Least likely to be athletic

I’ve had a few comments over the last couple of days that really made me think, or I should say laugh. Someone said I must have been a star athlete in high school. A lot of people said to me over the years that they could never run a marathon. They only wish they were as athletic as me. Their idea of a marathon is Netflix, etc..

I suppose if you met me now you would assume that I was always this way. Now I am a lean and muscular marathon runner aspiring to run my first 50k. Before, well sometimes you just have to laugh.

I was that scrawny little kid that ALWAYS was picked last to be on someone’s team. It always hurt when pickings got slim. Which loser would be picked last to be on the winning team? That internal debate of the team captain on who would suck the least of the last remaining few always showed through the frown on their face. I wonder if kids are still allowed to pick their own teams in gym class?

I was the ONLY girl that tried out for cheerleading in middle school that didn’t make the team AND didn’t make the alternate list.

True story, in middle school I had to write book reports on sports to pass gym class.

You could say I sucked. I didn’t have a trophy case full of ribbons and medals. My high school years were certainly not my glory days. I lived the worst years of my life in my childhood.

But now, I actually feel sorry for people that say their high school years were the best times of their lives.

I became an athlete as an adult because that is what I wanted to be. I still think it is funny when people assume I’ve always been this way. I also think that it is funny when people say that they could never run a marathon because they are not athletic enough.

We are capable of doing whatever we tell ourselves we can (or can’t). All you have to do is take the first step. It is never too late to be the person you want to be. Look at me, least likely to be athletic then is a marathon runner now.



Fortune cookie wisdom #17

The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Let’s talk about wheels a bit today…shall we?

You may remember a couple of months back when I told the story of my son’s new set of wheels…The very night, less than several hours after we got him the car, some small town criminals decided to chase him down because he was squealing his tires. They smashed the front end of his car and took a tire iron to the back of it.

Shortly thereafter, he hit a deer which smashed his headlight. The car was also leaking oil everywhere in big pools. We decided to make an appointment with someone that would fix foreign cars. It took a couple of weeks to get in.

Once the mechanic opened the hood, he took one look and said he wouldn’t work on it. He said that someone spent a whole lot of money to make the car completely worthless. In essence, we bought a lemon. It was their policy that they do not work on modified cars. So here we were stuck with a 17 year old foreign modified car that no one would fix. He did say that it would probably cost thousands to fix the oil leak.

Then we got the estimate for the damages incurred. The damage from the deer cost $2500 and the damage from the hoodlums was $3500. So, technically, the first few hours after my son got the car it was already totaled.

The two offenders are middle aged men. One man was charged with disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property. The other was charged with disorderly conduct and criminal trespass to property when he chased my son and his friend into the friend’s house threatening to kill them. We are hoping to get restitution for the damage to the car.

Now apparently the nephew of one of those hoodlums goes to school with my son Alex. We have had problems with this kid before. In middle school, Alex and this kid wrestled in the same weight class. He was first, Alex was second. One year Alex decided he wanted to try harder. He went to summer wrestling camps and signed up for preseason lessons. He got to be really good at wrestling. He was so good at wrestling that he challenged this kid who was first and beat him several times.

This did not bode well with the other kid who was the son of a son of a son of a wrestler whose ancestors have been going to the school probably since the school first opened its doors. This kid got a group of other wrestlers together and started bullying Alex because he threatened his position. The coach did nothing and finally my husband took the situation into his own hands and contacted the parents directly. That was the year my son quit wrestling after doing it for 8 years, the year he wrestled his best.

Now this kid is talking bad about my son to my son’s girlfriend over what happened with the car. My son said that if this kid disrespects him to his face then he will fight him. He said that if he does that, he would probably get kicked out of school. Yeah, that will show them all! Fighting will surely fix the car and all of the other problems. NOT!

The strange thing is that I understand. When I heard about the hoodlums that damaged his car, I was so angry that I wanted to go over there and kick the crap out of those guys myself. I think I have so much pent up anger and rage that I have one good fight in me. Is that bad?? I would never act on it, but that is how I felt.

So, yeah, the squeaky wheel gets the oil.. I talk about my son a lot on this blog. I probably talk about him a lot more than my honor student daughters.

Wrestling with the school

My son Alex used to be involved in almost every sport offered in the area, but not anymore. He started wrestling when he was in kindergarten. He was competitive, aggressive, and not afraid to get hurt. To be completely honest with you, I loved being a wrestling mom. I even loved getting up early on a Saturday morning to sit for hours in a loud stinky gym for those few minutes of anxious excitement. Most of the moms didn’t like the sport very much because they were afraid that their children would end up hurt. Most of the kids would leave the meets bumped and bruised and at almost every tournament someone would leave the gym on a stretcher.

The sport required a high tolerance of boredom and anxiety. I have seen almost everything over the 8 years that I was a wrestling mom. I have seen kids puking into garbage cans and heading back to the mat. Or more common, kids with bloody noses. Little kids running off crying after losing a match. Siblings would sit bored for hours playing their video games. Babies cried. Parents would coach from the sidelines losing their voices like they spent the night at a bar. I have seen kids worry over a couple of extra ounces when they were trying to make weight sucking on Jolly Ranchers and spitting into water bottles. I never liked that part. I have seen parents escorted out of the building for fighting with refs over calls. Some kids would win, others would lose. Pictures at the podium. Pins for your hat. Then we would pack it all up and head back home until the next weekend.

Alex was a B+ wrestler. When he was in 6th grade, he tried to make it to state. Only the first and second place in the weight bracket would make it to state. If I remember right, there were 8 kids in the weight bracket and Alex took third. However, another district had only one child in the weight bracket so they called Alex up to state. For the next two weeks before state, Alex wrestled twice as much and twice as hard. On the drive to state, Alex fell asleep and woke up with a kink in his neck. He pinched a nerve or pulled a muscle. We tried everything we could think of but Alex could not hold his head upright without extreme pain. We watched his teammates wrestle while Alex had to forfeit every game. We were so angry. He worked so hard. It was such a fluke thing that he made it to state and then he couldn’t even wrestle. So we resolved to do everything possible to help get Alex back to state the following year.

Alex went to summer wrestling camps and we signed him up for very intense wrestling training 2 months before the wrestling season started. This involved an extra expense and 2 hours of driving every time he went. He was very motivated and worked hard. He became an A- wrestler. In school, he was second in his weight class under an A wrestler. With all of the extra training, he could beat the A wrestler 1 out of 3 times. This is where things went incredibly wrong for him. He took on the alpha. This is a boy whose dad was a wrestler that graduated from that same school.  He was friends with a lot of other boys whose dads were wrestlers that graduated from the small town school. He got a lot of the other kids to turn against my son. A couple other kids were getting bullied as well. Some of the boys were being pushed around and had their wrestling shoes thrown in the toilet.  We talked to the coach, but he didn’t do anything.  One day my husband couldn’t take it anymore. He took Alex with him to confront the boys that were bullying him and to talk to their parents. Things got better for awhile.

Then a few weeks before trying to make state, my son came down with the flu. He missed a week of school and when he came back he didn’t wrestle as good. He still tried hard but then hurt his neck again in the same place as before. He spent a week in a lot of pain. He never made it back to state and quit wrestling altogether. Even though we tried to help him become a better wrestler, in hindsight I am not sure it was worth it. Being better jostled the system that was in place, the hierarchy. Since then my son has been ostracized from the jock group, he quit all sports, his grades dropped, and he has a negative attitude about school. He hangs out with other kids that aren’t accepted. Kids that have been known to steal things, do drugs, and run away from home.

My son begs us to take him to another school which has been tempting since he has two really good friends that stay out of trouble in the neighboring school district.  But would that teach him that he can run away from his problems? That he doesn’t need to change negative things about himself in order to get along with people better? Or would it give him a better attitude about learning and opportunities to grow socially and academically?

We have a lot to think about before the next school year.