In my eighth grade year I decided to try my hand at wrestling. Here’s the thing, I had never observed a wrestling match, learned any of the moves, and to add insult to injury, I just learned shortly before that the school possessed a wrestling team.
So I, extremely nervous, attended wrestling practice the first day and listened to the instructions for what wrestlers needed for the season, what we would we learn, and the introduction to the coaches. I’ll admit, I had no intimation on what I should do; I basically mimicked the moves of the other, more seasoned, veteran wrestlers. When that proved to no avail, I decided that I would just try my absolute hardest, learn the moves and technique taught to us, and see where that carried me too. After acquiring the new technique, I instantly fell in love with the sport. Here’s where it gets problematic, to be able to wrestle in matches one had to best the others in his weight class, and, needless to say, I could not.
I then conceived the idea of dropping from 208 to 189. It wouldn’t happen easily or instantly, but getting to test my skill and technique against other athletes from other schools wasn’t just a craving, but a necessity. After I conceived the plan, I consulted my coach and parents, and both agreed with my plan to get wrestling time. At the end of practice that day, my coach called me to the front, turned me around, and addressed the group of wrestlers, “This man here is now my man. He has committed his self to our team by deciding to lose weight and drop down to 189 so we do not have to forfeit the weight class every match.” The wrestlers then clapped and cheered and I, overjoyed with the support from my team, knew I choose the right path.
Three days later Christmas break came and no wrestling practice occurred during the break. I came back after the break only losing the minimal sum of three pounds. That did not deter me, nothing could now. I came to practice every day wearing the following: a hooded sweatshirt, sweat pants, a shirt under the hooded sweatshirt, a pair of athletic shorts under the sweat pants, and my underwear. I then started losing rapidly, two pounds, three pounds, sometimes even four pounds a week. This trend continued for about four or five weeks, until one day, the stupefying event occurred, I made it down to 189.
Staying at 189 turned out trickier than I originally thought. I weighed in everyday, still wore the sweatshirt, but I got the wrestling time I wanted. I still remember my first match for the team. I didn’t win it, but I’m so glad I got to wrestle. It was my last match and I had gone without winning a match the whole year, but that changed that day; for I not only beat, but pinned my opponent. This event triggered the realization that, like Dave DeRoo said, “Nothing in life worth having comes without sacrifice. Now, looking back at my season last year, I wouldn’t change a thing.”