Holden won his VERY FIRST GOLD medal yesterday!
Holden, as I've posted before, is an avid youth wrestler in our local wrestling club and has been wrestling since March of 2009. At this point, some kids his age have already been wrestling for two to three years, so he's already a bit behind the punch to begin with. Add in his small size (he's only forty-six pounds at nearly eight years old) and he's at a big disadvantage when it comes to most matches. (At most, he's at the bottom of the weight bracket).
He's always done pretty good in most tournaments, but the most recent tournaments he's experienced a fair amount of anxiety and doesn't seem to wrestle his best or wrestle to win. Rather, he wrestles "not to lose". In fact, at one of his tournaments in December, he got so anxious and worked up, he walked off the mat. Now, I would normally not condone this behavior, and he did indeed realize he had made a mistake. Both myself and his father expressed our disappointment in him. Not necessarily for him not winning, but for all-out quitting. We all had a talk with him (his coach included) and told him that he's too good of a wrestler to just quit when he's not winning. Yes, he's sometimes going to win and sometimes going to lose. Not everyone is going to be easy to wrestle. You learn more from your mistakes than your wins, and become better from losing.
Anyways ..... he'd been really excited about this tournament. It was a rookie tournament where wrestlers cannot have had more than one year of experience (wrestling since September 2008) to participate and compete. We figured if any tournament was one he would do good in, this would be it. He even woke up Saturday morning proclaiming "I'm gonna win the gold medal. I'm gonna come in first!". We tried to assure him that it wasn't about winning; it was about going out and having fun and doing your best. But he was pretty insistent that he was going to win the gold medal.
So we get there and find out that there are four people in his weight group. (well, there were actually lots more, but they split the lower weights into lots of smaller groups instead of fewer, large groups). He had a very good chance of medaling at this point. The wrestlers were warming up and there were tons of people around. The good (or bad) thing was, we didn't know any of the kids Holden would be wrestling. This is good because he wasn't able to say "they beat me before!" but bad because we knew nothing about how good any of these wrestlers are.
At this point, Holden was still pretty insistent that he was going to win the gold. He was going to have three matches, and we told him all he had to do was win all three to win the gold! He went out for his first match and won ... by pinning the kid in the first period of the match. We told him one down, two to go! He wasn't showing ANY signs of anxiousness/nervousness as in previous tournaments and of course, now had a big boost to his self-confidence since he had won. We had a little wait for his second match and when it came around, he pinned that kid too, in the first period, again! :) At this point, we were all pretty excited (coaches, other teammates parents, and us) because we knew all he had to do was hold it together and he could WIN THIS THING! We went and grabbed some lunch and then sat around and watched some teammates wrestle. By the way ... a big, huge SHOUT-OUT to the Western Branch Bruins for their awesome wrestling yesterday! When it came time for Holden's third match... we told him all he had to do, was pin the kid, or win by points and he would indeed, get the GOLD MEDAL! He was pretty psyched (in a good way) and the coaches were joking around with him. He goes out on the mat, and by golly..... PINS THE LAST KID! He had WON (by pinning) all THREE KIDS he had to wrestle.... GOOOO Holden!! He was SO excited at this point and the one coach jokingly told Holden he had to share the medal with him. Holden kind of gave him a look like "Are you CrAzY?!" We sat around a bit watching some more of our club's kids wrestling and waited around to get Holden's medal. We had noticed earlier that they brought a podium in for the medal winners to stand on... talk about another huge self-esteem boost! He got up on that podium and had the biggest smile on his face! Rightfully so..... he deserved that gold medal!! Anyways..... we are very proud of our little guy..... and he's INCREDIBLY proud of his gold medal!
Below are some pictures from yesterday..... enjoy!