Sports Stuff

June 4, 2013 at 10:05 pm (High School Wrestling) (, , , , , , )

I was talking with someone the other day who I thought was a lot like me.  Single mother, teenagers, having some problems with her teens, etc etc and so on and so forth.  I was telling her about how I was very upset that my youngest son wasn’t playing baseball this season because he messed up his grades.  I was telling her how much I missed it and how sad I was that he cheated himself out of his Freshman season.  I quickly found out we had nothing in common when this mother looked at me dead in the face and said “I’m so thankful I never had to go through any of that sports stuff with my kids”. 

~Cue needle being dragged across a vinyl record~ 

She said “sports stuff” with the tone of voice you get when you step in dog poo.  It was almost like time stood still for a minute.   What?  How?  Why?  Who ARE you?  

I don’t really get where she’s coming from. If it weren’t for all this “sports stuff”, I wouldn’t feel like I had a place in my boys’ lives at all, save my duties as a maid and chauffeur.  At the risk of sounding like a bumper sticker, that’s pretty much all I feel good for some days.  

My boys are 16 and 17.  They are trying to figure out who they are and their place in the world.  They don’t really want me around for that.  They are going through the rituals and rites of passage of the American male teenager…you just don’t let your Mom tag along for that kind of stuff.  My youngest got in a fight to prove himself against some kids who were pushing him around.  He did it on his own.  I was mortified when I found out of course, and that’s why he didn’t let me find out until later.  My oldest is having some issues with girls.  What would normally (normally being pre-15 years old) be something he came to me for advice on, he’s working out himself and with the help of his buds. 

 They don’t really want to share anything with me these days except my food and my vehicle. 

But for some reason they love it that I’m involved with wrestling.  When my oldest was going through a tough time recently and I thought he’d quit the team, I told him I might as well quit too.  I think that was the only time I saw tears from him during what he was going through.  “You can’t quit, Mom”.  Which was loudly seconded by my youngest son.  For several weeks. 

Maybe someday when they are grown and have some distance from all the teenage angst, I’ll find out why they were ok with it when they usually didn’t want me around for anything else.  I have made some amazing friends throughout the years and we have shared memories of our kids doing amazing things.  My boys and I have had many, many car rides to faraway lands back and forth to their events.  And every parent knows the car is the best place to talk to your kids.  We have basked in the glow of their victories and I have nursed them through painful defeats.  

They have learned some things about how to be a man and how not to be a man from the myriad of coaches they’ve had over the years.  They’ve made great friends who they will always remember.  They’ve made friends with kids from other schools, taken road trips to places they would never normally go, and learned a lot of important life lessons out there on the fields and in the gyms.

 Now and always, I will treasure every soccer goal, every inning pitched, every play of their football games, every wrestling match.  Every.  Single.  One.   It’s totally worth all the work for wrestling, all the hours spent watching football and soccer and baseball in EVERY kind of weather, all the miles put on my car and all the Saturdays spent.  

They do have other interests like drawing and music and long boarding, but I have to say, all this “sports stuff” has been really good to me.  I can’t really imagine what our lives would have been like without it.



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To the Moon and Back, Part I

January 27, 2013 at 3:46 pm (High School Wrestling) ()

I have decided to break this little narrative up into a few posts, because it’s been a year since my last post, and I have a lot to say. 

Part I

Ok, so I haven’t been the most active blogger out there. I love writing, I find it very therapeutic.  And I have really missed logging on and writing something about this element of my life, the little gem tucked away from November to March that I cherish for so many reasons. Being that the season is now in full swing, quite often something will happen and I’ll think to myself “that’d make a great blog post”, or “I really need to stop neglecting my little blog”…but the truth of the matter is, I have been avoiding it. 

My oldest son is now 17.  Last summer he went a little wild, became defiant and disobedient as so many teens do. He’d text me at work and tell me he was going to hang out with his friends, and I wouldn’t see or hear from him for days.  He’d come home and we’d fight.  Then he’d leave again.  It tore me up like nothing else has in my time as his parent.  This is the kid who would leave his video game and interrupt my book and sit on my bed with me for some “mother/son time”, as he called it, to talk about big life issues, or nothing in particular.  This was the kid who told me all the time “You’re so smart Mom, you just know things”, and thanked me so many times for being able to talk to me about stuff. This was the kid who, when his neighborhood friends started smoking and drinking at 13 years old, removed himself from those relationships because he didn’t want to be a part of it.  I’m sure it’s a surprise to every parent when their child goes through something like this, but I was just….. at a loss.  

Thankfully the one thing he did still enjoy and want to participate in that I could support, was wrestling.  He went to two camps over the summer, and even his friends couldn’t talk him out of them.  One of the camps was one I helped chaperone, and we drove six hours north with 10 wrestlers and 3 moms for 4 days and we had a great time.  Both camps were physically exhausting.  Knowing that’s when he feels at his best, when he’s physically exhausted from a good wrestling workout, I was relieved.  Sounds a little odd for me to say I was relieved, but I knew he was emotionally grounded after that and I was hopeful that he’d magically once again start to resemble the child I missed so much.  

It didn’t happen that way.  He went right back to finding other places to live for several days at a time and then when school started, being gone for the whole weekend.  Nothing I said or did was effective at changing this behavior, and trust me, I tried everything I have in my parental arsenal, and then some.  I knew he was up to no good when he wasn’t here, because I know what the kids he hung out with were involved with.  I felt helpless.  You can ground a kid all day long, take everything he owns but the clothes on his back, but at the end of the day you truly cannot control someone else’s behavior.  They do what they want.

I got a call from the school that he was over the allowed amount of absences in one of his classes.  I had no idea, but he was skipping his first class after lunch at the beginning of the year.  His “best friend” got expelled for selling drugs.  Finally, even though I had my suspicions, I now had some semblance of proof as to what the root cause of this all was.  All of this information couldn’t have culminated at a better time, because wrestling season started about two weeks later.  I knew that regardless of all of the lecturing and threatening and punishing and crying and yes, guilt-tripping I did, that wrestling would be the thing to pull him out. 

Continued in Part II

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