South Dakota Region 1 AAU Tournament, 3/10/18

I will always find joy and take pride in watching my children do what they love. Barring the occasional off day, they always try their hardest and even if they don’t achieve their goals, they learn something from trying. Rarely do things get overly competitive, with them usually choosing the recreational route when it comes to sports, which helps alleviate pressure.

Then there’s wrestling.

By nature Tucker is a highly competitive kid, but it’s surprising how easily the rest of us will get swept up in it, too. This year in particular has been good for Tucker; he’s tackled each meet head-on, picking up on the nuances of the sport while discovering what works for him. He’s learning (and sometimes has to be reminded of) the fact that each match is its own beast and you don’t know what’s going to happen. He should expect the unexpected. Except for Grandma screaming her little heart out – that’s gonna happen every time!

Beyond discovering another layer to wrestling, Tucker’s track record has been nothing but solid this year. Which leads us to what has been (up to this point) a most tense and exhilarating return to the South Dakota Region 1 Tournament. Last year both he and Breckin made it to this same tournament, only to find out that the competition was extremely tough. This year Tuck went in with a better understanding as well as a better opportunity, as this year Region 1 got to send an extra kid to the state level this year.

His odds were good, but he had to start the tournament against a kid from Wall he hadn’t wrestling beyond a scrimmage match at camp last year. It was a hard fought battle…but he lost. Luckily he’s a very determined kid and just kept his eyes on the prize, but Carrie had to giggle because of course he couldn’t take the easy road! He’d never get a chance for first or second, but he could work his way back into the top four.

The next round was against a teammate, which is always tough, but he quickly pinned him which put the wind back in his sails. After this (and a mix up by me as to who he was to wrestle next) he took on another kid he had no experience with from Harding County, to which he held on and beat by points. This in itself was exciting, as we knew he was on his way to the state tourney in Sioux Falls! But this wasn’t even the match of the day.

As he had worked so hard to scrabble his way back, his placing would be determined by wrestling the kid that had beat him earlier! Both boys were very evenly matched so skill wasn’t going to be the determining factor, but rather than being spooked by having to take on the same boy again Tucker saw it as an opportunity for redemption. Just like before, they were neck-and-neck, but in the end Tucker had managed to get the pin and take third place! Rarely showing his emotions on the mat, he threw his arms up in both victory and relief, a moment none of us will ever forget! You could see his smile from across the gym as he walked off.

At this point I think we all made huge sighs of relief, content with knowing he made it to the next level. We’ve all set our expectations reasonably for the state tournament, as we know that every match could be his last and east river’s reputation precedes them. The victory is in knowing that through perseverance he’s made it to the next level and he’s proud of that, which is all you could hope for as a parent.

See you in Sioux Falls in a couple of weeks!

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