Then she quit.
Yep. Just as the new season was beginning, she informed me that she no longer wished to wrestle. It was a Monday evening, about an hour before I was to pick her up for practice. "Dad, I don't think I want to wrestle anymore." I immediately called her phone and she didn't pick up. So I texted back, "Take tonight off and we will talk tomorrow."
My kneejerk reaction, I am a bit embarrassed to admit, was to begin composing my speech about discipline vs laziness, courage vs fear and gratitude vs entitlement. All valid topics for our tete-a-tete, most would agree. I have been her coach for her whole 6 year career and have poured thousands of hours and dollars into her development. I have traveled all over the country and sent her all over the world. Other coaches have given her even more training, without the paternal pride as incentive. The club had organized this extraordinary summer training tour for her and her peers. Certainly she must understand that she owes us all for that, right?
When Katy and I sat down the following afternoon, with all of those arguments well rehearsed, I opened my mouth to begin. And something happened. Instead of unloading as intended, I found myself simply asking,
Katy's eyes welled with tears as she answered.
"Dad, I was 8 when I started wrestling and it turned out I was pretty good at it. Then, over the next several years I had a lot of fun and loved being coached by you and Bob and Butch and everyone, and especially loved traveling with the team to tournaments. And as I had more success, it was great knowing everyone was so proud of me and I didn't mind focusing more and more on wrestling as it really was "my sport". But I was also starting to enjoy, and find myself to be pretty good at, other sports. Baseball, soccer, flag football. And even though I couldn't try out for the high school basketball team, I really want to coach the little kids basketball league and stay involved in that sport. I missed most of my baseball season this summer, and really want to try out for volleyball this year, which I can't do if I wrestle. I know there are awesome opportunities, especially to travel to international tournaments, but I am already worried I would have to miss out on other adventures like the band trip to Australia next year. This summer I heard a lot about "focus" and "getting to that next level", and it just seemed to me that I would be giving up more than I would be gaining, and realized that wrestling really isn't as important to me as I thought. I hope you understand."
For just a minute I was speechless. Then I was so grateful that I had not gone first, which would have caused her reply to be framed by my admonishments. Finally, I found myself in a familiar spot ... so intensely proud of my beautiful, intelligent, awesome daughter.
"Good for you, Katy. I love you and I am proud of you and I look forward to cheering you on in all of those other pursuits."
And that was it. She was done.
And I did cheer for her at every flag football game - where she was one of the league's leading scorers, eventually playing both offense and defense and kick returns. I love watching her coach 7-9 year olds in basketball. I was delighted to hear that she completed her first ever 5km run in 22:47 (about 30 seconds faster than my PR). And I was not surprised when she brought home her report card with a 97% in Phys Ed.
She did try out for volleyball, despite having not ever played before, and did not make the team. I was concerned she would be devastated, but she laughed it off as a "good try" and promptly signed up for the alpine ski team instead.
I am still coaching wrestling, and it IS a bit weird not having a kid of my own there. But I will know where to find them this winter ... on either side of me on the chairlift <3
Some pictures from Katy's wrestling career ... :)
Katy w/Jack and Lauryn with a Golden Sweep at Canada East
A familiar perch, atop the podium.
With Dad at Provincials in Thunder Bay
Sprained Thumb (Team Tough Girl Award 2 yrs straight!)
Banged up nose ... we got used to it ;)
The Pin! Timely win for Provincial Gold!!
Katy atop the Provincial Podium (after her first,
and only, win over the wonderful Hannah Remillard)
Big hugs even though Hannah has the Gold this time!
Beast Mode at Provincials
In Charge at High School Provincials
Second at Nationals (to another awesome Remillard, Sarah)
Very Proud Mum :)
National Team Singlet
Waiting for opponent at Pan Ams in Mexico
The Pan Am Team!
Adventures in Europe
Training Camp in Europe!
ALWAYS A CHAMPION TO ME ...
My beautiful daughter away from the mat ...