I love football; I love the excitement, the tailgating, even the cowbells. However, once football is over at my house, the REALLY intense season arrives. If you have ever been around the true sport of wrestling, not that stuff on TV, then you know it takes a special athlete to compete; it takes a special coach to coach it, and it takes a special wife to walk through the season.
Wrestling takes incredible discipline, not only physically but mentally.
Wrestlers are incredibly focused, driven, and determined. So are their coaches. Sometimes that intensity spills over at home, so being able not to take things personally is a great attribute to have. I'm still working on that myself.
Wrestlers are very careful with their diet during the season. They know that the fuel they put in their bodies needs to be the best for them to maintain stamina as well as their weight. Imagine having to "make weight" every week during the holiday season.
Every year I am astounded by the determination of these athletes' ability to resist sugar, bread, and turkey. But most do and do it well. Wrestling used to have a bad rap about how athletes would "pull weight," but with processes in place for school athletes, they are monitored closely and told how much weight they are allowed to lose and how long they must take to get to that weight. Coaches work hard to keep their wrestlers on track and healthy.
In talking with other wrestling wives, we have come up with some unique attributes about this life and wanted to share them with you.
- Wrestling folks are like FAMILY. You can't spend days in a gym at a tournament without learning about each other, sharing snacks, Gatorade, or Pedialyte. I have cheered on boys I've never met simply because their mom or the coach's wife was nearby cheering him on too. I had perfect strangers cheering on one of our wrestlers as he won our school's first-ever state championship. They knew what it meant to have the crowd on your side, and they shed tears of joy right along with me.
- Wrestling wives know weird things, like a singlet weighs approximately 3 to 4 ounces, that underwear weighs about 1 to 2 ounces, we know what foods are highest in protein for snacks, and that sugar items in "goodie bags" are a no-no because of the crash that can follow. We know how to make a sandwich in the stands, that oranges and bananas are a nice, sweet treat, and how to set up a Tanita scale for weigh-ins. We also know that chocolate milk is the best recovery drink!
- We know when a wrestler wants to "check their weight" that we may need to step out or hide around the corner because, well, sometimes those ounces count.
- We know that our husbands are physically exhausted after a tournament. They have wrestled every single match those 13 athletes have wrestled throughout the event. That could mean as many at 65-80 matches. After every tournament, my husband has what he calls "coach's hangover." He just wants a quiet space to sit and something to soothe his throat after all that yelling to be heard over the chaos in the gym.
- We know how to give a haircut in the stands so that a wrestlers' hair meets code. We know how to stop a nosebleed quickly, that matches can be won wearing those funky face masks a wrestler might have to wear to protect the nose, and we know that there is no smell like a wrestler after a hard-fought match or a "4-pound practice".
- Wrestling wives know better than most how to treat ringworm and keep things extra clean, even before Covid was an issue. Of course, we also know how to run clocks and keep blood time.
- This sport takes place on a mat, in front of a crowd with just yourself, your opponent, and the referee. There is no one else to back you up if you mess up. It takes a special athlete to be willing to be in the spotlight alone, trying to control your opponent as they try to control you. You don't get to "tag team" anyone for help or pass the ball off; it's YOU.
- Wrestling wives know that this sport teaches athletes that life is hard, that you can work incredibly hard and do all the right things and still be on the losing end. This sport also teaches athletes that they are responsible for themselves and their performance but that they are still part of a team because the points you score can be the difference in a dual win or loss. Wrestling wives also know that Jacob wrestled an angel, but the angel had to cheat to win. *Genesis 32:22-32
There is a saying that "Once you've wrestled, everything else in life is easy," and to a great extent, this is a true statement BUT, my take is, "Once you've been a wrestling wife, everything else in life is easy." Wishing you the best of luck this season!