This week’s article is kind of a hard one for me as it required some candid introspect and humility. I tell people all the time to focus on the process (versus outcomes); yet sometimes my actions or words might show people something different. As a parent sitting in the stands watching my son wrestle - I hope for his success. Although I know (success) may not come each time he steps on the mat.
Contradiction - my words and behavior vs the process. I find myself worrying about things that are outside my control. I worry about the calls an official is making. I find myself more focused on what the official was doing than enjoying what my son is doing. I’ll wave my arms or maybe yell out loud that a certain judgement call was made. My actions certainly show that I am only worrying about the result. I suspect that for my son that winning likely feels great and losing likely comes with pain - but now I am challenging myself and the readers of this article to look at the bigger picture.
I wonder what I look like to the fans sitting on the other side of the gym or what the official thinks when he hears my voice? What if my son saw tape of me and my actions in the stands? I know I want him to be proud of me as I am of him. After he watches the tape, would he say he is proud of me? There is no call that an official makes that is more important - than what my son thinks of me! A friend of mine mentioned one time that one of the most defining moments of his life as a wrestling parent – was during a time where he was getting worked up, worried, animated about an upcoming match. His son (the wrestler) said, “don’t worry – I’m the one wrestling.” In that simple exchange, his son clearly and strongly underlined the importance of knowing our roles. The wrestlers wrestle. The officials make the calls. The coaches coach and the parents just need to be supportive of their kids. He said that after that point, his own enjoyment level was something he had never experienced before. At the same time, his son (later) said that the pressure and anxiety that his dad was projecting on him (and everyone around him) – was eliminated and he could focus simply on wrestling.
Without question, in my opinion, being loud and supporting your team is a must! I think it’s one thing we have lost in recent years. Be proud of your program and be loud for your son or daughter. Focus on them and enjoy watching them and let the results take care of themselves. A loss only hurts if you don’t learn from it. That guy standing in the middle of the mat wearing a striped shirt is just there to enforce the rules to the best of his ability. He is not there to be bullied, let alone to make a call or change his mind based upon someone sitting more than 100 feet away in the bleachers. If I am focused only on results, sometimes I might forget that this referee is very likely a good person, trying their best, and seeing things through their own eyes with a better perspective, closer proximity, and possibly a better understanding of the call and / or the rules in play.