Feet are constantly moving, never stopping. Muscles are sore and aching, begging their owner to stop and take a break. Heads are thumping and in pain. In this room, it is hard to think, but easy to wrestle. In this room, everything in each other's life is forgotten, wrestling is the only option. There is sweat dripping from each other's clothes and soaking into the soft, delicate mat where people are constantly being slammed into. The room is dark, but just lit enough to the point our teammates can see one another. The music of Rage Against the Machine is blaring from the stereos. Coaches are yelling loudly - not loud and obnoxious like that of a football coach - but just loud and generous enough so that everyone in the room can listen to the next objective. "Shoot! Sprawl! Jump!" the coaches are constantly yelling. In mere moments, the timer hits zero so that we can all take a break from the dreadful drills, only to know that in half a minute we will start again, and again. This is wrestling.
Hard work, sacrifice, and determination. These are the three innate qualities required for a wrestler to be truly successful in the sport. The issue that stands out to me during this particular time of my life is making the varsity squad this year as a returning starter. There are many competitors for the spot and the only way to secure it is to beat out everyone else in organized matches called "wrestle-offs".
Wrestling is one of the toughest sports in high school because it not only requires mental and physical toughness, but also a lot of hard work. Many people overlook the sport and only see it through its exterior during tournaments - but, these people fail to recognize what goes into the sport in the interior to become truly successful in it. For me, it is safe to say wrestling is the only sport where the practices are harder than the actual competitions. Practices are usually in wrestling rooms that reach temperatures of 85 degrees Fahrenheit or more due to the heat and exhaustion that is released by the wrestlers. In addition, the sport requires wrestlers to memorize a plethora of advanced fighting techniques to get the upper-edge on their opponents. This means that many hours are spent in the sauna-like rooms drilling the same moves hundreds and thousands of time until they are perfected. No other sport is like that.
There are very few athletes that work as hard in and out of practice as wrestlers. Another defining quality that a wrestler must possess is sacrifice. Sacrifice in the sense that one must be willing to meet certain demands that the body needs in order to make weight. Cutting weight is one of the major issues in that it puts a lot of stress and emotional impact on wrestlers. Wrestlers must constantly lower their caloric intake each and every day during the season to stay in their weight class. In other words, athletes from other sports such as hockey and football work hard, but when they go home they get to eat whatever mommy made them for supper, and even have seconds if desired. Wrestlers work excruciatingly hard in practice, go home to eat four ounces of vegetables and lean meat, and then go to bed hungry only knowing that the next day will be the exact same thing. Sacrifice is what separates wrestling from the other sports.
Determination is the last and most important quality that a wrestler must have in order to be great. The best athletes in wrestling are able to keep their composure amid chaos, form a plan when all seems lost, and find the guts to carry it out on and off the mat. Perhaps what stands out to me the most is how the sport of wrestling connects to my own personal life. For example, there was a time during my junior year where I had forgotten to do a certain project until the night before the deadline. Although other people may have been panicked or deliberately stressed out if put into this situation, I was calm and determined. I finished the project within and a couple of hours and received an A. Wrestling has taught me to keep my composure during rough times and carry out what is needed.
Making the varsity squad this year is a very important issue to me because there is a chance that I may not make it. However, the trials and sacrifices I have went through during my wrestling career in high school has taught me to only become determined and ready to dominate whatever comes in my way during this time of my life. Wrestling is a sport that is truly innate. After all, as the legendary Dan Gable once said: "Gold medals are not really made of gold. They're made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts."