these kids are perfect. They’re just kids. Kids do stupid things. Kids say stupid things. They get mad at each other; sometimes they even beat each other up. Then they’re friends again. But, this team is showing me what it means to be a team. They’re doing something special, and it’s about a lot more than winning.
We have so many things to worry about and fear in this scary world. I’ve done plenty of that. I’ll do plenty more. We all have gone weeks and months grinding it out, without seeing anything to cheer about. So just for a few moments, I want think about something really great that’s happening here; I want to go ahead and say it’s time to freak the freak out.