About a year ago, Steve and I decided that we needed to get the boys involved in a few more activities outside the home to support our home school goals. Living in the country thirty miles from civilization isn't exactly the perfect circumstance for home schooled kids who want to socialize with other kids their own age. So, despite the distance to town, we make the trip almost every day.
Naturally, with a home full of boys, we tend to lean toward athletic activities. And, since we made the decision to enroll them in a local wrestling club, I have to say that the marks on the walls, broken pretty things and furniture casualties has significantly decreased!
One of the sports we ventured into last year was wrestling. You can read my thoughts on our experience here. Despite all of my reservations and hesitations about getting into the sport, club wrestling, for all of us, has been fruitful, and admittedly fun.
This year, we're back in take-down mode, minus one contender. Benedict chose to focus on basketball, and he's happy to stand by dad as coach to Andrew and George. Henry wrestles on the sidelines with the other little boys and Charlie bounces around from parent to relative to friends and neighbors while I snap pictures and lose my voice.
This year, in honor of the sport, I thought I would share a few things that I have learned from the sport of wrestling:
1. It is a great sport for boys, because it is natural to them. Boys can only talk amongst themselves for so long. Eventually they have to exert themselves in some competitive form, and wrestling is usually tops. The worn out living room carpet is proof!
2. Our philosophy with all extra-curricular activities is to just have fun. We've all seen the parents out there who are yelling at their kids and placing unnecessary pressures on them to be the best and to win. I'll be the first to admit that it can make sporting events stressful. But, I also believe our family can lead by example through our positive attitude, sportsmanship and the encouragement we give to others. Our philosophy isn't always welcomed, but hey, neither was Jesus'.
3. Wrestling has many elements of character building built into it. The boys represent themselves, their family and their club by demonstrating respect for their coaches, referees and all those who volunteer at the tournaments. They exercise gratitude toward their family and all those who come and watch them compete. Self-confidence and self-control are exercised with every match, win or lose. And, because the tournament days can be long, often with the boys wrestling up to 5 or 6 matches, they must practice perserverace, especially if they are on a losing streak.
4. Sports bring out sides of your children that you never knew existed! One of my favorite discoveries has been their expressions of concentration and focus. For example, whenever Steve is prepping George for a match, George chews on his lip as he listens: ( I wish he would chew on his lip when I teach school, then I would know that he's listening!)
5. Wrestling has been a unifying force for the boys. Their support for each other outside of parental encouragement is really beautiful. As they get older, they experience the blessings of brotherhood in greater and more meaningful ways. We just pray that it continues throughout their entire lives.
5. Despite the weird attire, stinky gyms, and early morning weigh-in's, wrestling's redeeming qualities truly do outweigh the major factors of annoyance. Any sport, with proper guidance from parents has the potential to strengthen a child not only physically, but also mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
We are fortunate to be a part of a club that was founded on Christian principles. A club that is recognized across the state and even nationally for it's positive leadership and athletes whose attitudes and actions reflect that leadership.
For us, success is measured in more than medals. Much, much more! (But, hey, we'll take a medal too!)