Monday, January 27, 2014

gritting it out

I got the book formatting thing worked out and I could not tell you how it happened, nor could I repeat the steps even on a bet, but all systems are "GO" for a printed proof to land in my hands by Wednesday.  Whew.  Who knew page numbers could make someone grind their teeth so much?

And the wrestling!  Mr. G and Mr. B had their first meet of the season all day Saturday.  It was a mixed bag of a day.  Last year Mr. G destroyed everyone in his path.  This year I signed him up as "intermediate" (because he'd hurt beginners and I cannot bear to watch that) and he lost every match.  The kid took it really hard, he's the kid who becomes an immediate victim and wants to quit when the going gets tough.  He gritted it out the second match to lose in points, and then lost his third in the second round.  It took guts to get back out there when you're nine and not mentally tough yet.  But knowing how athletically gifted Mr. G is, this is the best thing for his development--he's got to figure out how to knuckle down, get that determination thing going because sports is as much mental as physical. 

Now I know some of you are all "But Green Girl!  He's nine!  Lighten up!"  Ah, yes.  But this is the cross my son bears in sports and in other areas of his life.  For example, this fall he was bombing his spelling tests.  Instead of studying--like, at ALL--he told his teacher he had too many responsibilities at home so he just would have to get bad grades.  See what I mean about quitting?  I love my kid too much to let him become a perpetual quitter.  The going gets tough, he's got to knuckle down and GO HARDER.  Mr. G's teacher got a response back indicating that no, Mr. G has hardly any "responsibilities," we will be studying harder and if things continue to go south, we'll kick out of basketball so he has plenty of time to commit to his academic success.

Back to sports:  I'd never make a kid play anything.  I would, however, hold them to a commitment to an 8 week season if they wanted to sign up.  I would not let my kid let down their team and coaches (unless he was injured or the situation was somehow abusive, but that's a rare exception). 

So, Saturday we had crying.  Big tears.  A "hurt" arm.  We talked about doing your best and not giving up.  We talked about how wrestling is very hard, and it's easy to quit and walk away.  We talked about how failure teaches you more than success ever will and next match will go better.  We talked about how no one is mad at him for losing, we only feel bad when we see him quitting because we know he's better than that.

And we talked about it for the rest of the weekend.  "I love you, and I love watching you try your hardest, win or lose."  Mr. G's coaches will help him with the technical edge to win next time, our job is to encourage him on the homefront.  Hopefully this experience knocked him down enough pegs that he'll pay closer attention to what his coaches are telling him. 

The good news is that he is excited for practice on Tuesday.  We told him the best wrestlers have really tough guys in the weight classes around their own--or to put it in Bible terms, "Iron sharpens iron.  Mr. G, you keep wrestling easy kids, you'll never get better.  Wrestle tough kids and you'll be great."

Then Mr. B had his very first match ever after only 3 weeks of practice.  We held our breath.  Lord, don't let him get stuck 30 seconds in.  Please God, don't let him take such a pounding that he'll be demoralized for life.  Because you know that Mr. B--big-hearted and smiley and happy all the time.  He's not mean enough to wrestle.

But then?  Turns out he was!  He won his two matches and took home a first place medal!  And he wrestled pretty well for a beginner--and thank God he wrestled beginners who were at his level.  By fifth grade it's tough to find true "beginners."  Oh, he was so glad and we were so relieved!

A whole day of watching two kids wrestle--my whole body was clenched up and exhausted by the end of it.  No other sport wears me out like wrestling.  Not even cross-country where you have to run around to watch the runners.   I couldn't wait to crawl into bed after we got home.

Then fresh blasts of arctic air picked up Sunday, but by then I was stir-crazy enough that I bundled up anyway, strapped on snowshoes and headed for the woods.  My cheeks still burn a little this morning from the windbite, but my whole body is glad I got outside and stretched my limbs and communed with trees and inhaled fresh air.  It was below zero and gusty while I stomped through the snowdrifts, over the creek, alongside the prairie.  Crossing the field was miserable, too, but I'm stuck inside for the next few days at least so I had to take advantage.

Spill it, reader.  What have you gritted out recently?


  1. Hey, this is exactly what I used to do with our wrestlers. We always told them there was no such thing as being defeated...only if you quit. They too, struggled through and the one that struggled the hardest became close to being a state champ. A torn up leg and cauliflower ear put an end to that. Some day you will hear him giving his little brother the same advise you gave him. We parents do love our kids and we do only want them to ' do THEIR best ' and we will marvel at their accomplishments. Oh, yeah, I do remember the clenching moments for wrestling does take it out of a parent too.
    Loved this memorable entry Green Girl. Stay warm. Schools are closed for 2 days here with minus -50 mph winds. Don't snowshoe today. You'll freeze your nostrils!!!!!

  2. Good luck to your son. I've been stir-crazy too lately, but not because of the cold temps. We've been missing them here. I just need to get out -- possibly doing some snow shoeing like you did. I love that.

  3. Some kids need a little heat to buckle down. I sure did, particularly around the 5th grade. My parents found just the right motivational tool, though, and I sure didn't slack off again after that.

  4. It sounds like you have reasonable rules for sports and for continuing on so the team is not affected, and your wrestlers are doing good!

  5. I seriously don't think I could watch my sons wrestle. Truly. Back in the olden days, I watched my baby brother wrestle and it was plenty hard for me then.

    Does it count as gritting it out if I'm already mentally counting down to Spring Break, which is in 8 weeks?

  6. Gritting out having to deal more closely with a person who was previously on the periphery of my life. Just have to let it all roll off me like water from a duck.

  7. I am only gritting out the winter. I don't want another snow (cold) day. I want to go to work!! I want to be able to run errands without losing fingers.

    I remember a time when Emma was always convinced that she already knew everything, and didn't need to pay much attention, that teachers didn't have much to teach her. It always takes a little knocking-down to realize that we all have stuff to learn --luckily she did learn this and managed to apply it to many areas, not just the one she got knocked down in :-)

  8. I gritted out fall semester. The courses I took looked like a good combination...until the semester began and the assignments and group projects (there's plenty of gritting out right there) began. At some moment, I had to count the number of class periods left just to remind myself it wouldn't last forever. I ended up with four As and a C (finance, so a C is marginally acceptable for me), so it was all worth it. As gritting it out usually is.

    This morning, I gritted out my first workout in over a week. I did a circuit training session, which I love, but it is more challenging than, say, walking on the treadmill. I'm so glad I forced myself to go but my tired lower back is reeeeeally anxious to lay down in bed.

  9. FIRST PRIZE! Nice :) gritted out? It has been a great month, it really has, except for this cold sh!t...I am walking dogs today, it is around -2, and wonder if the roads will be clear enough for running later? I run every day but holy CATS it is near impossible below 10! I walk then, many parkas and layers on indeed :)

  10. One of the biggest benefits of sport is the character-building. Learning how to lose is a great lesson to be learned. Good for you for not letting him quit. the same rules apply to my kids.

  11. It's so helpful to read of your challenges and conversations with your kids, as it shows me how my son isn't the only one who isn't interested in attacking the things in front of him. He's all about "no, thanks" just because he can't bear the stress of trying to measure up. I'm fascinated to see how that tendency plays out as he matures.

    In other words: GOOO, Wrestling Mama.

  12. That what I should have done yesterday, strap on snow shoes. But no, I opted for cross country skis. I had never done it and they rent them at Whitnall Park, just south of Milwaukee. Wonderful afternoon until I fell. Spent most of this morning at the ER, waiting to see if I broke my butt or merely bruised it. It's bruise, thank goodness. Hurts like the dickens, though!

  13. That's what I should have done yesterday, strap on snow shoes. But I opted to go cross country skiing for the first time in my life. They rent skis at a lovely park, just south of Milwaukee. Spent most of this morning in the ER waiting to find out if I broke my butt, or merely bruised it. It is a bruise, thank goodness. Hurts like the dickens, though!


Spill it, reader.