First Year Wrestling Mom
First time wrestling moms…I see you. It can be overwhelming, emotional, dizzying, and scary; especially if you are not familiar AT ALL with this sport. No matter your familiarity with the world of wrestling, it’s always hard when it’s your baby on that mat. Just know that you are not alone and we have all been there, some more recently than others. I am, by no means, a seasoned wrestling mom, but here are some things I learned my first full season of this amazingly exciting sport.
Find a Tribe
Find your tribe, your village, your helpers. These are other moms (or dads) that can come alongside you and help. We’ve all heard “it takes a village” and this is never more apparent than you’re your children are involved in sports. Especially when there are multiple children in multiple sports! Find your people who can help give rides to/from practice or tournaments, help feed children before/during/after practice or tournaments, help take video of your child’s bouts if you can’t be there (or have another kid on another mat), be your emotional support, and be another cheerleader for your kiddo. You could do this alone but it’s so much better with community. And while I’m at it, make sure you are in someone else’s tribe! We all can use the help and, while this season you may not be able to give much, every little bit helps!
One of the hardest things to do when you are new and clueless is to jump in and get involved. Now let me start by saying there is a time to just sit back and observe, especially if you learn by watching. If this is where you are at, then sit back…observe…soak it in. THEN, jump in with both feet! Work concessions, help with administrative stuff, or [gasp] work the table at a tournament. It has been my experience that 1) getting involved gives you a sense of ownership and pride in the club and your team, 2) you learn a LOT about scoring by working the table, and 3) most referees are glad to help at the tables.
Dealing with Injuries
Kids. Are. Flexible. Oh my word! Even if you don’t think your child can bend that way…somehow they do. Wrestling, however, can be a bit rough. Your child will have scratches, bumps, black eyes, bloody noses, sore muscles, and bruises all over their bodies. Just keep an ice pack in the freezer and ibuprofen or Tylenol in the medicine cabinet. With that said, there can be major injuries and accidents with any sport and wrestling is no exception. You will hear about the broken bones, dislocated joints, open wounds, and head/back injuries. Know that these injuries are not the norm and many can be avoided by proper warmup, technique, and recovery.
Wrestling is an emotional sport. Parents get CRAZY when their kids is on the mat. I may or may not be one of those parents! LOL. You know who gets more emotional than the parents, though? Yep, your wrestler. Oh, my word…all the tears and all the rage! Yes, the boys (and sometimes the girls) cry. A lot. Think about it. They have, at most, 6 minutes to give everything they have to try and win just to advance and fight again. If they are truly giving everything that they have then they will be spent, both physical and emotionally. Most of these kids are not wrestling because they like to lose. Therefore, when they do lose (and they will) emotions run high. They are angry, they are sad, and they are disappointed in themselves. The true test of sportsmanship, however, is how they handle this loss. Wrestling requires a short memory and nothing tests your child’s ability to bounce back like a loss on the mat. However you teach your child to deal with this is your decision as a parent, but know that there are penalties for having a “tantrum” on the mat (either wrestler or parent).
There is so much to learn in the first season of being a wrestling parent. And it may feel like drinking from a fire hose, but know that we have all been there and are more than willing to answer any questions you may have.
Mom of 2 wrestlers in 2nd year of AAU