HITTING THE MAT: The Making of A State Champ or At Least A Good Man! (Blog 42)

Blog 42

March 13, 2021

 Well, wrestling season in Connecticut has come and gone, and there aren’t any post-season tournaments. The New England’s would have taken place last weekend. This is such an exciting tournament. I was hoping Dakota would have gotten to experience it this year, but it didn’t happen.

There had been some on-going rumors in CT that they would push wrestling to the spring and maybe even take it outside in a much abbreviated season. But those ideas were scratched too because the spring sports had lost their seasons last year because of Covid-19. They didn’t want short spring sports seasons this year because of winter sports, which hadn’t been canceled in the previous year, pushing into their time and space this year.

Regarding the other states around us that make up New England, well, New Hampshire was the only state that allowed wrestling this year. Massachusetts and Rhode Island have moved their wrestling to the spring season. And Maine and Vermont, like Connecticut, canceled their season.

New York and New Jersey aren’t part of New England, but they are indeed part of the northeast wrestling family. Both are allowing wrestling to commence. I believe they both will have very short seasons to try to limit their impact on spring sports.

In addition, I have recently been told that the Nationals are back on in Virginia Beach this spring. I just bumped into one of my old buddies, a CT wrestling coach, at one of my daughter’s soccer games. And he told me he was taking a group of wrestles down and asked if I was going with Dakota. I hesitated. Hey, I would love to take Dakota down there, but he hasn’t really been training for it, and I don’t want him to get hurt or sick. Hey, we’re still in a pandemic.

When my buddy saw my hesitation, he said, “Hey, I know you’re crazy busy. Just give me Dakota, and I’ll take him down.” I was moved by his kindness and generosity. But I still said no because I want more shots in arms, and I want Dakota to have been on the mat more before I put him in that kind of competition. And nothing is open up here in CT for him to get that sort of mat time. Also, I’m not sure that I’m comfortable with kids and their families coming from all over the country who I have no idea of what they’ve been doing or what their beliefs are in taking some standard precautions during this pandemic. I don’t like not sending Dakota. But I would like it even less if he got sick, especially when we could have had a little more patience for more shots to get into some more arms. And then maybe hit up a few tournaments this summer instead.

Now, I know not all parents out there will agree with me on this one, especially if they are diehard wrestlers who feel that they have to be back on that mat. I know many people don’t fully believe that this pandemic is as dangerous as the news has been saying. But, hey, this is America. Parents get a lot of freedom to follow their own conscience and do what they feel is best for their own children. So, for the people around our country who are wrestling, I say, “Good for you. I wish we were too. I wish you continued success and health” And for those who are refraining from wrestling, I say, “Good for you, too. Do what you think is right. Perhaps you really are better safe than sorry.”

So, here is some good news in what I think I may be able to do for my son in a state that is still shut down when it comes to wrestling. I have a stimulus check coming my way in the next few weeks. I’m hoping to use some of that money to pay some bills that have piled up on me. In addition, I’m also hoping to put some of that money back into our economy by buying a 10 X 10 home wrestling mat for my unfinished basement for Dakota.

As you may recall from previous writings, Dakota, who had never wrestled before high school, had a fantastic freshman year. Unfortunately, his sophomore year was robbed by a knee surgery right before the season started. Then his junior year was taking as well by the pandemic. He only has one more year to do what he wants to do for his high school wrestling career, and he needs some time on the mat to do it. If I can get a home wrestling mat, I can give him some of that time on the mat back several times a week through drilling with me. It would also be some great father-son time together. And give him a fighting chance during these crazy times to have the kind of senior year he wants to have.

Wish us luck… We’re going to need it…

Next, something really cool just happened. While driving in my car, Dakota and I talked about wrestling, and he mentioned how so much of wrestling is in one’s head. He asked me what he could do to help him mentally with wrestling. I told him that I have spoken often and written books and articles on winning and putting yourself in the right state of mind to win. However, I really wanted him to go to the source that inspired me so many years ago and changed my thinking that has helped me become more successful.

When we got home, I rummaged through my basement and found one of my favorite books of all time. It is a book called, Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins. I read this book as a very young man in the early 1990s. It opened my eyes to the psychology of winning. The book is 30 years old, and it still has my original pen scribbled notes in it. It’s amazing that I still have it, found it, and it is still in good shape. I was pumped to share the genesis of my positive and peak performance way of thinking and behaving with my son. I just pray he gets as much out of it as I did. If he does, he’ll be in a great position to train his brain and control his thoughts on that wrestling mat and to continue to do so long after wrestling is over in other arenas of his life.

Finally, Dakota and I have bumped into the college wrestling coaches lately. They told him that they thought he was a pretty good wrestler. And then demanded that he gets nothing but A’s from now on in his schooling because he needs very good grades to open doors for college.

Now I feel like we’re really making some great progress in molding my son Dakota into a good young man who trains his body, mind, and character through the sport of wrestling and doing hard things.

Click here to learn more about the wrestling book Dan Gable and Larry Owings wrote the Foreword and Introduction for:

Hitting the Mat: The Making of A State Champion or at Least Good Man