posted by Joe Anaya on December 8th, 2014

Last week, Matt W wrote about how little his daughter follows his good advice, even though he has a track record Nostradamus would be envious of. And since my son reached his know-it-all teens, we’ve been living with a similar credibility gap from our reluctant houseguest. But this weekend was a rare moment of acknowledgement that I may know a thing or two he doesn’t.

My son and a couple of his friends decided to take up wrestling this year. I wrestled for 7 years starting in grade school through high school. I was incredibly mediocre, but I did pick up a few things and certainly know more than a first year wrestler.

At his inaugural tournament, he got pinned twice, as all first year wrestlers do. Wrestling is funny in that you get thrown into a tournament and are expected to fend for yourself. As one coach told my son, “In team sports like football, if you don’t know what you’re doing, there are 10 other guys to help and cover your mistakes. In wrestling, it’s just you and your inexperience out there on the mat.”

After watching my son get pinned with a move called a cradle. I asked if he knew the counter to the cradle.

“No,” came the contemptuous answer.

“Would you like me to show you?” I offer with as little expectation as a husband hoping to get a free weekend at the house with the wife at home.

His non-committal answer was, “Sure.”

So, I demonstrate the counter and I think I see a brief glimmer of enthusiasm as he realizes, “This could work.”

At his next tournament, he is again about to be pinned with a cradle but this time he remembers the counter and breaks free. This counter move allowed him to last a couple more minutes on the mat and get pinned later with a different move. But a moral victory nonetheless.

After the match, his coaches give him a few pointers and a few words of encouragement. I simply pat him on the back and tell him to hang in there. “At this stage, that’s going to happen a lot.” He shrugs and chugs some water.

I tell him I was thinking of running some errands if he didn’t care if I was there to watch him. His response was, “I’d prefer if you stayed.”

Inside, I was shocked, thrilled and confused all at the same time. It’s like when your buddies dare you to ask the super-model looking girl to dance and she says yes. It’s so unexpected, you think, “Did I miss hear them?” “Did they miss hear me?” “Did someone put you up to this?”

Outside, I just told my son, “Sure, I can stay.”

I spent the rest of the afternoon in the bleachers, waiting for his next match, rearranging my week to catch up on all the things I should have been doing, watching him get pinned, and trying to remember all the details about the probable last time my son will willing take my advice until he’s 27-years old. My son may not have won, but I felt like a winner all day.



File Under King of the Castle, Weekend Warrior