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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.
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.
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.”
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!
He made it to the finals, but the title was not to be his this year. He was unhappy for the loss.
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!
This weekend is the next road on the journey to his dreams. This is the action part. Let’s do this, son!
*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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