It's really hard to stand by and watch your child learn about losing first hand! James had his second wrestling tournament on Saturday and for the first time since he started wrestling, he came away empty handed.
He worked so hard and played so fair. We were so very proud of his efforts! He is now in the biggest (heaviest?!) group in the division, which means he's up against kids who have been wrestling longer and have a lot more experience than he does. Even though he wrestled during his kindergarten year, his missing last year seems to have really put him at a disadvantage. They've all had so much more "mat time" and although he's a strong kid, his lack of experience is showing.
He works so hard at practices and often becomes frustrated when the other kids are "messing around" as he always wants to get the most out of the practice. At the tournament, he was all business, but just came up short. He wrestled in three matches on Saturday, and all he lost, but not by much. Yes, there were tears, and times when he wasn't even sure why he had lost. With time, if he sticks with it, it'll come together.....the skill level and the understanding of the sport (which we are all learning!!)
What he does already possess is raw determination. I saw it on the mat during Saturday's tournament and I could see it in these pictures as I was editing them to post. (Please excuse their poor quality, as they were taken at quite a distance and my editing program leaves a lot to be desired!!) He wants to learn, he wants to do it right and he wants to win! All three of the boys he wrestled against on Saturday said he was a challenge for them and I think that helped to boost his morale, even just a little bit.
If he doesn't get anything else out of this experience, I want him to learn more about being a gentleman, and a team player. Yes, it's nice to win, but that's icing on the cake, as far as I'm concerned. What is mandatory is to always do your very best, to cheer on your other teammates, to be encouraging to one another and to be a good sport! These are all things that we talk about away from practice or tournament time and I know he's getting it.
And so we move forward and prepare for the next tournament on Saturday! We keep telling him, as long as he goes out there and does his best, all will be fine because it's not that he wins, but how he plays!!