“Wrestling may not get the recognition most sports do, but it’s the ‘purest’ of all sports,” said Cameron Pope, my wrestling coach. On the mat, it’s just my opponent and I, no one else. There are no balls, bats, or rackets. The only “equipment” I have at my disposal is the arms and legs God has given me. It all comes down to who has worked the hardest before the match and who leaves it all out on the mat, never holding back. I know it may sound cliché when I say this, but “all the blood, sweat, and tears pay off in the end.” Period. I believe wrestling is the purest of all high school sports.
Practically every single sport in high school has either balls, pads, cleats, or some other type of equipment. Even swimmers wear caps and use goggles. What do I have? I have only a singlet to cover up, leaving just me to go out there and fight my way to victory, with only my body as my weapon.
“Hard work and determination pay off,” is the phrase recycled by coaches, trying to motivate athletes to work hard and win. The thing is, I don’t see this being applied as purely to any other high school sport but wrestling. Every high school sport in which I’ve participated involves reliance on some sort of teamwork, whether it be the guy running beside in cross-country, telling me to keep going, or playing doubles in a tennis match. With wrestling, I have no one beside me. The only person I can rely on is me. Once it’s time to wrestle, whether it be in a tournament or during a dual meet, I’m the only one serving out the beating or the one being served. There’s no substituting players or breaks in play. I either go “balls to the wall” or not at all. If I loose, I have no one to blame but myself.
I always ask myself, “why do I wrestle?” It’s still a question that I can’t quite understand yet. I have thought of war whenever I see a wrestling match. Maybe that’s it; war is the most primitive, basic way to resolve a problem, fighting for my right of victory and passage into adulthood. Perhaps, I feel the same way too about wrestling, a constant struggle for victory. With each match, a lesson learned, making me more mature in the end.
I believe wrestling is the purest of all high school sports. Wrestling takes away the common denominator of other sports: the teammates and equipment. In return, it teaches me how to use just the basics and to succeed. Cutting out everything and only leaving something pure, this is wrestling.
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