Saturday, January 12, 2019


My great niece is four, stands over three feet tall, and weighs about thirty-eight pounds. Her big brother is nine, more than four feet tall, and weighs in excess of eighty pounds. My niece wrestles outside of her weight class . . . age group, and gender. Her big brother is her favorite unsuspecting opponent when she is overcome by the desire to throw someone to the floor and sit on them. Little sisters tend to be that way sometimes.

Last year, wrestling was added to the list of sports my great nephew has tried. No one is quite sure how he came to be enrolled in the sport. He doesn’t recall signing up for the team, nor do his parents remember adding him to the roll. However, since his name did appear on the final list, he decided to give it a try. What could be better than rolling around on a spongy mat while another guy tries to bend you into a pretzel. For the most part, I think he enjoyed the wrestling experience. He has had some prior involvement with it, on a completely informal level. He has a little sister and she likes wrestling him to the floor. I didn’t know how skilled she was at it until last week.

Little sister was obviously paying attention during those wrestling practices she attended with her brother and her parents. She picked up some good tips on how to take down and pin an opponent in a matter of seconds. This week, she decided to test that knowledge.

She’s little, but she’s fierce. Her older brother realized the same thing when his younger sister grabbed him by the legs and dragged him off the couch. Thud. Before long she had him chewing carpet fibers, his face pinned flat against the floor.

He incorrectly thought he would have a moment to collect himself after she let go of him the first time, but that was only a preview of what was to come. He was able to get back up on his knees. She then pounced on him again, from a different angle, and he collapsed to the floor. It was obvious he wasn’t putting his whole effort into the grudge match. He could have easily tossed her off, but he was trying to exercise some caution. I credit him for his compassion. Too bad he couldn’t expect the same from her. He broke her hold and she backed off across the room. He was trying to get up when she charged him again. She had to get a run at him, otherwise it would have been like a cotton ball bouncing off of a brick wall. The momentum worked. Thud. He was face down on the floor again.

During the match, there was a lot of giggling getting squeezed out of both wrestlers. Not something you hear from professional wrestlers. Usually you hear a lot of grunting, and then the real acting starts. I think big brother was as surprised by his sister’s determination as much as he was by her skill.

Big brother finally had enough. Compassion went out the window because little sister was becoming more strategic by the second and he didn’t know which gambit she would use next. There was all-out laughter when he caught her and pinned her to the ground, only to let her up again so they could start all over. After several minutes, most of the laughter was coming from me. There was also a dash of concern in there somewhere, that my nephew might not be able to walk well when his little sister was done tying his legs into knots. At one point he yelped when she attempted to bend his foot in a direction it was never intended to go. He rallied and had her on the floor next. They were having a lot of fun. Little sister’s hair stood straight out on end because of the static electricity they were generating, and the sight of her only added to their amusement.

The battle lasted about twenty minutes, long after their dad returned home from work. As no one was screaming, crying, or bleeding, he made no effort to stop the match. My nephew finally managed to pin his little sister to the floor again, while she was distracted saying hello to daddy. She was a good sport about it and soon wriggled out of his clutches. The wiry ones are tough to keep down. Their father took a more analytical view of the event and began to give his son a few tips on how to improve his chances of winning. They didn’t work. Little sister was determined that victory would be hers.

Finally, exhausted, brother and sister sat in the middle of the living room to rest, before big
This is not my niece, but I liked the photo.
Edited from original photo by Diana Fiel,
@diana_f on
brother ventured off to the kitchen to get a drink of water. His sister decided it was time to exchange sports for art. She sprang to her feet and took off running toward her bedroom. She shut the door, all was quiet, and several minutes later she reappeared wearing a sparkly shirt, tutu, a pair of tights, ruffled socks, and her kitty-cat slippers. She fluttered about the living room like a butterfly just released from its cocoon, pirouetting here, pliƩing there, leaping and kicking her legs as high as she could until she was dizzy.

I was given to wonder. Was the wrestling match just her warm-up exercise for the dance recital we were treated to next?

Susan Cronk is the author of multiple fiction and nonfiction books, and the author of several personal essays. You will find more information about writing projects at her website, on Facebook and on Google+. She occasionally contributes personal essays, such as this one, to publications willing to print them and bring a little humor into their readers' lives.

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