by Shane Valdez
More than a decade after I last competed in the sport of wrestling, I still go over my matches in my head. I still find myself strategizing over my losses, wondering what I could have done differently. Why didn’t I hit a duck under instead of a single leg that I knew he was expecting? Why did I let him rest when it went into overtime and I had him on the ropes? Why did I choose bottom when I knew that his best chance of beating me was from the top position? Even after ten years, I find myself still wrestling these matches over and over again. That is the beauty of this great sport; When all is said and done, a wrestler only has himself to credit or blame for the results of his match or his season or his career. There are no teammates to blame for missing the game winning field goal, and likewise, there are no teammates to credit for making the game winning three pointer at the buzzer. In victory, one celebrates the fruits of his own labor. In defeat, one wonders what more he could have done to change the outcome.
Often times a parent will ask me whether or not they should put their child in wrestling. My response is the same every time: “There is no better sport in which your child can participate than wrestling.” Our job as parents is not to prepare our children to be champions in sports. Our job is to prepare them to be champions in life. In wrestling, as in life, no one else is going to step up and be the quarterback, and you can only depend upon yourself to be the star player that comes through in the time of need. When all is said and done, a wrestler only has himself to credit or blame for the results.
What better sport can there be to prepare our youth for life? What better sport can there be to teach our youth that they are in control of their own destiny. In a world where excuses abound and quitting is readily accepted, wrestling teaches its participants that they can sink or they can swim, but it is up them to do one or the other. The champions in wrestling, and in life, understand this well, and make the adjustments to their training regiment in order to put themselves in a better position to change the outcome at the next opportunity.