Friday, March 9, 2012

Competitive Moment

The Rock Star loves to play sports. Er, really, he loves to accumulate the cheap trophies that they hand out at the end of a season. He's played tee ball twice, soccer three times, taken several rounds of swim lessons, and is currently in a junior wrestling league.

But the kid is so passive, so not competitive, so eager to simply make friends and let them score goals or hit the ball or take him to the mat, that is tends to drive me a little bit crazy. I've been competitive since sometime during infancy. I quit playing softball at age seven because I wasn't good at it.

Forget trying to get better.

Forget practicing and practicing and practicing until I acquired the skill set necessary to play well.

I just finished the season and said, "Never again." So far I've kept my word, refusing, even, to play on the church coed league.

In wrestling this season, Garrett is 0-6. The first kid kept grabbing my son's neck, ripping it to the side, and throwing him down to the floor. I almost came unglued. When Troy walked back over to sit with me I told him that I previously had no idea that I was one of those moms. One who will march herself right on to the mat, grab the opposing kid by the waist, throw him to the ground, and tell him never to touch my kid like that again. Or else. Or else I'd press charges. I saw it all playing out in my head. Ally McBeal style.

I didn't do it, mind you. I just didn't know I was the kind of mother who would even imagine it. I was an athlete. I like sports. They're not for the faint of heart. I'm not faint of heart.

Except, apparently, where my son is concerned.

In his fourth match he got schooled, owned, a girl. I don't say that because I was shocked that my manly son couldn't beat a frail, little wisp of a female. I say that because if you're a five-year-old girl and you want to wrestle in a predominantly male sport, you've got to be pretty hardcore. And she was no wisp. When we saw that he was up against a girl we knew it was all over. He won't take a ball from a girl. He won't try to take a girl down. He was born with a chivalrous gene that didn't have to be nurtured. "Get her!" I wanted to scream. "Take her down." Because I'm a competitive psychopath with very little mercy and because I did not want my kid going easy on her because of her gender. Whether he went easy or not doesn't really matter. She would have killed him regardless of his effort.

Last night he lost his first match by, well, a lot.

He was well on his way to being annihilated in his second match when something happened. The other kid hurt Garrett. Suddenly I saw a look of absolute rage flash across his face. And my son started to wrestle. I knew that look. I've felt that look time and time again. I can't explain it. I would dive into a pool as just an average girl, but the moment I felt that water rushing past my pores, I wanted to win. At. All. Cost. Garrett flipped the kid and, with anger flashing in his eyes, managed to score several points before the match was over. He still lost but he started to wrestle with a purpose beyond, "Hey, it sure is fun getting flattened on the ground and then sat on for several minutes."

I don't know if Garrett will play ball or wrestle or play the piano or basket weave as he gets older but I wouldn't trade witnessing that look for anything. That look was straight up how I felt during every race I ever swam. And it was fascinating and hilarious to see it displayed on the face of my son.

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