One Wrestling Mom’s Idea of Fun: Essay by Caryn Brooks

Michele Weldon | June 12, 2011

Watch more video of World Team Trials 2011 on flowrestling.org

It’s Saturday night and I have the rare opportunity to do whatever I want. My three sons are all young adults and elsewhere at this point in their lives. You might think I’d pull out that romance novel I’ve been looking forward to (yes, I know they are trashy, but I love them) or put on a chick flick I haven’t been able to watch.

But no, I have a better guilty pleasure in mind, wrestling. Not just any wrestling, the 2011 U.S. World Team Trials streamed live from Oklahoma City. In Greco Roman and freestyle our country’s best wrestlers put on a great display, but the most anticipated matches were in freestyle at 84 kilos or 185.5 pounds (coincidently the same weight at which my youngest son Sam wrestles).

Cael Sanderson, Olympic gold medalist, NCAA champion and head coach of the national champion Penn State Nittany Lions, was inducted into the Wrestling Hall of Fame one day and took to the mats to make his comeback the next. After 6 years away would it be too late? Just days shy of his 32nd birthday would he be too old?

Not Too Late, Not Too Old
Cael Sanderson won a mini tournament. He would have to win 2 out of 3 matches against World silver medalist and 2 time NCAA champion Jake Herbert to get a spot on the World Team. Herbert is 24 years old. In his corner is Coach Sean Bormet, a man I have seen in the corner for Sam since he was 10 years old.

The matches were high energy, lots of action and great scrambles. This was experience versus youth, David versus Goliath, the legend Sanderson versus the up-and-coming Herbert. This time experience prevailed and Sanderson will represent the U.S. with the other World team members in September in Istanbul, Turkey. When he does I will put down that romance novel and watch.

Ulterior Motive?
I say I watch because I can’t help myself, I love wrestling and I do. But maybe deep down I have an ulterior motive. Sam wants to compete at that level one day and I want to support him. So I watch to see what it takes, how good you really have to be. Sam will get his first chance to wrestle on the world stage in August when he represents the U.S. at 84K in freestyle at the Cadet World Championships in Szombathely, Hungary. Thankfully Cael Sanderson is too old for that tournament!

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