Challenges of my Life

March 7, 2008
By Jack Weinerth, Auburn, NY

Peer pressure leads many high school students to follow the crowd and not do what they believe to be the right thing. I myself was one of those students, who for the longest time was caught up in the crowd. It took me two years of high school to realize that I was capable of standing on my own two feet and taking on the challenge of wrestling. If you had asked me as a freshman if I could see myself on a mat in a singlet wrestling another person, I would have said that you were crazy. To say that I have grown from this experience would be an understatement.

Wrestling has had a long history in my family. My grandfather wrestled for East High School in the late 1940’s and he was a New York State Champion. My two uncles also wrestled for Auburn High School in the 1970’s. The tipping point for me was the constant urging of my family to wrestle. I can remember my grandpa telling me the story of how he won his championship match and the feeling he had when they announced his name as New York State Champion. I never could have imagined that feeling till the night I won my first match. The one thing that scared me away from this sport was the uniform which was a tight fitting singlet that exposed your entire body. I also never realized the physical demand that wrestling took on one’s body. The long hours of learning new moves, lifting weights, and the mental preparation that you need to prepare for this sport is overwhelming. I had to learn to manage my time between school, home, work, family, and friends. Learning to manage a constant diet of food on a daily basis became more important than stopping by McDonalds for a hamburger and a milk shake. This no longer could happen.

Wrestling is more of an individual sport but it also requires the help and support of a team to be successful. The coaches taught us to respect ourselves and also the opponents that we face on the mat. As a team at Christmas, we were able to bring toys to Upstate Hospital cancer unit for the unfortunate children who were facing a major illness and could not be home for the holidays with their families. This taught me a valuable lesson not to be afraid of those things that frighten me. Here I was able to witness little children who never knew if they were even going to be able to leave the hospital and live a normal life. This made me realize that I need to live each day to the fullest because who can tell what life has in store for us?

Wrestling has taught me that I am capable of being my own individual. I cannot go back in time to change the past, however; the confidence that I have gained has allowed me the possibility of furthering my wrestling career in college. From this sport, I now know that in order for one to be successful you must not be afraid to try something new.

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