Saturday, May 3, 2014

Just Wrestling?

I thought I understood about boys and violence. For the past three months, I've listened raptly to their stories of wrestling club practice. I've smeared lotion on their mat burns and scrapes, clucking sympathetically and proud of their swagger. I've exclaimed over the tough-looking singlets (but I don't tell them how adorable they look; not manly...):

Can you stand the cuteness??? Living room practice.

And then I watched them compete at the end-of-season state-wide tournament.

I was sniveling female mess. I was mad at the opponents for being mean to my sons (They weren't.); I was mad at my sons for being afraid (They weren't.); I was mad at the coaches for being mad at my sons (They weren't.). Due to hundreds of wrestlers and hours of waiting, I watched other boys' matches and was mad at the aggressive ones, mad at the shouting parents, and mad at the referees for pumping the winners' fists in the air (Hey, that makes the other kid feel bad.). Clearly, I'm a softie who wants everyone to get a trophy for trying and doesn't like making a big deal of winning. So far, our family has only been involved in individual endeavors like martial arts, cross-country skiing, hiking, and hunting. I am a bad sports mother. I kind of hope they don't want to wrestle any more.

Yesterday had only my littlest boys competing (Joseph, 4 and Luke, 7). At this very moment, I am skipping today's matches, where Ian, almost 10 and John, 16 are wrestling. They're bigger; they have more muscles; they'll hit the floor harder. I can't handle it.

I told all these feelings to Ken last night and he stared, practically slack-jawed at me and tried very hard not to smile. "Honey, it's just wrestling," he said softly. Clearly, I'm a girl.

I know and believe in all the rough-and-tough stuff for boys. I want them to be protectors, comfortable and proud of their physical strength that mirrors virtuous strength . I just don't want to watch wrestling anymore. I'll make sure to have the correct potions and ointments and snacks and a listening ear for when they're home. I'm the mommy, not the coach!

Here is a link to our club, which has very nice and helpful coaches. Very strong and scary, too, but it's OK if men are a little scary. Go Arctic Warriors! Go boys!

And now I've got to get a good snack ready for the after-tournament debriefing...

Happy weekend!

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