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They Call Me “Mama Z” They Call Me “Mama Z”
by CRISTINA ZANARINI | Liberty-Brentwood Wrestling/Football Parent Wrestling has been a part of our life for 11 years and football for 10. I am... They Call Me “Mama Z”

by CRISTINA ZANARINI | Liberty-Brentwood Wrestling/Football Parent

Wrestling has been a part of our life for 11 years and football for 10.

I am the proverbial “Sports Mom.” All four of my boys wrestle and have earned their varsity letter since their freshman year. They started playing football just one year behind wrestling. My warrior sons!

As special as football has been in our life, it just doesn’t compare to watching my boys wrestle. Wrestling has kept us close, kept my boys close; a bond like no other. We have had endless weekends at tournaments with all six of us holed up in a hotel room. They have traveled the country together for regionals and nationals. I cannot believe this is it “” the final season of high school wrestling!

Next year, I am sure I will be struggling with letting go of football as my youngest finishes his senior year. He has retired from wrestling, so this is it for us. For the last eight years, at least one of my four boys has wrestled for Liberty High. Collectively, that is 14 season of high school wrestling.

Season after season, I have watched my boys battle their weight and injuries, but persevere. I am just not ready for it to be over. Can this really be the end of athletes coming through the house for meals, sleepovers and brotherhood? Some boys stayed the night; some stayed for months.

I have been the proverbial Team Mom for all these years, not always officially, but maybe spiritually.  As a massage therapist, I have cared for not only my boys injuries, but the many injuries of their teammates. This is the end of team parties and fund raising. For all these years, the kids have called me “Mama Z.” I cannot remember when it started, but I am their Mama Z.

I have been known to cheer pretty loud no matter what sport my kids are playing. The end will mean no more Sunday laryngitis. I have had the honor of leading pregame prayer for many teams. The last two years, I had the honor of leading a Mom Prayer at the beginning of every football game. I will miss the sisterhood of “sports moms” at Liberty. Every Senior Night for the past eight years, a small piece of my heart has moved on.

As this season is wrapping up for my Niko, I am confronted with the reality that this beautiful, exciting and thrilling ride is about to be over. I know my boys’ legacy will live on off the mat, the sport is just like that. They don’t forget their warriors.

See, my boys may have not been the best of the best, but they left their mark on the mat and the football field. Likewise, these years have left their mark on my heart. I will always be grateful for these “sports years.” It went to fast and was over too quick.

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