My Son, the Athlete, Begins His College Search: How Wrestling has Taught Him Determination, Motivation, Tenacity, and Honor

College athlete
My son, an accomplished wrestler, begins his college search.

I cannot believe these words are actually coming out of my mouth!  It seems like only yesterday he was born.  This is my baby boy…my baby.

It seems like only yesterday we were in this park, enjoying the simplest things in life.

My baby is not such a baby anymore.  He will always be my baby though!  Abe…that’s my baby.  For my kids, skipping college has never been an option.  College is viewed as a normal stop in their futures–rather, present for Sarah, my daughter.

Years ago, I began goal-setting with the kids, in relation to their close future and distant future.  Naturally, they came up with some silly ideas at first.  As time passed–or rather, flew!–, the ideas matured as the kids did.  In middle school, Abe found his passion:  wrestling.

He actually won several matches his first year.  I will never forget the first time he slammed a kid.  I had videoed him, and after watching the video maybe the 5th time, Abe said, “Now that’s John Cena style!”  For those of you who don’t know John Cena, he is a professional wrestler for the WWE.  This excited him so much that he fell in love with the sport!  We had only signed him up to help him in football.  This was in 7th grade.

As Abe entered the 8th grade, he began wrestling year round, wrestling Olympic styles, Freestyle and Greco, during the spring and eventually summer.  By his freshman year in high school, Abe was competing in national tournaments every summer, travelling to Pennsylvania and North Dakota.

tenacity, motivation, determination
From his freshman year in high school, Abe began wrestling in national tournaments every summer.

And each year before a season begins, he now sets his goal for that season.  His freshman year his goal was to go to state with his high school team.  He did!  That summer he worked so hard training with the nationals team, preparing for Fargo and preparing for the next school season.

Abe began to meet wrestlers from all over the state and the country and became friends with many.  The year before Abe began wrestling at our high school, we lost one of our own.  Matt Walters, an amazing athlete, student, friend, and son, was killed in an auto accident not too far from his home.  Our team honors Matt in many ways.  One is in a shirt that says, “Walk Like Walters.”

Abe honors fallen wrestler, Matt Walters, in Atlanta as he competes for the Southeast Regional title.

When I looked at Abe’s back and realized what he had on, I beamed with pride at the honor Abe showed in such a special place.  Matt never had this opportunity.  Abe takes his memories with him around the country.

Sophomore year Abe set a goal of placing at state; he placed 4th in the state, with a strong record.  This was not good enough for Abe.  He trained hard for nationals again and came home with a winning record…finally.

Junior year, his goal was to win state.

My baby was in the state finals!

Abe, walking out onto the mat of the Macon Coliseum, for the state finals.

He made it to the finals, but the title was not to be his this year.  He was unhappy for the loss.

Abe, on the podium, accepting the honor of state runner-up.

This was a blow for Abe.

Before he was all about wrestling in college. 

His tune changed.  Upset about failure, he considered giving up his dreams….just for a moment.  When I began making appointments for college visits for him, he returned back to normal, ready to fight again.  His training began almost instantly.  He watched the finals’ video, analyzing exactly what he had done wrong….what edge he had allowed the kid to have over him.  He vowed to never let that be the reason he lost again.

About a week ago, I had Abe attend a preview day at our local college.  He spent time with college wrestlers and other college kids; he regained his confidence.  He is now excited about his first visit to a Division 1 university.

Abe is an average student.  He is much smarter than his grades show.  He is an awesome test-taker.  Above all, he is an accomplished athlete.  Wrestling has not overshadowed Abe’s education.  Rather, it has developed the best of character in a young man.  Character of





This character will guide Abe to success, for he will never give up.

He believes he can do anything!  And he will!

Dream big, set goals, and take action!

This weekend is the next road on the journey to his dreams.  This is the action part.  Let’s do this, son!

Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.

*This blog is dedicated to Matt Walters, who now rides on the wings of angels.  Matt, who never had the opportunities Abe has had.  We will always remember and honor Matt and thank the Lord for allowing us a new opportunity each day.  If only we all lived like we were dying!*

On a final note, when Abe was a very young boy–maybe 4 years old–his favorite song to sing on the way to school every day was “Live Like You Were Dying.”  He doesn’t remember that, but I do .  He does live life in that way….still!

More to come after the visit….

All the best,


Song of Sapelo Sunset


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6 Tools to Help Your College Child Thrive


collegechild pin

My oldest son has been married and has lived in New England for years, but this year I lost another child to adulthood.  This has definitely grayed my hair more, as it was my daughter growing up and moving out.  Daughters are just different.  Transitioning from being the parent of a teen to the parent of an adult presented many challenges with Sarah.  Put it this way…my vacation this year was a week spent in Savannah, Georgia, moving her into Savannah College of Art and Design, an elite art school on the coast of Georgia.  Not a bad place to vacation.

When I moved her to Savannah, however, I thought she was an adult and would handle things on her own.  Little did I know!  The cord was not entirely cut!

Through this experience with my daughter, I learned the following necessary skills a successful college student needs in his/her “toolbelt” in order to truly be successful:

Genuine Problem Solving Skills

Yes, teachers attempt to instill this in their students. However, ultimately, parents can instill this skill more effectively through real life problems, such as grocery shopping and making money stretch.  I have heard stories of college kids stressing out over long dining hall lines.  My daughter’s retort: “Go at another time!

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  • Clothes washing—Some adult children do not know how to wash their own clothes! I cannot imagine!  This is a must in our household from the beginning of high school.

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  • Basic cleaning skills—Some college students and their parents think that the college has a cleaning service. NOT!  There’s no more Mommy picking up after little Johnny.  I have a 16-year-old son, whose room will truly make you gag at times; he’s a wrestler, so his clothes can stink up the room quick!  His room is his responsibility, though, and he cleans it.  My children have chores as soon as they are old enough to understand.  A home is a place where everyone has responsibilities.  Even my son cleans dishes by hand!  One day he will make a great roommate and an awesome husband!
  • Budgeting—This is a skill I am working on with my daughter. She is not horrible at this, but she can definitely use some coaching.  Some college kids think that money  will just fall into their laps.  Thankfully, my daughter has had jobs and has been given financial responsibilities.  One of the greatest gifts we can give our kids is responsibility. If they grow up with everything being handed to them, they will think that’s how life works.  WAKEUP CALL!  It’s not!  When our kids get cars, they each pay a certain amount monthly, in order to keep the car.  When my son has traveled to national competitions, he has raised the funds himself through sponsorships.  I never made a call for him.


  • Time Managements Skills—We all wish we had more time in the day. Time management can make or break a college student.  If a student is not accustomed to managing events on his/her own, managing classes, studying, washing clothes, and just normal day to day activities can become overwhelming.  Let’s face it: it’s their first time away from home, and they just don’t know what to do with themselves!  FREEDOM, they scream!  We did it when we first went away from home.  Naturally, our kids will too.  Managing time can be as simple as using the calendar app on a smartphone.

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  • Basic Health Knowledge— Amidst getting used to freedom away from their parents, college students often lose sight of taking care of their health.  I sent Sarah to college with multivitamins; we restock every time she comes home. Vitamins ward off lots of illnesses that are passed around in communal living- quarters like college dorms.   When do you go to the emergency room?  Not every illness requires a costly ER visit.  I stock my daughter up on the normal over the counter meds: Ibuprofen, allergy tablets, antacid, etc.  A bad case of indigestion can be solved easily and less expensively with antacid than with an ER visit.

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Each of these points seems like common sense and that our kids will just figure it out.  However, they don’t!  Parents are entrusted with preparing their kids to live as successful, thriving adults.  Each of these skills, that are easily taught and reinforced from a young age, can prevent lots of heartache and stress.

Here’s to all the moms, helping their college kids excel!


All the best,


Song of Sapelo Sunset

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