What I Have Learned From The Greatest Sport
By Ty Clark
F. J. Turner High School, Beloit, Wisconsin
March 04, 2003


   I was born in October, just in time for the beginning of the wrestling season. Since I was born, I was always around wrestling for my dad was and still is a coach. As I grew up, I idolized wrestlers and everyone in the wrestling community. Not always just the best wrestlers, the ones standing atop the podium at the end of the year, but also some who failed to reach that top step. Don't get me wrong; I did also venerate the champions, probably more so when I was younger and hadn't learned what the sport was all about.

   Being around the state tournament, I have many vivid memories, but one that struck me the most and has remained with me was when a wrestler from my conference who was undefeated lost in the state finals. Within ten minutes of getting his silver medal, he was out in the hallways playing football with his friends, laughing, and having a good time, while that silver medal dangled from his neck. He didn't feel at all that he had failed. Winning a state championship did not determine success in his mind, rather accomplishing what he could satisfied him. From the state tournament, I learned that losing is not failure and success doesn't necessarily pertain to winning.

   Being around varsity wrestlers, I have seen first hand the hard work that it took to win. I didn't always learn this from the best wrestlers either. I learned this from my brother. In middle school, he had a record of 4-11. He worked hard, wrestling and lifting throughout the spring and summer, and eventually made it to state and placed fourth as a sophomore. He was injured at state and tried to wrestle again the next two years, but it just did not work out. Before he had to call an end to his career, I learned what it took to make oneself tough. I admired my brother for all the work he put in, and I vowed to work as hard and even harder than he did. From wrestlers, I learned about work ethic.

   Being around beginning wrestlers, I have learned about The Little Train That Could. I have seen beginning wrestlers stick at it even after losing 90% of their matches. I have seen how big the hearts of true champions are. I remember watching one wrestler who won only a couple matches out of a hundred keep trying and refusing to give up. After a couple years of hard work, he qualified for state as a junior and had a remarkable record. I respect him for his hard work and refusal to give in. From beginning wrestlers, I have learned to persevere through any challenge and obstacle that arises.

   Being around coaches, I have learned about the love for the sport and life itself. Our past coach is the epitome of a perfect person: Passionate, caring, God loving, and committed. While coaching, he'd do anything for his wrestlers, and now it's evident to me that this commitment is carried over in his life also. He has served missionary duties in his retirement and still attends many wrestling events. Just like he was committed to his wrestlers, he is committed to fellow beings and is still committed to the sport. From coaches, I've learned that passion and commitment are key aspects of life.

   Being from a wrestling family, I have learned much about how wrestling pertains to life. From my dad, I've learned to be humble. Win or lose, the reaction should be the same. One should expect success, but one should also accept defeat when it arises. My dad volunteers thousands of hours of his service to many causes and expects no recognition whatsoever. I admire anyone who has enough humility to not expect nor want recognition for good deeds or success. From my family, I have learned that true champions are judged by their humility.

   All of what I have learned from wrestling would not mean anything if I had not pertained it to my life. I have used the skills I have learned from wrestling in everything that I do. I put my whole heart and all of my effort into every aspect of my life. I strive to outwork everyone in everything that I do. When a challenge or defeat comes up, I use what I have learned to persevere until the very end. When things do not go my way, and I know that there is nothing I can change about what has happened, I take what I have learned and accept that how much I have accomplished, not how much I have not, is the true measure of success. I advise you to take some time and think about what you have honestly learned from wrestling, and then you will know how lucky you are to be involved in "The Greatest Sport".