Our son is registered to wrestle in the annual “Who’s Bad” tournament at the end of the month. He’s getting ready to face another giant, and he’ll emerge a winner no matter what. Because he’s been facing giants for pretty much his whole life, and he’s learned he can face a giant.
Our son faced emotional giants, because no one makes major life changes, especially at a young age, without being effected and having it move through life as part of your journey. Understanding and reconciling your past with your present and your future requires mental processing, but the emotional giants that loom in the path are a force to be reckoned with and not to be dismissed.
Our son faced academic giants, not because of students who were better than he, although they were there too, but academic giants in the form of challenges that he didn’t think he could conquer. But conquer he did, and he became the first person in his (biological) family to graduate from high school.
Our son faced physical giants. Due to his physique, he was slow and inflexible. Coming into his freshman year of high school he’d had little opportunity to develop any real athletic experience. He started playing football, and then, although he had never even stepped foot on a wrestling mat, at the persuasion of the head coach, he gave it a try. Through the encouragement of coaches and teammates, his love for wrestling grew. He faced numerous giants along the road. Unknown concepts and techniques, size and experience disadvantages, weight loss. His first year he didn’t win a match. More giants. Physical and mental discipline, strategies, learning to win. His sophomore year he won less than half of his matches. More giants. And he conquered. He was a state qualifier his junior and senior years, and participated in many off-season tournaments, as well as began training and competing in jiu jitsu.
When our son was home for Thanksgiving, he asked if we still had his matches. Did we still have his matches?! How many did he want to see?! He spent quite some time navigating through various video files. Records of his conquering. Reminiscing about different tournaments, each one had significance. One particular match we recalled with much laughter. It was at a jiu jitsu tournament during his senior year. Due to the way they had the competition structured, our son ended up in a class with adults of combined weights. When his match was called, as he came to the mat I could see his eyes all but pop from his head. Yet at the same time, this young man remained composed and confident. Entering the mat from the other side was his opponent, all 6’ and 300+ pounds of him (our son weighed in around 170 at 5’7”). Talk about a giant! We held our breath. And our son conquered.
Not only once, but twice when he met this same opponent again in the finals. Oh, the many memories and pride I could share just around wrestling stories!
Giants continued to be faced in his post-education life. Following high school graduation, he went to work. After trying electrical work and deciding it wasn’t for him, he entered the ranching world. I can only imagine the giants he faced there, day after long day, year-round weather conditions, and all else that goes with it. Then he faced his next giant of taking a position with a competitive, well-known, large building materials company. And he’s conquering there as he faces giants, as we all do, just being an adult.
What impresses me most, though, is the whole thing of facing a giant. As I think back over the eight years I have known our son, I realize how much he has taught me. About him, about others, about life and about myself. Not just in the good, fun and exciting times—the games and tournaments, learning to drive, graduation, and the myriad of experiences—but in the quiet times, the mundane times, the tough times. I know there are giants he faced that we don’t even know about. Probably a lot during the first fourteen years of his life, and certainly many since then. Some giants he may not have conquered, but he faced them.
Whatever it was that caused me to think about our son’s “Who’s Bad” registration, my mind went down a bit of memory lane. And then the thought occurred to me…what are my giants? Do I face my giants with the tenacity and confidence?