Havoc wrestled today for the first time - and today, for the first time, I was a wrestling mom. Havoc, as the youngest of five, is not often the first kid to do something. He was pretty proud of himself. And? He was a little nervous. (I, on the other hand, was ridiculously, insanely, and unbelievably nervous. Good thing I wasn't the one giving the pep talk!) The first pictures are of Havoc listening intently to the coach.
Havoc was very focused. There were probably a hundred people milling around - the bigger clubs were doing drills about two feet away - and there were hordes of little guys running around playing tag trying to work off some nervous energy. Havoc wasn't distracted by any of it. He zeroed in on his coach. I was trying to listen too - because Havoc's was the very first "bout" of the whole meet! There was a very detailed bracket sheet delineating over 170 bouts in a stair-step form that led to the championship bout. There was a screen with mat numbers and bout numbers that changed every five minutes. Havoc wrestled against 8 and 9 year olds only and they were all divided by weight. He weighed 64 pounds this morning so he wrestled in the 65 lb group. The nine year old boy next to us in the stands weighed 133lbs. YIKES! (He wrestled in the 112lb+ division.) I'd never been to a wrestling match before. It is SUCH a boy sport. Yes, there's one girl (who is about 14) in the club that Havoc wrestles with - but she is very much the exception. (I can't even imagine why she would want to. I promise you that when I was fourteen that I would have eaten glass before I would have participated in a sport that required weighing in, wearing a lycra singlet, having your weight written in sharpie on your hand for all to see, not to mention gripping and grabbing boys. No way.) Remember the part of my story where I grew up in an all female house and went to an all girls school? Yeah - boy stuff still freaks me out which is probably why the universe saw fit to make sure I had four boys! We were watching one bout that had to be stopped because one of the boys got a bloody nose. Like seriously bloody. Like give the boy an ice pack and someone grab a bucket and a rag for the mat, please! You know what they did? The continued the bout! They did wipe up the floor but then they just stuck something that looked like a marshmallow (but was probably an earplug) up the boy's nose and blew the whistle to keep wrestling! (He won, by the way.) In another match one boy's arm looked like it had been wrenched out of the socket. Another boy got a forearm pressed against his larynx and was gasping too hard to cry. I was literally shaking by the time Havoc had his second bout. Havoc's nervousness had completely disappeared though.
He's the one on the top in this picture. This is his very first bout of his very first meet. He won. It was amazing. He was totally jazzed. It was a double elimination tournament - and he lost his next two bouts and was out. But the first boy he lost to went on to be the champion of the whole division. That boy was fantastic. He about gave me a heart attack wrapping my son up like a pretzel. At one point Mr. Future Champion had Havoc upside down with his neck bent at a terrible angle. Sweet Hubby had to pry my fingernails out of his arm. The second bout Havoc lost was much more even. He tied the boy in points for the first of the three one-minute rounds. By the third round, the other boy had Havoc on points but he didn't pin him. Afterwards that boy told us it was his fifth year wrestling. Go Havoc for holding your own against that kind of competition! I learned a lot too. Mostly I learned that wrestling culture is weird. And the weirdness is contagious. I heard other parents shout things like, "Find your base!" and "Crank it up!" I shouted those things too. I'm not sure they helped as I have no idea what they mean. I asked Havoc if he knew how to find his base and he said, "What base?" My thought exactly. They were selling t-shirts that said, "How 'bout you hold my headgear while I kiss your girlfriend!" Eh? I mean, it's not just me is it? Don't you think that's a weird slogan for an eight year old's shirt? Me thinks, perhaps, the wrestling world is just a wee bit defensive about those singlets and overcompensates with misplaced machoness. Weirdness aside, Havoc loves his new sport. Considering he had to leave the house at 5:45 a.m. on a Saturday to go get slammed into a mat and twisted into a spandex covered knot - I thought he had a great attitude. He said, "Know what I think is awesome about wrestling? It's an adventure AND I get to eat a power bar and drink gatorade." There you go, Havoc's formula for happiness is adventure + electrolytes. Headgear optional.