What Wrestling Gave Me

Junior year wrestling photo 97-98

My friends didn’t understand it. “Why do you keep doing this? Why starve yourself? You realize I gained almost 10 pounds this semester eating your lunch right?”

My girl was mad because it took up most of my time. “We don’t talk after school anymore and when we do talk the only thing you say is how hungry or sore you are after practice. It’s hard enough that we don’t go to the same school but this is too much”

My family was worried that I would be seriously hurt. “Quis you could barely walk without pain last year and you hid that from us for almost a month. Do you think we’re going to let you back out there?”

In high school, I fell in love with wrestling. During that time wrestling taught me many things but some would say it took away many things. I learned discipline, perseverance, how to game plan and how to adapt. I learned that life wasn’t easy and that to win at life I was going to have to outwork the competition. My biggest enemy wasn’t the guy toeing the opposite line or the guys in the wrestling room vying for my spot but it was the kid in the mirror.

In Physical Therapy school there were so many times I wanted to quit. Honestly, in my head, I probably quit a thousand times. I never had to study so hard in my life. Money was low and there were times when my lights had been cut off. I could have gotten a job in my undergraduate major and made decent money while going for my Master’s in that profession. That was not my goal though and to make it through P.T. school was going to require sacrifice, a dogged determination, and the ability to just sometimes put my head down and keep pushing forward. Luckily God saw fit to give me a love of wrestling and wrestling put me through a lot. So those experiences allowed me to deal with the hardships I faced while getting my Doctorate.

As a Physical Therapist, I work with people who are in pain every day. My job is to educate and guide them as they try to regain their function. Those afternoons and early mornings in the wrestling room saw me knocked on my bottom, dropped on my head, and thrown violently across the room then get up and have it done to me again and again. Falling and being thrown so many times inevitably leads to some colorful contusions (bruises), pain and soreness, and at worst injury. Experience in being the one hurting has allowed me to better empathize with my clients because rising in the more with back pain or it feeling like a hot poker is being shoved in my side are not novel sensations to me. The difficulty of moving through these pains is also not undiscovered territory for me but I also learned that the best way for that pain to subside was to start moving.

Grappling also has come in handy with the physical aspects of my job. I have good control of my body which has allowed me to snake my way through the spider-webs of ICU lines. Being able to use another person’s momentum and balance has more than once helped me stop a patient from falling.

I was never a champion wrestler. I don’t have any gold medals on my mantle but the lessons that wrestling has taught me have helped me well in life. Thanks to wrestling I was able to roll with the punches of life and get back up when knocked to the ground.

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