I can’t go into details, because the details still make me sick to my stomach. And the tears are too blinding to write through… if I let myself think of the details. And I know for many of you that won’t make sense.
But, it’s over. He’s done. That’s what you need to know.
And I wish I could take out my heart, and give it to him, to spare him from the ache that must be in his right now. I wish I could stand behind him, and hold up his head as he walks, because the weight of disappointment and disbelief is just too much for him to do it on his own right now.
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve screamed over the last 12 or so years, “pick your head up!!! head up!!! head. UP” as he laid on the mat struggling for position. We used to tease him that his big ol’ head must be too heavy to keep off the mat. And last night, when I passed him on the street as he left the arena, I found myself wanting to run to him, wrap him in my arms, and tell him all over again.
Pick your head up, baby. Because you’ve done so much to be proud of. I remember watching you when you were still too young to speak clearly… but you could throw a headlock with the grace and poise of someone twice your age.
I will remember that. And I’ll remember how you always held out your hand to help your opponent up. I will remember how many times I saw you collapse into your opponent’s arms when the match was over, congratulating one another on a battle well fought. I will remember you shaking the hands of the other kid’s dad… and later, of their coaches. I will remember that I never saw you throw a headgear, or slam a wall, or kick a chair… and not for lack of frustration or disappointment. But because you have strength, and courage, and… surprisingly enough… tact.
I hate that what you learned last night was that there are some arguments you can not only not win – but not argue. I hate that you learned about unfairness. I fear that you’ll be saddled with regrets and what if’s.
I wish I could take all of that from you… but, I can’t. If I could alleviate the ache in your chest for even a moment, just a moment of reprieve, I would.
I hate that you must have felt alone last night – that you probably still feel alone now. I wish that I could give you an entire army of support, the way it used to be when you were so much younger. But you’ve gotten used to fighting your own battles, with little more than a merry, but small, band of stragglers following you along.
We would follow you, merrily, to the very ends of the earth. Because you’ve inspired us. You’ve allowed us to live vicariously through you and accomplish things we’d never even thought to dream for. You’ve shown more guts by being willing to put yourself out there, to take a chance, over and over again then many of us… especially me… could ever imagine. You have embodied the catch phrase, “No Guts. No Glory” for us.
Please know this. Know how proud we are of you. Know how much you are loved and respected and even admired. Know how much you deserve in life. Know how much YOU have to be proud of. Please, know that you have earned the right to stand tall, and walk with your shoulders back. KNOW this, baby… HEAR ME when I tell you, you’re worthy.