Scratches, Bruises, and Boys


Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,

Mommy has never let me forget it. Occasionally she’ll just bring it up. Other times we’re reminded by the photos.

Back in 1999 I was still wrestling regularly between coaching and trying to hang on with freestyle competition.

We were engaged. We had an engagement party with our family and friends. We had our engagement photos for the paper taken that day before the party.

And I showed up with my face looking like a mess. I had mat burns on my forehead. A black eye. General nics and cuts. Pretty normal stuff for me. It’s how I’d always felt. Comfortable with that raw sting of fresh wounds on my face.

She knew what she was getting in me. 

But she never expected me to show up for our engagement pictures looking like I’d been in a street fight.

Maybe it was the wrestler in me. Or maybe it was how I’m wired in general. In the last decade of my 30’s I’ve still enjoyed the occasional mat burn on my forehead and even a cut or two in my brow line. 

A minor "ouchy" circa 2008

A minor “ouchy” circa 2008

Max, although you’re not wrestling yet – and maybe never at all (that will be up to you) – you’re like me. Somehow you find ways to lead with your face. Like Rocky blocking punches with his forehead. You have a missing front tooth to show for it. Sets of stitches and scar on your hair line. 


I noticed a few days ago a set of scratches and bruises on your face.

“Max, how did you get these scratches?” I asked.

You just shrugged your shoulders and ran full speed from the room to another – where I heard something crash. Maybe how isn’t whats important. Maybe why is the poetry and the mystery in fathers and sons and bruises. 


I love you,

– Daddy


Mon: rest

Tues: swam 1100 / Ran 3

Wed; Biked 40 minutes – intervals

Thurs: Ran 3 miles

Fri: Swam 1100 / Biked 40 minutes – big gear

Sat: Biked 21 miles