State Wrestling is upon us!  My son Keegan, a junior at Natrona County High School placed first at the 4A West Regionals last weekend in the 160 pound weight class.  That got him the second seed at State coming up on Friday.  (4A East got the number one seed, as we take turns each year).   Nonetheless, He’s in a pretty good spot!  The road to the State Championship will be a tough battle and I am looking forward to watching him peak at State, which is what he has been working for since he was 3 years old.

Wrestling gets into a wrestler’s soul, into his gut, and builds so much more than strength. I’ve seen it develop character and an inner strength in Keegan, something Jim and I could never have taught him. There are no excuses in wrestling, it builds a strength of mind and power of spirit, an unwavering confidence.

It is not uncommon to see tears from these strong young men (and from me as well). The level of dedication, every emotion, every ounce of them prepared for battle, whether it’s a win or a loss there is a moment of release when they finish… physical exhaustion, elation, or defeat, that’s when you see the man apart from the boy.

And even though wrestling is an individual sport, there is still an enormous amount of team spirit. There are close friendships and there is a respect of opponent that is unparalleled, there is a silent understanding between teammates and opponents, they understand the dedication and courage that it takes to compete in wrestling and they are always there to lift each other up, even when they've just got done competing against each other.

I think that the greatest benefit from wrestling is life lessons it teaches.  Wrestling teaches you to face challenges and to demand the most from yourself. It teaches you to fight when you think there is no more fight left within you. It teaches you to get up after you’ve fallen, time and time again. It teaches you about sacrifice and about pain. It teaches you to endure and to overcome. These lessons are the true gifts of the sport of wrestling.

Do I want him to win a state championship?  Of course!  But I want so much more than that for him.  I want him to get so much more from wrestling. I hope he learns to strive for greatness even when he fails in the attempt. I hope learns to get up when he thinks he can’t possibly get up one more time. I hope he learns to not only face his fears, but to stare them right in the face.

Wrestling isn’t about winning. It is about the desire to win. It isn’t about success, but rather the determination to succeed. I want him to succeed as a wrestler, not just so he can win state championships, but I want him to be a successful wrestler so he can learn to be all that he can be. Wrestling can help teach that, if you let it.

I look forward to watching Keegan at State this weekend and I’ll be in his corner for each and every match. ( You won't be able to miss me, I'll be the one yelling the loudest :D )

So...go get ‘em this weekend, squeak!  I’m so very proud of you and the fine young man you are growing into!  Love, Mom