A Father’s Letter to His Son


You had a tough time on the mat today and the ride home was pretty quiet.  I admit I was very disappointed but I later came to realize that I shouldn’t be and that it is all part of the journey you are taking.

When I watch you on the mat I worry that you are doing battle while unprepared and that I have failed in your preparation.  As a father that is my greatest fear, that you are unprepared to face the challenges that will come before you.  I want you to be prepared for your match, but I’ve come to realize that it is the matches themselves that, are in the long run, win or lose, the things that ARE preparing you.

I think that the greatest benefit from wrestling is learning to face challenges and to demand the most from yourself.  You learn to fight when you think there is no more fight left within you.  You learn to get up after you’ve fallen, time and time again.  You learn about sacrifice and about pain.  You learn to endure and to overcome.  This is what I want for you, not because I wrestled, but because these lessons are the true gifts of this sport.   So, those losses today were actually part of this gift, and an important part of the journey.

My dream for you is to not just win championships and fill your room with medals. My dream for you is much greater and I hope you get much more from wrestling. I hope you learn to strive for greatness even if you fail in the attempt. I hope you learn to get up one more time when you think you can’t get up any longer. I hope you learn to not only face your fears, but to stare them down.
Wrestling isn’t about winning. It is about the desire to win. It isn’t about success, but rather the determination to succeed. I want you to succeed as a wrestler, not to win state championships, but I want you to be a successful wrestler so you learn to be all that you can. This sport can help teach you that, if you let it. I look forward to the seasons of our future as you go through these lessons and I’ll be in your corner for each and every one of them.

I love you.

*note – this is an actual letter I had written to my own son.  I’ve included it into the book after having such a positive response to the letter from another blog.


11 Responses to A Father’s Letter to His Son

  1. Mary Asher says:

    Okay Allen you made me cry again- I am so looking forward to reading the entire book. mary

  2. Misty says:

    Tears first thing this morning? Very awesome. We have one tournement left before regionals and state.

  3. George Keeney, official says:

    If all parents would take this approach each child would be a success on the mat, but more importantly a success in life. Winning and losing does not measure success, but fighting thru tough situations and continuing to try speak volumes!!

  4. Kristi says:

    I came across this letter while searching for camps for my son this summer. As a wrestling mom, it gets tough to see the tension so often between your son and his father, and you begin to wonder if dad really knows what your 12 year old is going through on that mat and how hard he struggles in practice. But when I read this letter, still sobbing and barely typing, I have been hit with a realization that dad’s vision is set not only from the present competition before us but with a vision of what his son is soon to become in a world full of challenges and lessons to be learned. I have bought your book and plan to buy a copy for all the wrestlers in our elite club. Thank you for spelling out what so many dad’s can’t put into words!

  5. myownveritas says:

    Kristi – thank you for your kind words and I am so very glad that my words touched you in some way. I wish the best of luck to your son and your family and all your future season on the mat.

  6. Shelly says:

    WOW, you very eloquently put into words what my husband and I so believe about wrestling but struggle to explain. Athletics are a practice period for dealing with so many difficult things life throws at each of us. I can’t wait to read this book!!!

  7. Melissa Laramy says:

    Your letter brought tears to my eyes. It’s a shame all fathers dont feel the same and see that it’s not the medal that’s important, it’s the fight and the resolve that got them there in the first place. Great life lessons are learned just by trying. My son reached the state finals twice in his high school wrestling career, placing 8th and 6th…due to an injury, wasnt able to continue. He made me proud and it broke my heart for him because he wanted so much more. Something other than criticism from his father wouldve been welcome. Thank you for letting us know that not all fathers are focused on the victory on the mat but the result that wrestling makes in our sons lives. I applaud you for sharing.

  8. myownveritas says:

    Thanks Melissa. I think fathers only want to see their children succeed and moreover, for their sons to become men. We fear for them, and want for them, and our criticisms are only a reflection of how much we care and worry.

  9. Cliff Fretwell says:

    Great stuff man! I wish more fathers took this same approach.

  10. myownveritas says:

    Wow – thanks Cliff. I’m flattered that you read it and took the time to comment.

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