Monday, January 23, 2017

How to survive a wrestling tournament from newbie wrestling mom

Okay so I know some of y'all are laughing about this blog post, because you have been doing this for years.  You could probably add to this post, and I would gladly let you!  I know I still have a lot more to learn, and I seriously hope this isn't andrew's last year as he seems to truly love wrestling.  SO, I was really wishing we had a meeting for us newbies to kind of give us a head's up.  We didn't, but luckily me and another mom pulled one of the more seasoned mom's aside, and she basically gave us the low down.  I still was not ready for the craziness that is a big wrestling tournament, and I am told that ours was small compared to some of the bigger ones (YIKES).  There are huge parallels to dog shows, so even thought I was a little overwhelmed at first, I settled it and got right to it.  Here are some of the things I learned today that might help a newbie in the future:

Stake your claim somewhere.  Sometimes it is actually nice to be in the in hallway away from 24/7 screaming.  Bring things to claim your stake like chairs, blankets, and electronic devices that need to be near plugs:) . (Just like dog shows).

Bring things to keep you kiddos busy, as they will be waiting most of the day for sometimes a 10 second match :) . The wamego tournament had a round robin style for the littles, so they had multiple matches, but sometimes it was hours between the matches, so keep them busy!  We brought coloring books, a portable DVD player and DVDs, and some headphones.  I now know why I saw so many 31 Bags coming in the door.  MUST.GET.ONE.NOW.

Take out a small loan for the concession stand.  Not kidding.  This is a huge draw and our tournament had one of the BEST.

Take out a loan for the vendors.  Not sure if all places had vendors, but there were lots of trinkets and shiny things that caught my kiddos eye according to my hubby.  I worked a table all day, so I didn't get to be part of the delight that is telling him no a thousand times.

Courtesy of the Wamego Wrestling club FB page.  This was early in the morning and only half of the kiddos
Get there early even if it means sitting around and waiting.  You may need to do skin and nails check if you club was not allowed to do it the week before. I am unsure on the rules of how this works.  You want to stake your claim and all of the good claims get staked quickly.  Again, some like being in the gym and some like being out, it's your preference.   My ears are still ringing from being in the gym from start time at 9 am till almost 2.

Get ready for tears.  Tears of joy, frustration, and just plain I don't want to do this flow readily.  There was a ton of emotion.  Melly warned me, so this didn't surprise me, but it could others.  What did surprise me was the amount of parents yelling at their kiddos when they did cry.  I know they need to be tough, but what happened to compassion? I am okay with crying because you lost, because you know what, it shows you care!!!!  It shows you had a ton of emotional investment in that outcome, and I think that is super!  If you lost and didn't care, should you be in the sport?  We saw lots of hugs and cuddles and it's okay, but for every good action we saw, we saw equally bad actions.  In our ring, we only had one kiddo that absolutely did not want to wrestle at all.  They got her out on floor, she shook hands, and then she scratched.  I would be okay with that, and her parent was as well.   Honestly, I am a shocked we didn't see that more, as I had the 6 and under table/mat.  My biggest fear for andrew was that he would get huge stage fright and do the same.  That leads me to my next point.

Get ready for a supercharged crazy atmosphere.  Lots of YELLING, SCREAMING, and movement.  I was totally unprepared that the mats would be sectioned off and would be full of wrestling areas for the kiddos, so there were refs and kids and parents and coaches crammed everywhere.  I learned that you have to have a coach from the team present at each match.  You can be down on the mat, screaming with your coach, and yes I joined in.  You know me, I can't be quiet and yep, I love to use my big old voice, so in the video, you can hear my screaming :) .   I have never seen a sport where parents can get right down into the action, and be right there inches away from the kiddos while they perform!

Now onto how Andrew did.  Here are the positives:

He walked un assisted onto the mats, got his leg bands on, and shook hands enthusiastically every match.  I was really worried when I saw how intense it was, that his stage fright would overcome his desire to wrestle.  Nope.  We had to hold him back till his match time every single time.

Even though he kind of looked like he wanted to run, he attempted to wrestle each time, or should I say took the fall, and kind of tried to get out.  He got pinned three times, but got up with a smile on his face each time, and wanted to go back out each time and do it again.

I think he handled the waiting okay.  I was working at the table, so I didn't get to have to entertain him all day, so maybe I will let my hubby chime in on this one.  We had coloring books and a DVD player for him to watch.  Do know that with that many people WIFI will be sketchy so don't just rely on netflix or internet on your phone.  I am super glad we brought the portable DVD player.

We honestly didn't care how he placed, as long as he went out and tried, or just went out and had FUN!  This tournament had a round robin style format, so Andrew got a medal for last place.  I know, I know, we give medals for everything, but at this age,  he needs the reinforcement for trying.  It this little medal is what keeps him going and keeps him in the game, so be it.  I reinforce my dogs 100% when learning a new behavior so the same goes for my kiddo.

Overall, we had a great experience with our first tournament and I am super proud of andrew.  We may do one more tournament this year and then rest till next year or we may end on a good note.  We will let Andrew decide closer till time for entry.  He came away from the tournament with a great experience and I am so happy he did.  Our expectations were met, and he actually tried to get out of the pin in one of the matches!!!!

If you are a wrestling mom, feel free to add some points for what to do and what to bring!  I am still learning!

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