No More Youth Tournaments

It would have been much easier if my New Year's resolution was to start a blog that said... "Things that Really Piss Me Off."  For every blessing that I think of each day, the pessimist in me finds something to complain about.  (To tell the truth... the complaints come much easier.)  A nicer version would be... "Things Could Always Be Worse."  Today's post would fit under that category. This time of year, I complain (a lot) about wrestling.  The stress, the traveling, the waiting, the money... it really takes a toll both mentally and physically.  But all I have to do is spend 10 minutes at a "youth" wrestling tournament to appreciate the high school experience.

Please don't post comments defending youth wrestling.  I'll only delete them.  I think of it as a necessary evil.  To be a competitive wrestler in high school, you (almost) have to participate in the youth system.  It worked wonders for my son and we met a lot of really wonderful people... But I'm here to say I think it's just one step above child abuse.  I couldn't believe the screaming dads, complaining moms and crying kids I saw on the mat yesterday.  One guy yelled at his son... "Everyone in this gym knows your a big ball baby."  I looked on the kids arm and his weight was only 55 lbs... Sad.  Pathetic.  I think it's become a lot worse since we were on the circuit... maybe not.  Maybe I was just blind, but life is stressful enough.  I can't imagine going through that willingly and worse... dragging my kid through it every weekend and justifying it as "quality time."

So... to turn this around... The fact that I no longer have to participate in youth wrestling is a blessing to me.  I don't really like kids (don't be shocked... if you know me at all this is not the first time you've heard it) but I've learned that I like their parents even less.  High school wrestling with all of its down sides is a completely different experience for both the athlete and the families involved.  I think wrestling is a terrific tool to build character in young men.  (Notice I said young MEN... not young men and women... That's a whole other conversation.)  I am a huge fan... but that doesn't mean I have to like the road to success.