|Zoran's first ever match!|
I didn't think we were going to be involved in wrestling this year. I really wanted Israel to join, but the day practices were supposed to start he decided not to. Of course Zoran wanted to, but he isn't really old enough since it's just for 2nd-8th grade. Mission does usually let some of the younger kids practice and go to a few of the first meets, but Zoran has such an unmanageable temper (especially when it comes to losing) I thought it was best he waited a few years. He's getting better in sports like basketball and soccer and can step away and calm down when he needs to now. That's pretty huge progress for him compared to how he handled things a few years ago.
But, once he realized a whole bunch of his cousins were wrestling (some of them his age) he wasn't so happy about me not signing him up. He really wanted to do it, so we made the deal that this year he could just go to practices and start learning some things and we'd see how things went before we decided about competing in tournaments next year. He told me he wouldn't get mad if he lost and if he started to get upset he's just "go to the bench." I had to tell him it wasn't like soccer and you couldn't just stop in the middle and go to the sideline if you got mad because you weren't winning. In wrestling, if someone else was winning they were probably going to be holding you down. His solution then was that he'd just tap out, so I had to tell him this wasn't like the MMA he'd been watching.
He headed off to practice the next day anyway. I should've know my plan wasn't really reasonable for someone so competitive, and he yelled at me from across the mat (right as his very first practice was ending) "I want to do the tournaments!" And how convenient that there was one the next day.
Meanwhile, Azia started to feel left out because all her friends were wrestling and she decided she needed to join, too. Jenna wrestled last year but Azia wasn't really interested. She had no problem with the wrestling part, but she didn't want to compete "with stinky boys or wear those ugly suits." I guess she got over it. She decided she wanted to wrestle too. Starting immediately. After showing up for 1/2 hour of practice and with no other experience at all. I warned her that she was going to have to wrestle other boys--just as big and strong as she was-- but who had been doing this for 2-3 years. I told her they wouldn't be nice to her and she probably wasn't going to win. She just threw her hands up in the air and shook her head at me and yelled in a high pitched-voice: "I don't care!!!" And I don't think she really did. This is her at the start of her very first match.
She decides she wants to do something and she just goes for it. She jumps in feet first, goes 100% and figures things out as she goes. I love that about her.
And I don't understand it at all.
Someday I'll figure out how to be more like her.
|Azia and Jenna (and Dev and Zoran cheering them on in the background). Both girls wrestle at 60 pounds so they've had to wrestle a few times this year.|
Zoran, on the other hand, thinks about things. He was excited and ready to go, but a little worried he only knew a few moves. (Since he'd only ever had one practice.) He wondered and thought about the matches all throughout the day.
But when it was time to actually wrestle, he went out there and just won. All of them.
It's not really fair to look at his wins compared to some of the other kids, because since he is so small he's not usually matched up with anyone with much experience. Some of his friends wrestling in the higher weight classes had to wrestle second and third graders who have been doing this for a few years.
Still, he does have an impressive way of making up for experience and knowledge with intensity. He's only 40 pounds, but I don't know anyone who can match him in pound for pound when it comes to fierceness.
|Takedown for Zoran. This match in Mission was probably the hardest match he had all year. I think it may have gone all three rounds and the kid was actually one point ahead when Zoran pinned him.|
By the Mission tournament (less than a week after she started) Azia was already figuring things out. She started winning matches and got second in her bracket--losing the 1st-2nd place match to Jenna by a couple points!
|Azia & Jenna wrestling for first & second.|
|Azia wrestled this girl from Ronan a few times this season. She won both matches but they're pretty evenly matched.|
The following weekend both Azia and Zoran had a really good weekend in Polson. They both won all their matches in the tournament and got first place in their brackets! It was sort of amazing to see how much Azia had learned in just a few weeks.
|She made two boys cry this day...the most difficult match she had was the other little girl she beat in the 1st-2nd match!|
And Zoran continued his streak of quick pins.
|Showing off their matching first place ribbons from the Polson tournament.|
So after all my talking to Zoran about being a good sport when you lose, not losing his temper, and how he just has to remember he's learning things and getting better by wrestling the kids that are a little better than him, he didn't have to deal with it at all.
He won all his matches. He pinned every single kid he wrestled.
I guess we'll start working on the good sportsmanship next season.
He was really disappointed last weekend when he didn't get to wrestle in the qualifying tournament. He really didn't see why his being a kindergartner should be a problem. He's so competitive he has a really hard time watching any sport when he thinks he could be participating. It was especially tough when he knew he had already beat the kids who got 2nd and 4th.
(How I evaluate this shows you I'd never be a wrestler. . . I'm always impressed when people don't get pinned. I get that a loss is a loss, but it seems so much more impressive when you can go the entire match and avoid getting pinned by someone who is just really, really good. Azia's last match was like that. She hardly got any points, but the kid (who was more experienced and skilled than she was) never could pin her. I was really impressed with her! I guess she didn't win, but it really didn't seem like a loss either. Again, why I would never be a competitive wrestler. I have a similar problem with competitive running. It never occurs to me that winning a race might be an option. My goal is just not to be last. As long as I'm not the last person finished, I feel victorious.)
Azia was actually pretty sad after she lost her last match and got put out. Partially I think because the one right before that was so easy. She pinned the boy in the first round. Also, I think she was hoping to do well enough to place. I was actually glad she cared. She likes whatever she is doing at the moment and wants to try everything, but I was pretty sure she was going to be done with wrestling after trying it out for a week or so. She has a bit of a short attention span for everything except activities she really loves. I know she loves the social aspect of wresting--all her friends did it this year. But I don't think it's really one of her favorite sports. I was just glad she finished out the season.
|Jenna getting taped up and ready to go. Azia waiting for her.|
And now we just need Zoran to convince his older brother to go out with him next year.