The Grappler

March 11, 2009
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Every time I hear that silly beeping noise in the early morning I know it’s time to get my butt out of bed and jump in the shower for school. It's like a routine or an agenda people might say but my starts off with an annoying beeping noise. After I shut my alarm clock off, I jump out of bed and jump in the shower and shave. Hygiene is a smart thing being a wrestler and all, so I shower like three times a day, and I get out of the shower in the morning, I get my wrestling gear all ready and eat a healthy breakfast, then, head to school for what seems to be a total routine I have done for the past 13 years being a senior this year makes me look back on all my accomplishments besides for one. My parents always hate winter because that’s when the beginning of the wrestling season starts, and all I can hear his screaming, and yelling Tristan throughout the house about how I don’t eat and do crazy things to lose weight in drives me insane, sometimes I want to yell what I truly feel and slam things, but I stay disciplined and keep the silly battles inside so I can keep the peace.

Today is the first day of practice only with a key goal to be a state placer and even higher than that a state champion. I sure know that it’s going to take so much hard work, dedication and discipline but I am pumped. Coach Stevens is one of the best friends and coaches I have ever had and has turned me into a wonderful person and athlete. The only thing exciting during the school day is at the end when I hear the last bell ring knowing schools over and now it’s Practice Time. Every day on the mat is an opportunity to get better and be one step closer to my dream, going to state! While being varsity for the last 5 years time to time have I’ve had ups and downs like all those athletes but my luck has sucked. Along with my drilling and technique sessions my coach screams at me.
" Push Push Push" in a repetitive way and while I run he yells,
“You’re not working hard enough if you want to be a state placer."

Soon after practices start the season starts and are first match is here, the dark gym with a spotlight on your opponent and yourself staring at each other ready to beat the each others butts on the mat. One on One competition is finally here, my first duel match to see where I have pushed myself for the last week of practice. The ref steps on the mat and blows his silver whistle I quickly get a takedown as I lift him up and slam his body to the mat I put him on his back and pin him like I was taking out the trash. I there jumped with glee winning my opening match as well as I planned in starting my undefeated season. My coach pulled me and spoke with me.
"Justin that’s the attitude I need you to have every time" coach whispered in my ear
" Yes coach I am going to every single time I want to show you what I am made of"
"Tristan the way you went out there showed that someone is going to have to be on their "A" game to beat you"
"Thanks coach"

I went through my season being 34-2 loosing to the same kid twice. When I heard Willy Zabel being ranked number one at 130 pound weight class I was ranked number 3. The guy in front of me has a better record and is from a different region than I was and so was Willy. I knew I was the best in my region and only could think to myself, I need to work harder and find a way to beat these two kids for the championship. Going into the regional tournament being the number one seed I had a first round bye.

Every time before a match I get the attitude like its time to shine get the job done. My first match rolled around, and I got my head gear on and checked in at the table and got into position to start the match, the ref stepped into his spot and blew that silver whistle with a hard blow, I snapped at my opponent with aggression and got a hard takedown on him and put him to his back for a pin. I can only think my coach with that little smirk on his face was excited
and trying to keep his cool. An hour has past and next thing I know I am up for my next match, but I was wrong the guy had gotten hurt and I had an injury default forfeit granting me access to the finals against a guy from Tahoma. My mind was in another world after I signed that bout sheet my adrenaline striving through my body prepared for the final knowing this kid wants it just as bad. I got ready and checked in and prayed this is my time to shine. I went out there with a mindset that I need to push my body to the limit this match to still be alive for the champion ship match. The ref blew his whistle and we circled shooting over and over it seemed to be a defensive match at the end of the first period. As the second period began I chose down and got an escape and a takedown as if he was tired. My coach screamed “CUT HIM” after I did I took him down again but this time it was to his back for a total of 5 points. The third started we where both neutral and had a duplicate first round but this time no one scored and I won by decision of 9-2, I jumped with excited and told my coach time to be a state champ coach Stevens.
The same beeping noise and the school bell ringing the next week began with four hard days of practices. I drilled with my coach and conditioned for three straight hours trying to break myself from what’s holding me back from beating Willy for the state championship but not looking past my other competition. I was seeded 2 at the state tournament I was fine with that knowing I have to beat four people to be in the finals. Right before I walked into the dome My coach told me "things are not always just handed over, sometimes you have to take what’s yours" then I walked in the dome smelled like wrestlers, the lights bright, it's sounds like a concert the feel of being here knowing that everyone had to work hard to get here was a blessing and now its time to shine.

My first match is against Brett Fisher from O'dea I never wrestled him all I knew its time to rumble I went out with the same intentions get in get out with a win. The match had begun I took him down just the way I did in the first match of the year and cut him and kept taking him down to scoring my points like I was taught in practice. Towards the end of the round I snapped his arm to the mat and popped him over for a stack then scored a pin. I was excited and said three more. In my head I knew the next guy will be tougher. An hour later my next match began waited for the ref to step in position and I began to wrestle this guy I knew from the start this guy was serious by his swagger. I wrestled him smartly winning by points, my coach told me not to be cocky but confident. I sat down to gain my fluids back to prepare for my next match. It’s the quarter final match I was excited knowing that my next opponent I faced in the finals at regional finals. My heart was racing for my next two matches thinking I am so close. I ended up winning my next two matches by decision to advance to the finals against Willy Zabel.
I taped my ankles drank a half bottle of water and began to warm up for finals drilling, drilling, drilling with my coach preparing for greatness. The announcers at the dome announced our names for the championship match at 130 pounds we both approached the table with a stare down stepped on the mat feeling the soft mat underneath me gaining my composure, and then I got in position in the center of the mat. I slipped on my knee pad to wrestle like the previous two encounters. We finished the first round at a score of 0-0 then the second round began he scored a quick takedown; I was frustrated and lost concentration and Willy rode me out for the second round he was the aggressor the entire round. Coach screamed "pick up the intensity" The final round began I scored a aggressive take down slamming him like he did too me the previous round, and then I rode him for what seemed to be the longest 30 seconds of my life with the state title on my shoulders. He got a 1 point escape the score is 3-2 Willy. I have one minute remaining I have to score or go home I got in a clinch with him, so popped his elbow over my head and did a quick duck under and scored what I thought was two but wrong Willy stood up and cut away. Coach is screaming 30 seconds do it again. Willy would not allow me to clinch so I tied up on him and I did what coached screamed ankle pick. I scored my two by changing my level and swinging my hand towards his ankle and knocked him off balance. I won the state championship all I could see is stars my body numb as I was speechless as the ref raised my hand I felt amazing knowing that I just had won the biggest tournament in the state, I ran over to my coach jumped in his arms and said did I make you proud.
He responded " You are one hell of a competitor"
My senior year ended winning the state championship and look back after the season and said without self-sacrifice and hard work ethic I would not have been in the situation I would not have accomplished the ultimate dream of being a state champ!

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