Give it A Shot, My Son Did & He Taught Me, Anything is Worth A Shot, It is What You Put Into It That Warrants The Reward
Parents were asked to write a parent testimony for our high school wrestling team. Figured it may not be such a bad idea to share on LinkedIn as well given that some of the most valuable lessons my son has learned as a wrestler will carry him through his life as a leader, times of failure, and moments of success. Much of what is discussed on here.
As a mother of four children you can imagine all four have similarities but overall different personalities. Chris, my oldest is 17 years old and is a junior at Bacon Academy High School. He is also one of the captains of the Bacon Academy Wrestling Team. To say the least I am incredibly proud of Chris but I am far prouder of the journey that Chris has taken to earn his place on the wrestling team. Chris has always been a very humble child and humble young man, one who never enjoyed being in the “spotlight” nor “the center of attention”.
Chris played many sports throughout elementary school, he played soccer, baseball, football, basketball but none of them ever created a spark of passion in Chris. He was an average athlete, not a natural athlete, not the kid who would be a starter on the line up, not the leading QB on the football team he was the kid who joined teams more for the comradery and being a part of something than the skill or competition. By the time middle school came he chose not to play any sports other than baseball and it was his last year (6th grade) of baseball and his last year of playing sports. He began to withdraw more and more, he became quieter, he walked with his head down, shoulders slouched and very rarely had a genuine smile. The summer before his freshman year Chris tried a few weeks of wrestling at a summer program, it was the start of something new, a new path that would open many new doors.
Fast forward to Freshman year in high school.
“Chris don’t forget wrestling signups are today. Yea Mom I know I will sign up” Later that afternoon, “Mom I didn’t sign up for wrestling. Why Chris? I can’t do this mom, those guys all know each other, they are all super athletic, they are in amazing shape, I have no idea what I am doing, I am the fat kid mom”
Needless to say, my heart was broken as a mother, but I was going to give it one more shot. I called the Coach, “the Coach” who I had never spoken to, never met, I couldn’t even spell his name never mind pronounce it. Let me say this, he answered on the second ring. I took a moment to share with the coach a bit about Chris, he asked “want me to speak with him?” I said, “that would be great but you cannot tell him I called you” He told me I had his word. The following afternoon, “Hey Mom I decided to sign up for wrestling, you did Chris that’s awesome!” I never asked what changed his mind and to this day that conversation that took place between Coach Czaplicki and Chris has remained just that, a conversation between the two of them.
Chris walked onto that mat Freshman year scared, unsure, and in the spotlight, a place Chris did not like to be in the past, he was alone out there, he and his opponent. But what he did have and continues to have this day is an entire team, an incredible group of parents, incredible coaches encouraging him, supporting him and cheering him on and off the mat. And yes, he got his butt kicked that day and every day to follow throughout his freshman year. But the one thing he got that very first day on the mat, was the confidence, the motivation, the passion, and the drive to NEVER give up, NEVER quit and to always give it your best and nothing less. He may not have realized it then but he walked off that mat a very different young man. Through the course of that year Chris faced many fears, many losses but what he gained is far greater than any win, he gained self-confidence, the value of hard work and what it feels like to be in the spotlight with more support surrounding than you could imagine. Chris lost 42 lbs that year and got into the best shape of his life.
Fast forward to today, Chris is a junior in high school, a captain of his wrestling team, he dreams of wrestling in college, he would love to be a physical therapist, he wants to be an assistant coach someday for the Bacon Academy Wrestling Team, he walks with a smile, he walks with his head held high, he works very hard, he knows discipline, he knows failure, he knows success,he has learned leadership skills, he has learned that nothing is impossible, he is happy, he is proud and he has found a passion that will stay with him for years to come. A passion that has taught him if you want something bad enough then you must be willing to work hard enough! He has learned through wrestling that your success comes from deep with in and YOU and only YOU are in control of that, today and every day as he walks out onto that mat, aka LIFE. For Chris, it was wrestling that opened all these new dreams and doors for him. It truly did, not because of only what he does on the mat but the coaches who spend endless hours coaching, supporting, and always being there no matter what, I promise you as a mother these kids have incredible role models encouraging them each and every day and the lessons and values that are being taught are lifelong lessons that they will carry throughout life.
I have watched wrestling change my son’s life. And as far as the Bacon Academy Wrestling Team and Coaches, I could never truly express in words the commitment, the dedication, the drive, the support that they all give to one another day in and day out. As I have stated I have four children and another son who loves sports, that son being a natural athlete, so yes I have been around many sports teams and I love it. But with all respect I can honestly say I have not seen the type of comradery that you see on a wrestling team. These young men and women have cried together, laughed together, fought together and continue to support one another, not just on the mat, off the mat as well. The friendships that have developed are tight, the discipline and dedication that these coaches demonstrate to these young men and women are so real that they have become strong role models and are continuously helping to shape our sons and daughters to be fine young men and women. I promise you I am not exaggerating.
If you are questioning if wrestling is a good idea for you, I urge you to give it a shot, that’s it give it one shot, and you may find it is not for you, or you may find it is all for you and you may find a new door that opens to a whole new adventure! I never thought my son Chris would be a captain on a wrestling team and I never thought wrestling would change my son’s life, but let the truth be told, I am a parent of a wrestler and I thank God every day for Bacon Academy Wrestling Team! Give it Shot, it may be the best shot at something new you ever give to yourself.