Thursday, January 6, 2011

Once a wrestler, always a wrestler.

Yes, I was a wrestler in high school. Once a wrestler, always a wrestler. Wrestling is more of a family than a sport. I hate telling people I wrestled because the conversation automatically shifts and lingers on me. Why are people shocked that I am a wrestler? Maybe YOU can answer that for me. I guess it's hard to picture someone "sweet" and "petite" pushing competitors' faces into a sweaty mat. People that think that don't know me very well. Probably to no fault of their own. It's harder to share that part of myself because it's more controversial. I let people know the me that's easiest to get along with. Who wouldn't like a female version of Mr. Rogers?

Anywho, if you don't know the back story, my friend Evelyn and I started the first ever women's wresting team at Warden High. It was a battle since people in our small, conservative community had a hard time accepting girls being a part of the program. Our team policy was to wrestle girls only in practice and at matches. And eventually, we were allowed to compete.  That first year there were just two of us, plus our coach Valerie Hernandez. Wrestling is physically, mentally, emotionally EXHAUSTING. My senior year, with some recruitment (mostly foreign exchange students), our team grew to six. People thought the girls wrestling thing might just die off. But each year it's grown and last year the team took 6th place in the female division of the state tournament.

It's hard to invest so much into something and then leave it behind. When I go back to wrestling to help coach the girls in practice or watch a match I always feel awkwardly out of place. I wonder if they even know who I am or want me there. I'm a fatty (the wrestling term for out of shape) and most of them have surpassed the skill level I acquired in those two years. But after my mom and I drove to watch the girls wrestle in a match all those worries faded away. The team found me in the stands and in a single file line they shook my hand and hugged me. They thanked me for coming to the match and for giving them an opportunity to wrestle. Wrestling changed my life. It helped me battle my fears and self-doubt. I relied on God for the strength it required. I got to be a leader and an encourager for my teammates. But beyond that I didn't have a ton of success. I competed in, but didn't place in the state tournament. My experience reminded me what wrestling was really about.  I'd rather have the arms of those girls around my neck than a state medal any day.

1 comment:

Jill aka Mrs. Massa said...

Yes, it was awesome, and yes I did tear up-both reading it and watching it happen. You were a pioneer in wrestling and have always been one! You will continue to change the world and do great things! Once a wrestler's mom, always a wrestler's mom and although it was hard for me to accept at first, I will always be proud of you for having the courage to follow your dreams and yes, I am a believer, and a part of the wrestling family because of a boy called Reggie, and a little girl who always had a big smile on the mat!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...