Emmett Kruse’s 10 year wrestling “career” ended yesterday as he attempted, unsuccessfully, to punch his ticket to the state wrestling tournament. He wrestled his heart out, as every wrestler did, but to no avail. Emmett finished the day with two wins and two losses. Many of his teammates faired well: Fort Madison is sending SEVEN wrestlers to the state tournament. We couldn’t be more proud of each and every one of them. The day was a roller coaster of emotions – so representative of this damn sport.
The Bloodhound Wrestling Family
Emmett has received lots encouraging words, hugs, and condolences from the amazing Bloodhound Wrestling family. We joined this family 13 years ago when Elton came home from school and announced that he wanted to join the FM Kids Wrestling Club. We reluctantly agreed, and had no idea at that time what a huge part of our lives wrestling would be. The sport is brutal (and gross, might I add!); it is incredibly tough, and incredibly rewarding. And that wrestling family – they make it all worth it.
All three of our boys benefitted from the coaching of some incredible people: Chris Pennock, Justin Schau, Mike Hayes, Andrew Cartwright, Luke Rickelman, Derek Doherty, and Ryan Smith. We will be forever grateful for their selfless dedication to the sport and to other people’s children. Coaches Ryan Smith and Derek Doherty have built a culture like none other for Fort Madison Bloodhound Wrestling. In addition, we are so grateful for Chuck Vandenberg’s dedicated coverage of the sport. He is a top-notch journalist, reporting with his whole heart on all local news. He spent the day in Bettendorf, sending out frequent updates for fans back at home.
In addition to those coaches and others who didn’t get a mention, are the other wrestlers and their families that are the only ones who truly “get it” when it comes to this sport. Jill Smith, Coach Smith’s wife, is a gem of a person. She cheers her heart out for every wrestler, and has done this for years. She welcomes everyone to the wrestling family, and forms important relationships with them. Her friendship has become one that I cherish. It’s so fun to share in celebrating their son Teague’s first trip to the state wrestling tournament as a district champion.
Yesterday, we watched two wrestlers get carried out of Bettendorf’s gymnasium on stretchers, heading to the hospital with what appeared to be very serious injuries. We were reminded: the day could have been much worse. We continue to send prayers to those two young men and their families. Things certainly could be much worse. As our community mourns the loss of West Point Mayor Paul Walker, as we worry about my mom’s health, as our world mourns the massive loss of life and devastation in Turkey and Syria, we continue to gain some perspective. We still get to own our disappointment, but we do get to keep things in perspective.
Yesterday was a tough day. As it turns out, the sun did come out today. Life will go on. Emmett is a better person because of this sport, and because of the people involved in it. He will head to Des Moines this week to cheer on his teammates. He will finish out his senior year, with an exciting and very undetermined future lying in front of him. Onward and upward.
“Two little words we don’t pay attention to: over and next… When something is over, it is over and we are on to the next. And I [Norman Lear] like to think about the hammock in the middle of those two words. That’s living in the moment. That’s the moment I believe I’m living as I complete this sentence. And it couldn’t be more important to me.” Norman Lear, NPR Morning Edition.