Staying On Top This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Recently, I attended my first wrestlingmatch. What I saw filled me with such contradictory emotions,it is hard to describe. The uniforms caught my eye first.Tight fitting to dissuade an opponent from grabbing a hold,these outfits look like the most uncomfortable thing one couldwear. It is hard not to look at them distastefully, although Iam aware how essential they are.

Wrestling seems themost primitive of competitions: to determine who will bevictorious in man-to-man combat, using only one's wits,dexterity and strength. There is something that commandsrespect, if not for the basic nature then for all the practiceand training.

Because this is the most basic ofsports, however, it has a ruthlessness that makes me wince.Sitting in that gym with wrestlers and their coaches, fathers,brothers and friends around me, I practically had to startswimming to keep from being carried away by the testosterone.

A barbaric qualityis brought out by contact sports, but especially in wrestlingsince it is such a dramatic contest between two rivals.Whatever it is, it apparently unleashes its full fury, asheard in the merciless shouts for victory from the team, mixedwith calls for blood from the stands.

Despite this, there is a playfulside I saw; while watching the warm-ups, the wrestlersplayfully rough-housed on the mats. I was reminded of lioncubs or puppies that wrestle with their siblings, and Iwondered if this sport brings a sense of comradeship notpresent in less intimate sports.

Although there issomething about this sport that makes my stomach clench inaversion, I could not tear my eyes from the mat. I cannotunderstand how anyone, male or female, would voluntarilyparticipate in a sport that leaves the loser in such ahelpless, unprotected position, but I have a strange respectfor all those who participate. I admit you would never find meout on that mat, voluntarily wrestling for victory and mydignity, but I have a wary admiration for those who have theguts to do it.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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