Lessons learned from the mat

Lessons learned from the mat.

I knew Cole needed a sport this summer.

After being homeschooled and missing his peers, he needed the social interaction and the discipline of a sport.

I say that, and I am not a huge sports fan, despite that former life as a sports reporter.

I didn’t want him to play football – the equipment would likely weigh more than him, and honestly, I think it can be too rough.

Putting your baby in a bubble is frowned upon on a football field.

Lamar thankfully vetoed football, too.

He has a good arm for baseball, but I have seen people get hit with the ball.

“He may one day be the pitcher for the Braves, making millions of dollars – you could just sit, drink wine, and read all day,” Lamar tempted me.

“He could also get really hurt if he took a line drive to the cranium. No.”

He would probably do well in basketball, but he’s never really acted like he cared for it.

Cole asked if he could be a cyclist to which we both resoundingly said, “No.”

That didn’t leave a whole lot leftover.

“How about wrestling?” I asked. “Would you like to try wrestling?”

Cole eagerly agreed.

I am sure visions of John Cena and the other wrestlers on the WWE were flashing through his mind.

It was a far cry from body slams and smashing chairs, but Cole loved it.

Of course, I flinched every time I saw him crash to the mat. So I made sure he didn’t catch me watching him. I didn’t want to embarrass him with my worry face.

“Did you throw anyone out of the ring?” Mama wanted to know.

“No, Nennie – there’s not even a ring like that. It’s wrestling, not wrasslin,'” he explained.

The pronunciation makes a big difference, mind you.

While I was watching, but not trying to be conspicuous about it, Lamar was watching intently.

Mothers and fathers have different ideas about the areas where children need to be pushed.

I’ve always been more of an encourager, play to the strengths type of person. Lamar’s always had more patience than I did, being able to teach Cole how to tie shoes when I couldn’t.

But this was different.

This was sports.

“Be aggressive, be aggressive,” I heard Cole saying one night.

“Where did you get that?” I asked.

“Daddy told me I gotta get aggressive. So I am gonna be aggressive.”

I don’t like aggressiveness. At all. I sighed and told Lamar I didn’t.

“He’s got to get aggressive out there. Sports is channeled aggression,” I was told.

Maybe that’s why I don’t like sports.

I don’t like all the aggression and the ‘might makes right.’

Which is why I leaned towards wrestling, as it was a little fairer in that you competed in your weight class.

Still, I am not a fan of aggression.

“If there were prizes or something like that, Cole’s attitude would be different,” I said. “This is his social time and he wants to talk to someone his own age about boy stuff. If he saw it as a competition, he would probably react different.”

“He’s just gotta be more aggressive,” Lamar repeated. “Just watch him without worrying he’s getting hurt for a few minutes, you’ll see what I am talking about.”

I frowned, but I did it.

For a few moments, I watched Cole and the other child he was wrestling with and saw the differences between the two.

Cole, when in a hold, gave in.

The other boy would resist bridge and push away, fighting until he had Cole pinned.

“Wow,” I said.

My gentle, tenderhearted child would give in.

My shy, painfully quiet husband was just as tenderhearted – maybe more so – but Cole does have my mouth.

Lamar is the one who has fought against odds that were not in his favor. It translated to a competitive edge when on the bike, and it just helped him in general off the bike.

“He’s not aggressive at all, is he?”

Lamar shook his head.

“He gives in too quickly, he lets the other kid just take him down. He’s got to learn how to resist and push back.”

When the practice was over, Cole bounded up, red faced and needing water.

“How did I do?” he asked, gulping his Powerade.

“Great!” we said in unison.

“When we get home, I want to go over some moves with you,” Lamar said. “To help you.”

Cole was immediately worried.

“Did I do something wrong?”

“No,” Lamar said. “You did great. I just want you to get more aggressive, like we talked about.”

“I thought I was,” his face fell.

“Cole, I think Daddy is just saying, you’ve got to learn how to push back, to not give in. I want you to learn how to not give in so easily.”

“Why, Mama?”

“Because – it’s important, Cole. Maybe the most important thing you can learn.”

He shook his head, sweat dropping to the floor. “It’s just wrestling, Mama, it’s just wrestling.”

Just like in life, we can give in when things get tough. Or we can push back, wait until the opponent gives in or gives some leeway and turn the situation around in our favor.

That’s definitely something we all need to learn.

Sudie Crouch is an award winning humor columnist and author of the e-published novel, “The Dahlman Files: A Tony Dahlman Paranormal Mystery.”

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