For ten years, Buttercup was an only child. She was a princess. She was girlie to the core…
She wore dresses every day. If I suggested pants, she would put up a fight and refuse to get dressed.
She wore her princess dress-up clothes EVERYWHERE: to the grocery store; to her friends’ houses; to the mall. She also wore her plastic dress-up shoes. You know, the plastic open toed heels that look princess-y and come in a package with a plastic jeweled necklace and tiara?
As such, she didn’t play sports.
Well, we signed her up for soccer one year. She went to a couple practices and when she played in her first game… it was a disaster. Someone kicked the ball to her, and she ran away as fast as she could in the opposite direction. I don’t remember if she was screaming in terror or not, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she was.
It was so terrible for her, that we broke our house rule that you finish everything you sign up for and we let her quit.
One thing she loved to do was DANCE. The pretty costumes, the beautiful hair and make-up. That was her style. So we happily signed her up, year after year, for dance class.
And Max, year after year, sat through hour after hour of dance recitals. He is a cultured guy. He is always willing to go to plays and “high brow” concerts with me. He doesn’t mind a professional ballet on a rare occasion, but to sit through 4 hours of loud, blaring music, watching preteens stumble around on stage is not his idea of a good night.
But he did it, every spring, because he loves his daughter.
When Buttercup was 10, Inigo was born. When he was 3 we signed him up for a “dance class” (it was just a creative movement class) and then we had two kids to watch at dance recital.
Both kids quit dancing the same year. Inigo was about 6 and Buttercup was in high school. Buttercup started being involved in theater and Inigo? Well, there were a few sports he dabbled in, but he didn’t excel at any of them.
Until now. Inigo has finally found a sport that he LOVES. I mean…. LOVES!
A sport that is the total opposite of dancing. In fact, I’d call it the anti-dancing.
And I know as much about wrestling as Max knows about dancing.
I always though wresting was an insane waste of time. A bunch of guys rolling around on gross mats, trying to pin each other into obscene positions?
And, can we talk about the outfits? Those unattractive and completely UNFLATTERING singlets?
So, when Inigo came home with the sign up sheet for wrestling, I tried to ignore it. But he persisted and I finally relented. We have been trying hard to find that one sport that he can excel in. One sport that will teach him discipline and good sportsmanship. One sport that will challenge him mentally and physically.
He loves it! He loves going to practice and comes home talking about Half Nelson’s and Double Leg Take-Downs. Don’t ask me what they mean, but he’s learning and figuring it out.
Wrestling was also Max’s sport and he loved it.
But Max is in New Florin, and only able to help Inigo on the weekends when he comes home. That left me to take Inigo to his first tournament last week in Guilder.
I walked in to the school where the tournament was being held and had no idea what was going on. What’s this weigh-in? I really DON’T feed my kid before he weighs in? Weight class? I don’t know what that means.
The chaos and confusion and NOISE that was everywhere drove me BONKERS!
Poor little pre-school aged wrestlers were on the mats, wrestling their little hearts out and when the official raised the arm of their opponent as champion of the match, I watched them burst into inconsolable tears. Sometimes, even the champion would burst into tears, over sheer emotional exhaustion.
My heart was breaking.
Tears were everywhere.
I texted Max and said, “What am I doing here? I don’t want to be here!” and he texted back,
“This is payback for all those dance recitals I had to sit through.”
So, I am now taking Inigo to wrestling tournaments and when Max is home, he happily takes him and helps coach him along.
Inigo hasn’t won a single match. He has had a few injuries: an elbow to his eye, a bruised collar bone and sometimes, a battered self-esteem.
He has been pinned by some of the best wrestlers from other programs, but he has also been able to avoid being pinned and timed out the match.
He’s wrestling his little heart out.
The coaches have told us multiple times they are impressed with the drive and fight he’s got in him. They say the only thing that is holding him back is his lack of experience.
And yes, he’s cried.
I’ve seen older, more experienced wrestlers cry just as hard.
Who knew that wrestling was such an emotional sport?
And now that Inigo is an “only child” (at home) we are looking at spending the next several years hanging out at wrestling tournaments.
We’ve switched from princess and ballet
wrestling and grappling about on a mat.