J Robinson Intensive Camp
As we are in the process of trying to raise funds to send my oldest to a 28-day intensive wrestling camp, I've had many conversations on the subject of wrestling. So many people look at me and ask "˜Why do you spend so much time at wrestling?', "˜How can you spend every weekend at a tournament?' "“ and of course "˜Shouldn't you be focusing your kids on their school work and not sports?'. Ah, but so many people don't realize the benefits from wrestling that actually have a direct impact on my kids and their futures. So "“ since I've been having this conversation so often, I've decided to try to put it in writing "“ so hopefully people can get a better understanding of this craziness in my life that is wrestling.
I started as a young mother, and I recall sitting at a wrestling tournament with my 6 month old son sitting in his stroller watching my soon to be husband coach and thinking "˜Hey, this is kinda fun to do every once in a while'. Little did I know it would end up consuming our lives. Later I snapped a picture of my little 18 month old walking across the wrestling mat with his dad holding his hand, wearing matching American flag print pants. Those of you that have been around us for a while probably recall this photo. That moment will be etched in my mind for the rest of my life. It was the beginning of my life as a wrestling parent.
Do I have good kids? Um, that's an understatement. I have GREAT kids (although I might be slightly biased). My kids would not be the people they are today or the productive members of society they will be as adults without the impact that wrestling has had on their lives. I hope I'm able to actually convey some of what wrestling has taught them here.
It has taught them to win. And better yet, how to win with grace and respect for their opponent. How to be humble They have been wrestling many of the same kids since they started. They see these kids over and over again, we see their parents. We talk to them "“ we become friends with them. Yet they have to wrestle. They go out on the mat, they put aside their friendship, they win the match and what's the first thing they do? They hug their opponent. They shake their hand "“ they hug them and they say "˜Great match'. And when they lose to that opponent later, they shake their heads, tell themselves they should have done better "“ and hug their opponent and say "˜Great match'. They've learned what it's like to both win and lose with grace and respect for each other. There are not many places you can learn that kind of lesson.
They have learned the value of hard work. Of digging in, nose to the grindstone and pushing though. Persevering. No matter how hard it is they know just how far they can take their bodies. Just how much their bodies can take. There is no "˜I can't'. They know that whatever they think is the most their bodies can take "“ it can take more "“ they just have to push through.
They've learned the true meaning of teamwork. Teamwork is working as a team and pulling your weight. You have to do your part, pin your opponent, in order for the team to be successful. If the team is not successful "“ you haven't done your job. They don't blame each other "“ they only have themselves to blame for the failure of the team. You didn't do your job, you didn't want it bad enough. That extra practice you skipped because you were tired - your opponent didn't skip.
They've learned support. How to support and teach each other. It's amazing to me even now, watching my high school son at wrestling meets and in the wrestling room with his teammates. The interaction between them is amazing. They are cheering each other on, motivating each other, pushing each other, teaching each other. What is it about this sport that takes boys, in their rebellious teenage years and just brings them together to support and cheer each other on?
Yes, my boys spend about 5 days a week in the wrestling room. Even in the off season they are in there. We spend all weekend at wrestling tournaments. They don't get much time to sit at home and play video games "“ instead they are out in the real world learning that life is tough. Life is hard. Life isn't fair. But they learn to keep on going, keep moving. Pushing through a losing wrestling season, knowing that next year will be better. Knowing that working in the off season will take them to the next level.
Even with all that "“ they still have awesome grades. My oldest that wants to head to this 28-day camp (yes, he wants to give up a whole month of his summer vacation) also wants to enroll in the International Baccalaureate program next year. Wrestling and school, wrestling and school, wrestling and school. That will be his life for the next 2 years and hopefully the next 4 after that. He knows that grades alone won't get him into a good college. I just read that last year Harvard had over 13,000 applicants "“ 10,000 of which were 4.0 students. If he wants to set himself apart, he needs to have something else. Something that makes him special. Wrestling does that. It sets him apart. He's looking to his future, he knows he won't be a professional wrestler. And unless the IOC reverses it's decision to remove wrestling from the Olympics "“ he won't go there either. But it can get him into college "“ that's the prize he has his eye on.
So "“ with all that I hope my crazy wrestling life makes a little more sense. I can't thank this sport enough for what it has taught my kids. I'd like to say my kids are amazing simply because they have an awesome mom, but I can't take all the credit ;)
Now we just need to get him to that camp. Help make his dreams come true. His dreams are to win a State championship and to get a college scholarship, this camp will help jump start him for the 2 most important years of his high school career. You can read more about the camp here: http://jrobinsoncamps.com/camps/intensive-camps