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home : insight & opinion : letters to the editor April 29, 2016

2/15/2013 2:03:00 PM
Wrestling mom shares love of a unique sport


Now that my son has ended his wrestling career at RHS, I would like to explain to you what it has meant to me. When one of the coaches approached me about him joining the wrestling team, I, as most mothers would, said no way. He might get hurt! I had seen how these boys twist and turn and bend each other into ways in which our bodies were not meant to bend. However, I relented, and it has turned out to be the best decisions my son has made.

First, let me say that this is one of those sports that is both a team sport as well as an individual sport. There is not a typical wrestler, either. I have seen giant brutes, to kids who don't look old enough to be in high school, venture out onto the mat to test their skills. There is a place for anyone. These boys are on the road most Saturdays December through February before the sun comes up and usually get home well after dark. They travel three or four hours one way to be able to wrestle some of the best teams in the state and will choose to wrestle the best opponent out there (win or lose) so that they can improve their skills.

Secondly, this sport is one of the few where you might see a bunch of kids piled into one big mess before the meet, no matter what team they represent. They are all friends. When they meet on the mat, they definitely leave the friendship behind, but as soon as the match is over, they shake hands or hug, and the friendship renews. I have seen wrestlers who have graduated several years previous show up at a big meet and find opponents from their wrestling days and they generally give each other big hugs and handshakes and ask all about what they have been doing. You see, wrestling is like being part of an extended family and once you are a part of it, it is hard to think of not being a part of it.

The lessons my son has learned through wrestling will take him far in life. He has learned about being led and being a leader. He has learned about persistence and determination. He has learned that there are times when you have to work through pain, but that there are always people there who will let you lean on them when you need them. He has learned about the joys of winning and how to be a gracious loser. He has learned how to dream big and know that the dream can also be taken away with one wrong twist of an ankle. Wrestling has given him all of this and more. His self-confidence and belief in himself have soared because of the successes and defeats he has weathered through this very misunderstood sport.

Robinson High School wrestlers have had an outstanding year. Under the leadership of Coach Damron, Coach Hyre, Coach Cunningham, and Coach Grover, these boys had many highs, including sending eight wrestlers to sectionals in an individual sport. They narrowly missed making the team sectional. Individual wrestlers have won and placed in many tournaments throughout the season and have also worked with the Junior Maroon wrestlers. So as Tanner Keeler, Nick Iovanic, and Peyton Stifle ready for the state tournament this weekend in Champaign, I wish them all the luck in the world. They deserve the respect and accolades of everyone in Robinson and the surrounding area, as do all the boys no matter where their season ended.

I wish more people would take the time to understand this sport and support this team.

Tuesday, Feb. 19, in the RHS Gym, some of the best wrestling teams in the southern part of Illinois will be participating in Team Sectionals to determine which teams will advance to Team State. If you want to see what wrestling is all about, make plans to attend. I promise that you will not be disappointed.

Holly Gallagher


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