Wrestling: This I Believe

Andrew - Winchester, Virginia
Entered on September 1, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Wrestling is quite possibly the first sport to have ever been participated in by man. Wrestling has persevered throughout centuries, millennia; from the ancient Greco-Roman era lasting still today. The spirit of the sport drives an individual like no other. This, I truly believe.

Since the dawn of civilization, humankind has always desired more, desired to establish dominance over another. From ancient history, Alexander the Great, conquered a vast portion of Europe, the Middle East, and northern Africa. The desire to win, despite all odds or adversity drove Alexander to achieve more than anyone else had before him. Wrestling is much the same.

Stemming from the same region as Alexander the Great, wrestling took the very same desire and focused it to two individuals, in a form that promoted healthy competition. To this day, the heart and drive of the wrestler is still evident. Without having experienced such competition, one may find the sport dry and brutal. The truth is far from such a claim.

In my four years of high school wrestling, I have weathered several trials to the human body. In the 2007-2008 season alone, I suffered from two strained shoulders, a staphylococcal infection, and two concussions. I have had to lose as many as five pounds in twenty-four hours. Such intense exertion on a daily basis from November until early March each year wears away at one’s body. Only one with the heart of a wrestler has the desire and strength to move forward; and I did just that.

The 2006-2007 season for the Bel Air Bobcats concluded with one of the most intense matches in Bobcat history. The regional dual tournament, one which the team must qualify for by being undefeated in region and division, ended abruptly for us after being defeated by only two team points. Beneath the high-schooler that no longer cares, that wants to go home after losing, a mature wrestler lies; devastated. In the 2007 James M. Bennett dual tournament, one mistake could have decided the match. One mistake by one wrestler may have decided the outcome.

In February 2008, after the toughest season Bel Air had had since 2000, the Bobcats finally had a varsity lineup of true wrestlers. Of the fourteen weight classes, eleven were true wrestlers. They had all realized that when the team’s victory depends on your match, it is your responsibility to win. In any other team sport, the team can blame a bad pass on the quarterback, a bad cover or rebound on another point guard, or a drive into the rough to another golfer. In wrestling, one wrestler is the definitive victor, and he the team’s victory lies in him.

The responsibility of the wrestler builds character like no other sport can. With these qualities, a wrestler matures much faster. The trials of life, such as the loss of a close one, seem to be much easier to withstand with dignity and maturity. Wrestling is the most life-altering sport one can participate in. This, I truly believe.