Tuesday, February 26, 2013

District Champ 2013!!!

 I love watching my son wrestle. It doesn't matter much in the grand scheme of things whether he wins or loses. Of course I love to see all his hard work pay off with wins...but I am just as proud of him when he loses.

Newt has been around wrestling since he was 2 months old. I used to ride down to Annapolis to watch my brother's Naval Academy matches, most of which my tiny little son slept through...air horns, cheering, and all. We have pictures of him on his hands and knees on a wrestling mat from when he started crawling and I think he knew how to throw a half nelson before he could walk.

He started wrestling when he was 5 years old. It just seemed the natural thing for him to do. He was a tiny kid...never made it on a growth chart for age and was always a few pounds under the lowest weight class so football, baseball, or basketball just didn't seem right. He loved wresting practice and working out. At 5 years old he once told his coach, "Give me more push-ups to make me stronger, coach!" He always gave it his all and we hoped watching the older kids fooling around and groaning at extra activities wouldn't let him know certain things were not considered fun.

I tried to keep him away from pressure. I didn't allow him to cut weight. I took him to clubs and  tournaments. I did a lot of the coaching from 8 years until 8th grade. I was one of the few moms coaching her child on the mat. When he came off the mat, I hugged him whether he won or lost. When he hit 8th grade, he started lifting and putting on weight. We worried until then he'd be too small to wrestle in high school but he grew.

His first year in high school he had a great year. He wrestled with pneumonia (which I didn't know until after he'd finished wrestling for the day) and took 2nd at the Tri-County tournament losing by only 1 point in a bad ref call. He took 3rd in the District and, after a number of coincidences (one kid not making weight and another dislocating his shoulder), Newt took 4th in the Region. Last year he had another really good year. He was District Champ and placed 4th in the Region for real though his last match was a heart break for him since he lost to a boy he'd beaten earlier in the Region tournament.

This year started off rough. Newt sprained his ankle in one of the first practices and tried to continue wrestling through the pain but would come limping off the mat after every match whether he'd won or lost. By just before Christmas he could barely walk on it let alone wrestle so I took him to an orthopedist who did an MRI which showed a split in the ligament. Newt rested it for 2 weeks...you would have thought it nearly killed him but he did it. He then went back to practice and was undefeated for the rest of the year. He took 1st at Districts last Saturday!

He goes on to Regions this weekend. He has a tough weight class, possibly one of the toughest in the region. Depending on his own mental toughness and determination, he may place high enough for States or someone might come along and knock him out of the running. Either way, I am still so proud of the young man he's become. He only has one more year of high school. We will begin looking at colleges this spring. I often think how quickly the time has gone by. That little, tiny baby I once held at wrestling matches in Annapolis will be heading off to college himself in a little over a year.

                                                             Congrats, Newt!!!

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