Title: Every day is Father's Day in the Arlis during wrestling season.(Sports Extra)
Date: January 18, 2002 Publication: Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)Byline: Joe Bush
Tom Arlis and his 14-year-old son, Clint, agree on most things.
You read that right, like a banner headline in the Parents' Daily Herald: Father and Adolescent See Eye to Eye.
The harmony swells from Tom's longtime position as Naperville North's wrestling coach, and Clint's brief tenure as one of Batavia's freshman phenoms.
"Most things" in their lives involve wrestling.
Tom and his wife, Jamie, moved to Batavia before they had kids, when their only concern was affordability.
Now, they each have active lives in the river town - 9-year-old Logan grapples as well, and 11-year-old Taylor is a gymnast - and the couple long ago decided that Tom coaching his sons in high school wasn't a good enough reason to move to Naperville.
So Clint grew up rolling around Naperville North practice mats and at duals and tournaments with Huskies heroes like Nate Patrick and Charles Martelli, and once he was 6 years old, began competing.
"Half the shirts in his drawer are 'Naperville North Wrestling,' " Tom said during a break in the action at last Saturday's Batavia Invitational.
Hey, how nice, father gets a rare chance to see son wrestle in person (Jamie videotapes every bout). That's correct, but Tom was there because his team was there, and here is where the father and son disagree.
Had Clint won his 103-pound semifinal, he would have met Naperville North's Nick Fanthorpe in the title match.
What at first seems like a neat scene is clearly problematic: a father who taught his son most of what he knows, and who has been supportive for eight years, is providing someone else's child instructions for defeating his son.
"I don't think it would have been that big of a deal," Clint said after winning the third-place match.
His father has wrung his hands over the matter since Clint - an accomplished kids' club competitor who wrestled at Cadet Freestyle Nationals last summer in Fargo, N.D. -claimed a spot on the varsity in November, then won match after match leading up to the 16-team tournament.
"As the day got closer and closer, it got heavier and heavier on my mind," Tom said.
After much thought, Tom decided to be a father instead of a coach whenever over the next three-and-a-half seasons Clint is matched with one of the Huskies; Naperville North assistants would oversee the bout.
"You cannot not be a dad," Tom said. "That's really the only way to do it. I can't coach against my son, and I can't coach against (Fanthorpe) either."
Here's Tom during a tight Naperville North match: writhing on his chair, contorting his body as if he were out in the circle.
When he watches Clint wrestle, as he has been able to do in person eight times this year? The bleachers are perhaps a better place for him.
"I can't get away from it," he said of the ghost-wrestling. "That's the worst. I feel the butterflies in my stomach. I would say that feeling ... outside of competing your own self would be seeing your son compete. You get those same butterflies, that same nervous feeling, and you're totally wrapped up and involved in it. It just totally engulfs you."
Tom and Batavia coach Brian Drendel have known each other for years and have the same wrestling philosophy: "Always working for extra team points," Clint said.
Drendel wanted a youth club to one day supply his program; Tom and other fathers wanted a youth club for their kids. Thus was the Batavia Pinners club born.
Those parallel pursuits assure a conflict-free relationship between the men. Clint was raised to be an aggressive, hard-working wrestler - just like Dad - and Drendel wants that type of kid.
"If you try to relax at all during a match, he's gonna beat you," Tom said. "He just outhustles everybody. He's the first to shoot and the last to shoot."
There has been at least one unforeseen benefit from Clint's entry into high school wrestling under a different coach: Tom is now cool.
"Before, I was his dad and his coach, and every dad out there will tell you the same thing: when they try to tell their son something, 'Oh, it's Dad,' and they get a little rebellious," Tom said.
"This year, I had one of my wrestlers give me a lot of attitude after a loss, and I told him, 'I don't need that from you, I get that from my son.' I was telling my wife that, and (Clint) was in the other room, and he came in, he goes, 'That's how it used to be. It's not like that anymore.'
"I thought it was just a little rhetoric, but he's been really good when I talk to him now. I look at his film and I'll see him wrestle. I will tell him what I think he needs to work on, and he's real receptive now, and I think maybe because now he really, really wants to do well. His focus has been towards high school.
"It's really been quite pleasant at home."
You can reach Joe Bush at (630) 587-8641 or by e-mail at jbush@@dailyherald.com
This material is published under license from the publisher through the Gale Group, Farmington Hills, Michigan. All inquiries regarding rights should be directed to the Gale Group.
COPYRIGHT 2009 Paddock Publications
COPYRIGHT 2009 Paddock Publications
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