Wrestling Parents Squirm On Bleachers During The Matches

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 10, 2013

“Stretch him out, Babe,” the woman immediately behind me on the gym bleachers screamed, and I knew she was not talking to my son. He was the one she wanted stretched.

Such is life in the stands at wrestling matches. Unlike at football, basketball or baseball games where the two sides are clearly separated, parents of wrestling combatants on the mat often find themselves uncomfortably side-by-side in the bleachers. I listened while the woman loudly exhorted her son to do uncomfortable things to mine.

I’m often mute when Michael is wrestling, but I squirm a lot. The woman quickly figured out the connection Monday night at Parkland High School during a junior varsity event. Michael eventually won.

“That’s all right, Babe,” she yelled. Nudging me, she added, “Your son did good.”

I returned the polite compliment, and the tension in the bleachers immediately faded — or moved further down the row as another set of wrestlers took the mat.

Wrestling is exciting to watch. Combat is an appropriate description. Wrestlers don’t need video games. They muscle it out on the mat.

I still haven’t figured out what a “cow chain” is, but I’m learning some of the lingo — the cradle, cross-face, half-nelson and a host of other obscure wrestling maneuvers.

I know so little that I can’t intelligently yell encouragement.

“Break him down,” some parents yell. “Snap him.” “Switch!”

Without wrestling lingo lessons, however, even I know never to call my son, “Babe.”


Richard Gary Kohl: Wish I Had Known Him

 Spotted on the obituary page this week: “I know many people would say that they had the best dad, but with all due respect, ours was the best.” That’s what the family of Richard Gary Kohl said about him, enumerating many of his endearing qualities.

So many times after reading obituaries I wish I had known the fellow or woman. I wish I had known Richard Kohl.


Getting Up The Leaves

 If age has taught me anything, it’s to never say, “Honey, I got up all the leaves.”

It will never happen.

Repeatedly this fall, I got up every leaf in sight. I even trespassed on the neighbors’ lawns to get their leaves, sure they would eventually stray over to my side after dark.

The neighbors have not pressed charges, but they do wonder about my sanity. A third neighbor wanted to know why I wasn’t helping him.

My second season super duper back pack blower continues to make the leaf season a joy, but the trees just won’t let go of all the leaves.

The lawn had remained leaf-free for three days, but Tuesday the winds began to blow with vigor. Leaves will probably blow in from Bermuda Run … or Kansas.

You don’t ever get all the leaves. You just get tired of caring about them. I’m tired of them. There must be more to life than this.

– Dwight Sparks