Chris Uggen's Blog: wrestling and trying

Saturday, March 11, 2006

wrestling and trying

sorry. i'll apologize in advance: this is one of those obnoxious proud parent posts. tor brought home some hardware from tonight's wrestling banquet, so i thought i'd share a few pictures. he was named junior varsity mvp and lettered as a freshman, leading his mounds view team in victories and pins.

this is cool, but it doesn't engender pride. i'm proud because he tried and because he cared. as a parent this is pretty much all you care about (and yell about). you'll see, if you haven't already. you end up saying things like "please, just show me something, kid." even when they do well, it can be frustrating when you don't think you're seeing their best efforts. or any effort whatsoever. so my son and daughter learned terms like half-assed and doggin' it before they could tie their shoes.

where do parents find pride and contentment? probably not where they'd expect. for academics, parent-teacher conferences can be disasters. even when the kids do well, how on earth can they impress their profdads and profmoms? we were selected on the basis of absurd school performance. we were all hunched down beneath the right-hand tail of the academic distribution. heritability or no, this sets a frustrating and sometimes impossible standard for our kids.

for most of us, athletics present no such problems! my best year in wrestling i lost about as many as i won. i do recall trying hard, though. at a burly 6'5", tor could easily overwhelm football linemen and baseball fences. still, i never got the sense that he really tried in these sports. when he wanted to wrestle, i thought he'd be destroyed by behemoths his own size who tried harder and outworked him. but he actually smote them! he struggled mightily against guys who were much older and stronger (and, sometimes, much nastier and smellier) and he stuck them on pure effort.

so, now i know that he can try just as hard as i try, and just maybe he's trying harder. as a parent, that's about as good as it gets. the pictures above are from his first varsity match, but the one to the left is my favorite. it comes from the last round of the day's last match in a grueling sectional tournament. it reminds me that the other guys are trying too.

i was going to close by writing something like, "of course, i don't expect him to become a professional wrestler." hmmm. given the nature of professional wrestling -- and the nature of tor -- i would not dismiss the possibility so quickly. hey, i'm cool as long as he doesn't half-ass it...


At 9:45 PM, Blogger jeremy said...

Great post!

At 11:02 AM, Blogger sarah said...

Go Tor! I would be interested to know what the difference was for him with wrestling as opposed to other sports. Does he just like it more? Maybe a little more pressure on his personal effort being "center mat?" Hmmm.

At 11:33 PM, Anonymous chris said...

thanks jeremy and sarah. i can't say more without (further) humiliating the lad. my guess is that the sport's basic nature punches through the irony, sarcasm, and emotional distance that many of us (kids of all ages) wear like a mask. if nothing else, amateur wrestling demands sincerity.

At 4:59 AM, Blogger MMAcademics said...

cool post! he may enjoy reading "Four Days to Glory: Wrestling with the Soul of the American Heartland" by Mark Kreidler. it has some descriptions of crazy wrestling parents, and non-crazy ones too. ;)

At 5:35 PM, Blogger Shopnerkotha said...

Enjoy your whole post, buddy.
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