Monday, April 2, 2012

Kansas State Wrestling Tournament 2012

Driving home from the Kansas State Wrestling Tournament, triumphant yet weary, we pulled the wagon off the road for a little supper in Salina.

Everyone squeezed into the restaurant booth, digging into drinks and appetizers, we all felt a little too tired to talk.

I turned to Andrew, and looking him in the eyes I asked, "Andrew, for you, what was the very best part of the tournament this weekend?"
With his signature dimpled grin he replies, "That's easy, Mom.  Having my family around me all together was the best thing ever."

And, I thought that the tears were over, but I was wrong. 

Steve and I locked eyes across the table, smiled, and without saying a word, we both knew that all of it -
the endless trips to town for practices and tournament weigh-ins, 
coordinating five children and 
helping them find their purpose at each and every meet, 
the sacrifice of sleep, time and money, 
and most of all, above all
the teaching, instructing and guiding words throughout this season's journey 
had all been worth it.
The tournament itself offered so many unexpected highlights for our family.  Since we had never been to the State Tournament, we did not know what to expect.The two day event began with an opening ceremony where each team processed into the arena, their names being announced.  

Thirty-Seven Greater Gold team members made it to state, which was impressive. We all felt a little overwhelmed looking out at 1200+ wrestlers crammed together on the arena floor.  With so much excitement in the air, the butterflies remained in our tummies until the tournament was over.
Steve's parents, his sister and husband and their children and my parents all attended both days. They were absolutely incredible.  Despite the unpredictable schedule of the matches and the hours of waiting in between events, they never complained, and everyone kept their cheerful smiles and support alive for Andrew.
It's very possible that Andrew had the most enthusiastic cheering section at the tournament.  Even Charile couldn't hold back his excitement when Andrew won! When Andrew wasn't wrestling there was a lot of time to wait before the next match, sometimes up to two hours.  So....
Thank goodness the weather was beautiful each day! 
We were able to go outside between matches and enjoy the sunshine while the kids made up games, played tag, entertained Charlie and rolled themselves senseless down the plush grassy slopes!
The first day Andrew won three matches.  It was truly unbelievable!  We came to the tournament with absolutely no expectations except that Andrew have fun and gain some experience in the sport.  With three wins under his belt, he would be wrestling for first place on Sunday. 
The athletes who were wresting for the top 5 places all marched into the arena to the beat of "pump-up" music, the lights dimmed and spotlights on.  The announcer introduced each wrestler and their opponent.  This was a great amount of fun for Andrew.  He turned to wave to us several times, grinning from ear to ear.
I cannot say enough positive words about the Greater Gold coaches.  They exude the essence of positive male leadership. They are professional, positive, encouraging and supportive of their athletes, and leave a strong, lasting impression wherever they go.
And, they were incredibly gracious about letting Steve stay beside Andrew during the warm-ups.  
Before every match, Steve helps Andrew prepare mentally, physically and spiritually.  
Watching them pray together was the most memorable and endearing moment of the entire weekend for me.  That moment speaks of eternity, that which will last, above and beyond the trophies and plaques.
Even though Andrew lost his final match, the disappointment he felt lasted only a short time, as the coaches surrounded him, lifted him up into their arms and congratulated him on an outstanding achievement. 
This is only Andrew's second year of wrestling.  He didn't know it, but many wrestlers try for years to get to the state tournament and many of them do not make it to the finals.  Realizing what he had accomplished washed away the wounds of a final defeat, filling Andrew with the life and joy that comes from a heart filled with gratitude.
Who knows if we will return next year? Life is filled with so many uncertainties. What we are certain of, however, is that when a family comes together with the goal to nurture, love and support, no matter what activity, event or goal is at the heart of the family, everyone is bound to stand victorious in the end.

 Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle."  
~ Psalm 144:1


  1. Susan,

    Where do you take Andrew for wrestling practice? Garden? Cimarron?

    1. We take him to Garden City. He trains with the Greater Gold club. Let me know if you would like more info!

  2. Awesome.. another Husband wrestler in the family. Way to go, Andrew!

  3. Outstanding. Thanks for sharing, Susan.