Excerpt from “Again”
If given a choice, I prefer the wristband.
Wrestling tournaments are physically and emotionally draining.
Especially for parents.
Hours and hours of waiting and anxiety exchanged for a few minutes of a burst of energy from your son.
For me it is not the actual mat time that is so stressful, it is calming my mind to neutral between matches that saps my energy.
During this time, my mind is like a charger left in an outlet, unattached from its phone.
The constant flow of useless energy.
It takes a lot of experience to realize that once you are in the tournament, all preparation work is done.
There is nothing, other than being over-bearing, that can be done on tournament day.
“Just let him be,” I keep telling myself.
“Let him figure it out; it is part of the process.”
It took a long time to come to this means, and a lot of trust in coaches, but for me as a parent, this is also part of the process.
“I also had to figure it out.”
So now as I enter each tournament and pay my admission, I either receive a wristband or a hand stamp.
And after all is said and done and after every match has been wrestled, and I find myself, while in the shower, recapping the last few days in my mind, and I suddenly realize what this is all about.
It is about lasting memories and relationships you build through sport.
If you asked the normal person how many moments in their life they vividly remember, I mean vividly remember, I would bet that no more than a few will come to mind.
The sport of wrestling has created so many vivid memories for me;
I feel blessed.
Memories that I would like to hold on to for my lifetime.
Memories that I know I will draw upon when I need them the most.
And that may be very soon.
So in the shower, while recapping this weekend’s competition, I look down at my right hand, and I see the hand stamp from the New York State Tournament, and I realize that it will be the last one I will attend as a parent of a wrestler.
And one thought goes through my mind, “I wish this hand stamp were a wristband instead.”
You see, the wristband lasts just a little longer.
So, for as long as my hand stamp is still visible to me, my right hand will not be washed below my wrist so the memory of this weekend can last just a little longer.