by Dane Valdez
For a small group of young wrestlers, this weekend’s CIF State Championships will mark the end of a long road; the culmination of years of dedication and commitment. For the rest, who did not make it to state, this weekend marks the beginning of the new season. For those who did not make it, the road to state starts this week.
I still remember the disappointment that I felt my freshman year when I did not place at CIF. My goal that year was to go to state, but I lost at CIF. No Masters. No State. I remember sitting there in the gym dejected, wondering
if I had set my goals too high and whether this state thing was really even attainable. After about a week of moping around school and feeling sorry for myself, my coach called me into his office. He sat me down and said to me, “Dane I know you are disappointed, but there is nothing you can do about it now. It is in the past… but there is something you can do about the future. If you really want to go to state next year, the road starts now. You’ve had enough time to feel sorry for yourself and be upset, but now it is time to start training for state.”
To be honest, I did not believe him at the time. Still fresh with disappointment, I did not believe I could get to state even if I started right then, but out of respect for my coach I agreed to start training again right away. Fortunately, my coach did believe in me. As I began training again I began to get my confidence back. In just a few weeks, I reevaluated my goals and set them a more accordingly to what I thought was doable. My new goal was not to make it to state, but to place at state. That Spring, Summer, and Fall I trained relentlessly. I knew I had
some catching up to do and I was determined to do it.
When high school season came around the next year, I found myself in one of the toughest weight classes in the state. The road was tough and full of ups and downs, but in the end, I was prepared, and I placed 8th
at the state tournament. The next week at school, my coach did not have to call me into his office to convince me to start training again. I was already in the wrestling room, ready for practice. I knew that the road to state started now… and I was going to be a state champion.
The road to state starts now! Spring Classes Start Monday, March 4.