Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wrestling with Success

Being the best sets you up for someone else to try to knock you down.  I have always found myself much more comfortable somewhere on the periphery of "best."  Good but not outstanding.  In the outer ring of the spotlight.  Never one to toot my own horn, and never comfortable having others toot it for me...

Not that I didn't think I was good, know that I was good, but the notion of saying it out loud was paralyzing. 

Enter stage right, my Jersey-licious love.

He operates on a platform of  "I'm the best, go ahead and prove me wrong."

His machismo is one part rearing and two parts regional culture, South Jersey style.

He declares on a regular basis, "I think Mini Monkey should be moved up in school, she's too smart."
"Middle Monkey is gonna be a state championship wrestler."  "Monster Monkey is a stud."

While I may secretly agree, to say so out loud would be inviting others to challenge my proclamations.  In my head it would leave my Monkeys subject to criticism, open to attack.

Statements like these give me heart palpitations.

The truth is, our boys are really good at wrestling.  Not just good "in a mother's eyes" but legitimately good.  And this terrifies me. 

We traveled this past weekend to New Jersey, to the Alma Mater of the Monkey Maker so that our little grapplers could participate in a wrestling tournament.  This tournament was not a "novice" tournament as the others have been, where newbie wrestlers gather to tangle on the mat and hone their newly learned skills. 

No, this was a real, live Double Elimination tourney complete with brackets and seeds, and for this... I was not prepared.

And so it was that somewhere between pride and panic, I found myself cheering on our two rookie wrestlers.  Sitting mat side, confidently in their corner and making the brazen statement to the youth wrestling world that I believe my sons are good.  Really, really good. 

They wrestle and I wrestle too.

The bouts are matched evenly, confidence vs. cynicsism, faith vs. fear, resolution vs. reluctance. These contenders tussle in my mind, feelings at once both foreign and familiar, fighting for the "tech fall."

Faith won this time and that is a sure sign that I'm on the right track.


  1. Good job monkeys!
    I like to think I'm OK at things but don't say them aloud. Growing up I was told I was smart, but never told I was pretty (I was awkward, I get it). So now I believe I'm smart but feel thrown off if someone tells me I'm pretty.
    Like you, I'm not comfortable with complements.

  2. Good for the monkeys - and good for you, feel free to boast, anyone who would argue with you isn't worth worrying about!

  3. That's great! I'm not good at tooting my own horn either - but go ahead and tell the world how great your monkeys are! They deserve it!