I’ve been fortunate enough to live a very enjoyable life to this point. A lot of my success I’ve attributed to wrestling, as a lot of wrestlers tend to do. Let’s not spend too much of this article going through all of the life lessons the sport teaches you, but a brief refresher should suffice. Confidence, work ethic, physical fitness, mental toughness, physical and mental agility, perseverance, and humility. All of those I can directly contribute to this sport. However, without my Mother, Linda Claunch, I would not have made it past the first month or so of my Freshman year of High School.
It was tough. I was for sure the fourth guy in the 125 weight class, and as fate would have it, the top three guys went down due to injury, ring worm, issues with weight, or all of the above. I ended up wrestling far above my talent level for the majority of the season, and as a result, got absolutely destroyed in practice and matches. I asked to quit. Multiple times. Like, all the time. Linda wouldn’t let me. I don’t necessarily remember any conversations around what I would learn, or how I would grow from this experience. I do remember it simply not being allowed. At some point, you quit asking and accept your fate. As soon as I did, and decided to commit myself to this experience, I began to have some success in the room, and eventually won a match. It may not sound like much, but that experience helped instill the pride I have in this sport, and the 21 years of enjoyment its given me since that freshman year of high school. I owe all of what I learned to her.
Enough about me. Linda Claunch is the reason I’m writing this. I mentioned the numerous attributes, and character traits that wrestling teaches, but my Mother taught me much more. Devotion, kindness, empathy, integrity, and a strong sense of personal responsibility. As a wrestling Mother, she attended each tournament and dual I had. Contributed with the families to ensure there was food and drink for the team. It was a great parental unit to have with our team, and with several other supportive families, we were able to go to each event without any concerns about whether or not we’d have food or Gatorade between matches. It’s not something that I, or the team, really appreciated as much as we probably should have at the time, but the commitment and expense that requires from the parents is huge.
Wrestling moms are a whole different breed. You see them at tournaments all the time. Not just the ones screaming from the bleachers, but the ones running the tournament from the scoring tables, announcing the matches, running concessions, taking pictures, etc… They are the backbone of the teams I’ve been a part of, and it’s important that they are recognized above and beyond the traditional responsibilities of being a Mother. Thanks to Linda Claunch for being my Mother, for not letting me quit, and her continued emotional and financial support throughout my wrestling career and personal life. She’s the best.