When I was in Junior High School, I used to watch my older brother compete at his high school wrestling meets. There was a corny quote that I often read on the back of people’s t-shirts when I would go to these meets. It said, “Summer wrestlers make winter champions.” It wasn’t until a few years later that I would really understood the truth behind that quote.
As a freshman in high school, I didn’t have what you’d call a stellar year in wrestling, or at least in my eyes I didn’t. I remember being extremely disappointed that I did not place at CIF. My goal was to eventually be a California State Champion and I remember thinking if I couldn’t even make it passed CIF how was I going to ever get to the top of the state podium. It was then that my coach took me aside and asked me if I still wanted to be a State Champion. When I replied, “Yes”, he then explained to me the importance of wrestling in the spring and summer. Everybody wrestled in the spring so that didn’t seem to be too big of a deal, but wrestling consistently during the summer was another story. Summer was for sleeping in and going to the beach and staying up late. I wasn’t sure I was up for that. My coach fortunately read my mind and assured me that as long as I stayed committed to a few days of training a week I could still enjoy my summer. Commitment was the key word. It’s easy to get too caught up in all the fun of summer and forget about training. That is why it is important to commit to a few days and stick to them.
That summer after my freshman year I wrestled religiously 2-3 days a week. There were several times that I didn’t want to do it and I often wondered if my dedication was really paying off. It wasn’t until the preseason tournaments that I found out. I was at the prestigious Halloween Tournament, which back then drew wrestlers from all over the state. In the first round, I drew a kid that I had lost to 4 times my freshman year. As the match began I remember thinking, “Well, I guess I’ll find out now if all this summer wrestling has paid off.” By the end of the first period the answer was very clear. I was up by 5 points and in complete control of the match. I ended up beating the kid by 13 points.
I went on to win the tournament and place 8th in the state of California that year. Whenever I would see that quote, “Summer Wrestlers make winter champions” I no longer thought it was corny. From that point on I used to look forward to training during the summer more than any other season because I knew that was when I would make my most significant gains on the rest of my competition.
Valdez Wrestling will be continuing its classes and running training camps throughout the summer. Make the commitment today to be there. Make the commitment to get better than your competition.