I love watching wrestling at all levels: high school, collegiate, and olympic. Yesterday, I watched an early season college wrestling dual between Iowa and Iowa State and couldn’t help but reflect on the many years I’ve had a strong passion for the sport.
This sport has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember being alive. I watched my dad coach jr high wrestling when I was young, going to practice a few days a week and getting comfortable being around the sport and on the mats. During this time the kids on the high school team were my heros. Wrestling under the spotlight in the gym. Crowd packed, the band playing loud energizing music as they ran in and warmed up for the competition. I couldn’t wait to be there some day.
I went on to compete for 5 years at the high school level (8th to 12th grade). I took my lumps, won a few big matches, and learned many lessons along the way. Looking back I can honestly say that the individual aspect of wrestling and competition formed who I am as an adult today. My experience competing, and getting to know myself as a competitor has helped me in my career as a fitness trainer and coach. I like to think that what I do best is understand what my clients need, how to make their goals achievable, and in the end, how to get them to love health and fitness. You see, it takes passion and enjoyment, in any endeavor, to foster results and personal growth. Wrestling helped me develop that in myself. Wrestling made me a better person. Wrestling has given me the capacity to take someone with a genuine desire to change, through the transformational process, and come out the other end a new person.
The sport cultivates individuals. I think a lot like distance running, wrestling ignites a desire to explore ones potential to its fullest. Are you strong enough to step on the mat and give 100%? Can you be relaxed and in the moment enough to compete at the best of your ability? This is wrestling and this is also life.
As I watched the wrestling match unfold over two hours I realized I was fully in the moment. Each of the 10 matches had their own unique elements. Some left the mat satisfied, others disappointed, but none left the mat without having learned a little more about themselves.
As a spectator, I will continue to set aside 2 hours a week to watch wrestling. During that short time I will witness competition, sport, and athleticism at its finest. I’m glad wrestling is a winter sport as it gives new life to the cold and dreary months ahead. It renews hope and enthusiasm in myself and brings me back to my youth… the hours, days, and weeks spent in a hot wrestling room, preparing to compete, preparing for life…