The PERFECT way to end my wrestling career that started when I was 5 would be a state championship. My career would be complete. So I thought. It was a minute after I had been crowned a state champion and I was crying…out of anger. I was angry with the way I wrestled in the finals. I didn’t wrestle like “me.” I felt more relief by winning the title than enjoyment. Cody Alesch (Head Coach) was trying to talk to me to be happy- I had just won state. I did crack a quick smile because I could how much it meant to him that I finally got it done. He was right by my side the year earlier- my junior year- when I had lost state. I got beat 5-3 in overtime in the semifinals. I just lost it on the mat. I was crying like crazy. The crazy thing about state is that if you lose in the semifinals- you have to come back and wrestle 45 minutes later. I kid you not- when I came back out for my match 45 minutes later- I was STILL crying. Walking out to shake my opponents hand I was still wiping tears from my eyes. I ended up getting the guy on his back within the first 10 seconds of the match, but, immediately after the match ended I was in tears again.
Fast Forward to my senior season- I had just finished my undefeated senior season by winning a state championship…The school’s first state champion since Tom Brown about 30 years earlier. I should have felt on top of the world. The whole crowd was going crazy and my coaches were fighting back tears of joy as well. All that pain from losing at state the year before should have been gone. It was my first state title EVER.
But, I wasn’t happy with how I wrestled, so I didn’t really enjoy my state title at the time. That is the vicious circle that wrestling can be sometimes. No matter if you win or lose, you can be upset. It’s just that you have to hold yourself to a higher standard than others if you want to be better than them.
My point is…this type of attitude can get you very far. It can make you a fierce competitor. However, it can also be a vicious circle. You have to expect the best out of yourself regardless of the circumstance.
“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” -Steve Prefontaine