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Devlyn Brooks, Published November 09 2010

Parenting Perspectives: Son may experience a smackdown letdown

I’m afraid my youngest son, whom we call Bug, may set a record for the shortest amateur wrestling career in history.

By the time you read this, he may have attended his first, and only, Moorhead Youth Wrestling practice.

And it didn’t come any too soon. If I would have had to preach patience to the young lad any longer, he might have popped, literally exploded from anticipation.

But now that the season has arrived, my newest fear is that he’ll be kicked out before the end of the first practice.

I blame TV, really.

The problem is that with any other sport, there are enough televised contests that by the time a kid reaches age 8, they’ve seen how a sport is played. Any kid who joins a youth basketball, football, baseball or hockey team has seen it a hundred times on TV.

But then there is amateur wrestling. Not many wrestling competitions on TV, now are there? Well, of course, except for all-star or professional wrestling. And therein lies the problem.

My son has seen only one amateur wrestling match, a North Dakota State University Bison dual a couple of years ago. But he’s seen all the all-star wrestling a kid can handle. That’s about one of the most important things in life at that age, and that’s been his exposure to wrestling.

About a month ago, during a moment he could hardly contain his excitement, he asked, “Dad, when do I get to fight?”

“What?” I asked, perplexed.

“You know, when does wrestling start?” he said.

“Oh, wrestling … well, soon,” I said. “But Bug, you know you don’t fight in wrestling … right?”

He flashed me a quizzical look.

“Wrestling isn’t like what you see on TV,” I said. “You don’t run around smacking people down and jumping off ropes.”

Yet an even more dumbfounded look came across his face.

“Then what do you do?” he asked.

“Well, the coaches will teach you wrestling moves,” I said. “You’ll learn to escape from your opponent, and how to take them to the ground and how to pin them. There are no ropes around the ring, and there are absolutely no smackdowns.”

“I don’t get it,” he said.

“OK, you might not get it now, but the coaches will teach you what to do,” I said. “You still interested?”

“Yeah,” he said, giving me a look like I was trying to hoodwink him. “I’ll check it out.”

The Bug’s first practice was Monday night, and I fear that his wrestling career may end before this column even hits the press.

The first time he goes off the top turnbuckle and nails Little Johnny with a flying elbow might be all she wrote.

Devlyn Brooks works for Forum Communications Co. He lives in Moorhead with his two sons.