Monday, February 16, 2009

wrestler down (eight words)

mother's scream.
three hundred
others stopped
dead silent.

The kid was ok.
We were at a wrestling tournament with 600 kids and their families in the building. It’s not uncommon to see a wrestler crying. Kids get twisted, stretched and bumped all day long and more than a few of them will cry after their match. It’s an emotional and physical investment to fight another person.

What is surprisingly rare is that a kid actually gets hurt during a match. Seriously hurt, broken bones, joints and muscles. Plenty of brusies and scratches but you never see anything more serious. Unlike sports like football and soccer, there is very little momentum when the kids come together, so there is no impact.

Something happened on the mat next to me and the kid must have gone unconscious for a second. His mom let out a howl that was so incredibly haunting as she streaked across the mat towards him.

Now realize people were already yelling at the matches already being fought in the gym. There was easily 300 people in this particular gym waiting for their own matches to come up but there was something in her voice that silenced the entire gym. I looked over and the kid was sitting up, looking confused. Her voice haunted me for the rest of the day.

Reminds me of a line from a Pixies song:
"..the sound that a Mother makes, when the baby breaks...."


Anonymous said...

injured or hurt?

Wendy said...

Is the kid okay?

Anonymous said...

nothin hurts as bad as the embarrassment he suffered when mom comes screaming crying hysterically in front of god and mankind. poor kid will never recover. wrestling mat is no place for a momma's boy or his mom...JG

Chris said...

When I was a kid, probably 13 years old or so, I was pushed onto the varsity wrestling team after just my third match. I was a young freshman, 105 pounds of "what am I doing here?"

The first period of the match went well as far as I was concerned -- I was behind, but I hadn't been pinned!

The second period started with me in the "up" position, the other wrestler (I remember he was a senior and had been to state the year before) was on hands and knees. I decided that when the whistle blew my first move was going to be grabbing his far arm, trying to pull him off balance. That move worked sometimes...

The whistle blew. I reached for his far arm and yanked it out from under him. Unluckily for the other wrestler, he'd decided to do a "switch" at the whistle -- a move where he puts ALL his weight on that one particular arm. So in that first half-second of the second period, he leaned all his weight on that arm at the same instant I yanked it out from under him. The result was that both of us crashed the eight or ten inches to the mat HARD.

I heard a crack, and a gurgle. Instinctively I rolled him onto his back, still in "wrestling" mode. He didn't fight at all as I flipped him over -- he just lay there, gurgling.

I won my first Varsity match by pin in the second period -- the ref slapped the mat as I was standing about ten feet back, wondering what was wrong... About that time the ref realized that the other kid wasn't moving real quick, either...

Turns out when we fell I'd broken one of his ribs. There was no lasting damage, in fact he walked out to the ambulance himself, but when he was laying there, pale and still, I was one very scared boy myself.

Melissa said...

My son wrestled when he was very young, and both my kids take swordfighting lessons. Actually, only my daughter does now, but only because the boy moved away for college. ANYHOW - it's a dangerous endeavor and you are warned when you sign the kids up.

Despite that, it still took me a while to understand what the instructors called "the culture of bruises" and to get past the kids comparing injuries and their excitement when they got one. "See this??? Longsword to the shin! NICE hit, but you should have seen the one I gave my opponent!"

I have had to train myself not to show emotion when the kids get hurt at class, and there have been times when they have been. Funny though, they often blame themselves - "My fotting was off" or "I wasn't holding the sword right". So I suck it in and stand by with Advil/Aleve/Tylenol, I know where they keep the ice, and the ER doesn't laugh us anymore when we explain how they were injured.