A few months before Austin passed, he began studying MMA (mixed martial arts). A friend of ours, who is a policeman and also studies, suggested it to Austin one day because of his size. That is all it took. Austin went to one match with him and he was hooked.
The first couple visits he could only watch but I can still remember his excitement the first time he got to grapple. He came home that night, filled with adrenaline, and ready to recap the entire evening. Of course, he had to show the moves he learned by wrestling with his Dad. It didn't take long for Tim to realize Austin finally had the upper hand on their frequent matches with the new moves he learned. Austin pinned Tim and I chuckle remembering the surprise on Tim's face and the joy in Austin's.
We were later told by the guy who took him, how amazed he was at Austin's ease in picking up the skills so quickly. He had never witnessed someone learning so much just from watching. Austin was a natural.
The gym was in Owensboro so it was difficult to get him there as often as he wanted to go. He networked with some other members who lived in Ohio county and found rides for nearly every night. In addition to working out at the gym, he began conditioning by riding his bike, working out at our local health club, and practicing on Tim and Noah.
The week of Thanksgiving, I finally got to take him to practice. We didn't stay and watch, mostly because I didn't want to embarrass Austin by being the only "Mom" there. However, when we came back to pick him up I did go in and meet the crew and see the club. He was proud to show me around. On the way home, he couldn't stop talking about the things he learned, how much he was improving, and awaiting the day when he could actually get into the ring for a real match. Little did we know, that would be his last visit to the gym.
I was always such a proud Mom, watching Austin from the stands in any sport he played. We looked forward to watching him in his newest endeavor and it saddens me that we never got the chance. I hope he knew how proud we were of him, even if we never got to clap and cheer him on from the crowd.