Girls Wrestle

“Your daughter wrestles?!”

Yes, yes she does. 

Wrestling is a sport that is near and dear to our families hearts. The benefits that one obtains through being a wrestler go much further then the short-term and help lay a foundation for the long-term. 

Too often, people are concerned that having a girl wrestler will not be fair or will change the social view of this girl. I won’t lie, some of this is true and some of it isn’t. For example, you can be a “girlie girl” that loves makeup and still be a beast on the mat. You don’t have to be “masculine” to wrestle. In the same breath, as girls wrestling is in it’s growth stage you may see a lot more boys/girls mixed brackets and being the mother of a boy I have seen him question if he’s allowed to go “all out” when wrestling against a girl. Thankfully, he has his sister to practice with and we encourage them to do their best regardless as well as to win humbly and lose with grace. 

Wrestling has the ability to be an individual and a team sport. This is a two-fold win that is also seen in other sports such as gymnastics. As a parent, these were 2 requirements discussed with my husband regarding child-rearing. I was adamant that we have them in either 2 sports, an individual AND a team, OR 1 sport that achieved both of these requests. 
Why does it matter? In my opinion, the various gains from both differ quite a bit and give a much more well rounded foundation for the child to transition into adulthood. 
Individually, this sport enhances girls confidence as well as their drive, ambition and social skills. The main focus of the match is equal parts body strength and mental strength. The ability to adapt and overcome in less than 1 minute and 30 seconds is beyond astounding. So while the girls are increasing their mental strength, the physical strength comes in right along with it. When they step on that mat, it is just them, their mental strength and physical strength and their opponent. They must fight with every tear, all the sweat and exhaustion. Each and every match there is growth in the athlete. This lays a solid foundation for the girl to not “depend” on anyone, but to also learn to listen and trust their own gut/intuition as well as that of their teammates and coaches. 
The team aspect of the sport allows the girls to encourage/be encouraged by fellow teammates. They can practice and study moves with one another while still maintaining a team morale to push each individual to their highest potential. Look around the mat, it is very rare to find a girl youth wrestler that doesn’t have teammates surrounding and helping her train mentally and physically. The girls are submerged in this “community” and “family” and the way the clubs are set up you can’t help but be proud. 

So why does any of this matter? What’s the benefit, mom? 

My daughter is PROUD that she weighs more than 10 pounds more than her older brother. My daughter SMILES her biggest smiles when she’s about to start her match and the nerves and fright of previous sports are not overwhelming her. She is constantly lifted up by peers, coaches, opponents, refs and more that she is STRONG and she is BEAUTIFUL. This is why this matters!!

As a young athlete myself, I was always self-conscious and struggled with self-confidence significantly (and still do to this day.) I believe the benefit is that she is obviously pursuing something she loves, but even more so, she is mentally laying a solid and CONFIDENT foundation for her future. She is faced with adversity and can only bridge so far before that second shoulder touches the mat but when she gets her first pin, her first takedown, her first cross face… watch the fire in her eyes. The feeling of being able to do what you once thought was not possible and then seeing the switch is easily one of the most amazing feelings as a mother. 
I am not ignorant to what’s out there in this world. I am confident and happy though that our daughter is learning to be a fighter, learning she can depend on herself just as much as she can her teammates/coaches for mental strength and that she is physically beautiful, not based on a number on the scale, but based on the strength she shows each time she gets on that mat. 

Being a girl wrestler is a blessing and is a sport that is only going to continue to open up for our girls. Let your girl get on the mat! Let them be pioneers and lead the girls wrestling era. There are many girl wrestlers already that are amazing role models.

Then let me know how your heart starts to drop when she comes running into your room saying “Where’s the scale?! I need to weigh myself!” as an impressionable preteen. Then she jumps on and says “Mom!!! I’m 85 pounds!!! Yessss!!! Tommy’s only 76!” Then, let me know how loud the sigh is and how quickly the fear turns into a smile and you realize that you’re raising your daughter in a sport that is concerned with weight but you are training her early on the importance of self confidence, mental strength and physical strength! Good job Mama! You’re doing great!

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