A disclaimer. This is nothing like the twisted, complicated, cinematic brother- training-brother relationship in the fascinating movie, "The Fighter," . This is real and their relationship is cleaner. And I am nothing like the chain-smoking mom.
But the movie had it right in a basic way. Wrestling is not just about mothers and sons, fathers and sons, but brothers. My oldest son, Weldon-- in from college for holiday break-- has been training and coaching his youngest brother, Colin at tournaments, in practice in the wrestling room.
True, they have been wrestling each other in the basement, living room, family room, hallway and stairs (can't make that up) since they could all walk, but this is different. This is an older brother passing down his expertise to help his youngest brother shine.
My sons are not alone in this. Patrick Woulfe has been helping to coach his youngest brother, Michael, while Patrick is home from college.
It's a refreshing sight.
No one takes the place of their beloved Coach Mike Powell. He is the heart, soul and fire of the Oak Park-River Forest Huskies team, and his words matter more to them than anyone's. That is a guarantee. But I feel it helps enormously to know you have more people on your side as you walk through life-- whether it is in a sport or any moment of every day. And brothers matter enormously.
It takes a wrestling family to raise a wrestler. We were all there to cheer Weldon when he was on the mat, his hand so often in the air for his victories. We were there to cheer Brendan when he was competing. He just told me he could hear me screaming over the directives of Coach Powell.
Brendan says I screamed, "Up, up, up," a lot. And "Oh yeah." And "No, no, no, no." He said he could tell how he was doing not only by his movements and his opponent's, but by my screeches from the stands.
For this upcoming year and the rest of this wrestling season, I wish for Colin continued success on and off the mat. Because the whole family will be on his side. It's his turn.