Wrestling is a sport that once you get involved with, there is no escaping it. Even if you’re just the sister of a wrestler, it will be a part of you forever. I was never a wrestler for a day in my life, but if you stick around for long enough, it will teach you some truly valuable things.
The wrestling community is honestly something special. The wrestling community has taught me that there will always be someone on your side, in your corner supporting you, no matter where you are. I have been involved with the sport from since the time I was in preschool, so I’ve met a lot of people. Some of those people are from other parts of the country, but when you see them at nationals, they remember you and you remember them and they are always excited to hear how you’re doing. I didn’t realize this until about sixth or seventh grade, but even when it seems like nothing big or important happening there is always someone that will be happy with just getting to catch up with you.
This community has also taught me that people really do come together in a crisis or in a time of need. About two months ago, I experienced this first hand. The surrounding area wrestling clubs and wrestling families from Minnesota and Wisconsin came together, more than I ever would have imagined to support me and my family. It was an astonishing thing to see and I realized how lucky I am to be involved in a such an amazing sport. Just recently, a wrestler from Pennsylvania was diagnosed with cancer and over the course of seven days, wrestling clubs and people from all over the country have raised $26,000 to do their best in supporting him. These two things have shown me how even though you don’t always realize how many people out there support you, they’ll show it when times get incredibly tough.
With spending so many Thursday nights and almost every weekend from November to May sitting in a gym watching wrestling, I’ve seen a lot of matches. I’ve watched kids have their dreams come true and I’ve watched kids have their hearts broken, all in a matter of six minutes. I’ve never been the one to be wrestling in those matches, but that doesn’t been they haven’t taught me something. I’ve learned that just like that one heart breaking loss doesn’t define that wrestlers career, one moment or one mistake, doesn’t define who you really are. The amount of times I have heard a coach or parent say,
“It was just one match, now you have to get ready for the next one,” is crazy. I didn’t really think about how that could apply into day to day things until not too long ago. When I started to think about what that meant I realized that you might screw up sometimes, but it won’t ever be as terrible as you think it is at the time. You just have to learn from that experience and do your best to prepare yourself for the next time.
Sometimes a wrestling bracket is seeded, sometimes it isn’t seeded. Either way you might end up with a bad draw, but there’s nothing you can do about that besides make the most of it and try your best. Sometimes life is like that and you’ll get a “bad draw.” You can’t do anything to change that, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try to find the best parts of those bad situations. From watching so many wrestling tournaments I’ve learned that the wrestlers that disregard the draw they have been given, end up surprising people with how well they do. This has taught me that if you overlook how much you don’t like the situation you’ve been put in, if you work hard and persevere through the tough times, you will get out of it stronger than you started.
Along with the bigger things being around the sport of wrestling has taught me, I have also learned a few not so useful things. I’ve learned how to run warm ups before practice or a tournament. I’ve learned how to tell the difference between ring worm and impetigo. I’ve learned that between two-day weigh ins, blueberries are one of the best things a wrestler can eat. As useless as all of those little things might be I wouldn’t trade how I learned each of them for the world.
I have been around the great sport of wrestling since before preschool and every year I learn a little more. Recently I’ve tied what I learned into day to day life and it has been unbelievably useful. These life lessons are things that I don’t think I would have learned if I was around another sport. Even though I’ve never been a wrestler, the sport has taught me some tremendously beneficial things.