Winter break is here and I haven’t even really realized it yet. Honestly I’ve been so busy with everything that it’s hard to keep track of time sometimes. I guess you just get in that mind set of, “just get through today” and before you know it’s the end of first semester. I will admit though I’ve had way to many irons in the fire for way to long and it does feel good to finally get them all taken care of. Right now I’m just focused on getting through my finals and then focus on wrestling all of winter break. Times will be aim much simpler in a week from today. By this time I’ll be on my way down to Cape Girardeau to go and wrestle in the a tournament.
So the book party is tonight and I’m not quite sure what to expect. I mean like I know to expect, but I don’t know what emotions I’m going to feel. I’ll be coming straight from practice so I’m sure I’ll be sore, tired, and hungry, but I’m sure if I’m going to be proud or embarrassed about my book. Don’t get me wrong I already am proud from what I have already accomplished so far, but personally I don’t think I’m very good at writing. So this semster with all the blogging and stuff has definitely been a big leap for me.
So this weekend truly marks the beginning of the wrestling season. In the past I would be dreading this weekend, but not this year. In the past I didn’t have much self confidence since I was an “above average” wrestler that was maybe one or two wins over .500. But not this year, this is going to be totally different. I’ve been wrestling year round now and have put in to much time and effort to be “average”. This year I’m more than confident in my skills and the fact that I made the cut for Free Style State this past spring is definitely a confidence booster. My coaches know of my potential and have been kicking my butt for the past 6 months in practice and the weight room. So to say I’m ready is an understatement. Last year my season was cut short due to an injury and I was just starting to hit my stride when it happened. I was in the quarter finals match of the Suburban West Tournament (which has 30 plus teams) and I was devistated. I ended up winning that match and fought through the agonizing pain to only find out that I literally destroyed my ankle in the process. Still to this day I believe it was worth it. I like to think that in that particular moment I proved something to myself and everyone that was watching that I’m not just gonna roll up, but put some tape on it and keep fighting. Anyways I’m ready for this weekend and this season.
I looking forward to Thursday! For the past 3 weeks I have been cutting weight for wrestling and it is indescribable. I’ve cut 26 pounds so far and I have 10 more to go. When I tell people this I usually get a look of confusion or of disgust. Usually followed by a comment of, “Why do you do that?” Because inorder for me to achieve my goals in this sport I have to be willing to do some not so fun things and push the limit. But anyways, the reason I’m so excited for Thursday is because that is the day we certify for our weight classes. So wrestling gets a bad rep because you here about wrestlers losing a ton of weight in a short amount of time and then having health issues. So now before the season starts you take a hydration and body fat test by a specialist. They then take your results and find out how much weight your allowed to lose per week. So you want to be as low as possible when you certify. When you certify your usually at your weakest, both physically and mentally, because you literally haven’t eaten in days and you just don’t have any energy. So once you certify you get to eat as much as possible to try and get your strength back. So for the past 3 weeks I have had nothing to eat except chicken breast, broccoli, calaflower, protein shakes and water (I’m not kidding when I said that). So after we certify in Thursday the team is going to Mulligan’s and just inhale anything they can get there hands on. It’s kinda like a way of celebrating another successful and “healthy” certification. Thursday is so close, but it seems so far away!
If I had to spend 24 hours in a store and couldn’t remove anything, I would choose The Bass Pro Pyramid. It by far is coolest thing ever and has everything you could ever imagine! It’s really more than a store too, it’s actually a resort for outdoorsmen. I don’t even know if 24 hours would be enough time to fully experience everything it has to offer! I’m literally freaking out while I type this because I want to go so bad and it’s so cool! If you have ever been to a Bass Pro, Cabelas, Gander Mountain etc. You know those shops have stuff everywhere! So just imagine that x 20!
There once was a boy named Jonah.
One day when Jonah walked into school he found boxes full of seeds all over the lobby. Before he even had the chance to figure out what all the commotion was about, the teacher spoke, “All right class, settle down, settle down. Thank you.” She continued, “Today marks the start of our class project. Everyone will choose a seed to plant and grow.” Now everyone make a line and we will begin to choose your seeds!”
As a swarm of kids formed a line, Jonah seemed to get lost in the a scuffle and ultimately ended up at the end. At first he was a little discouraged that he wouldn’t get a seed, but once it was his turn to receive it all of his worries vanished.
“I’ll have a pumpkin seed please!”, Jonah proclaimed. The teacher replied, “I’m sorry, Jonah, we’re out of pumpkin seeds but I have this mustard seed that is still available.” Jonah, with a crushed spirit, simply just stuck out his hand while the teacher dropped a spec of a seed into his hand.
As days turned into weeks and weeks into months, rather than finding Jonah in the front yard with his pals, you would find him in the backyard nurturing his seed. Soon enough the last day of school was upon them and everyone couldn’t stop talking about the giant pumpkins they had just saw.
Soon enough it was Jonah’s turn and the teacher turned to Jonah and said, “Jonah where is your mustard seed?”. Jonah replied, ” It’s in my backyard”.
So on they went to Jonah’s house which was a short walk from school. The class entered Jonah’s backyard, and immediately threw there heads completely back to try and see the top of the giant tree that had formed. Rather than looking for Jonah’s seed the class ran to the tree (that was as big as the house) and tried to climb it.
The teacher, now concerned exclaimed, “Jonah where is your mustard seed?”, with a slight grin Jonah replied. “There all playing on it.” Suddenly the class stopped what they were doing and gazed upon upon the biggest thing they have ever seen. The teacher said, “See, Jonah, anything is possible with a little determination!”
So I’m sure most of you have heard about us losing Friday night to Eureka which ultimately ended our season. Which I’m sure most of you are pretty happy about since now you won’t have to listen to me talk about it 24/7. It really hasn’t quite hit me yet though. I mean I know it’s over, but I’m still kind of in shock. I guess it won’t really hit me until next season or when I’m completely done with wrestling. I think the hardest part about not being able to play football anymore is the fact that I’m forced to let go of that bond that was forged with my teammates for the past 9 years. Don’t get me wrong I will miss being able to just smack the s**t out of someone legally and all of those pep assembly’s and pack bleachers, but none of that stuff was possible with out my teammates. The guys who were always there to pick me up when I fell and always there to back me up no matter the situation.
As most of you may know I am a football player through and through. As a kid I was always dreaming of those Friday nights when I would get my name announced over the intercom system and run onto that field. Eventually that dream came true and I was able to cherish every second of it, but now it’s gone and the only things I have left are memories. When most people look back at there career in anything they experience regret. They regret not going hard enough in some drill or not doing perfecting their shooting form when they had the chance, but not me. I can confidently reassure myself that I gave my all in every single practice and summer workout football threw at me. Ya it sucked but, all those hours of hard work and fatigue ultimately made me who I am today and transformed a bench warming junior into an all conference Senior. I’ve always liked to think that I might have lacked a lot of physical and God given attributes such as, strength, quickness, and speed, but I have never lacked one of the attributes that I can control, perseverance. Even though I have been fortunate enough to play in many of my sporting events growing up with a great team. I’ve never really gone far as an individual in my life until last year when I qualified for state in wrestling. These are some words that I try to remember when I’m feeling sorry for myself and I want to quit. Also, the words that transformed me from winning one match freshman year, to being a contender at state my junior year.
Every champion was once a contender that refused to give up.
Rolling with the punches
In the fall of 2012 a young freshman me, exited his football season undefeated and a little bit cockier than usual. Basically, I thought I was God’s gift to this earth and since I was a starter for the FRESHMAN TEAM that people would actually respect/fear me that much more. I felt that I have worked so hard this past season that I deserve some credit and some respect for my accomplishments. One day after a final season football meeting the head coach for the wrestling team walked in the door and started to talk to us about wrestling and the wonders it would do for our strength and stamina as an athlete. At first I was like “This is so gay, why would I want to grab sweaty dudes for fun?”, but then as he talked more and more about becoming a BA and winning state titles I stated to want and try it. So I ended up going to a couple of practices anyways just to humor the coaches and some friends, but still not grasping the concept of the sport. I truly was just doing it to stay in shape for football and try and get out of off season weight training. The second I stepped onto that mat I felt something special, I found another home for the next four years. During the next 3 months I found a sport that pushed the limits. A sport that challenged me both mentally and physically. A sport that could break your hopes and dreams in half a second and then shoot you back up into the stars the next. A sport that I instantly fell in love with. The learning curve was very steep. At the time there wasn’t really a freshman coach so we were thrown into the mix with the varsity. It was terrible! Everyday I would get my face rubbed in the mat and constantly had to do punishment sprints for losing to state finalists as a freshman. Many quit and only a handful stuck around and endured the pain of whatever was thrown our way. I ended up only winning one match freshman year and finished a little under .500 my sophomore year. Which was basically due to the fact that I was just a lot stronger than most people not because I really got better. Last year wasn’t really that much better. I just came out of the football season only seeing the field a handful of games and truly thinking about not wrestling that year and just do some soul searching. During my transitional period of one week from football to wrestling I realized one thing. I realized that all of the people that have their name engraved on plaques or are known for an achievement weren’t quitters. They were contenders, they were always hungry and were never satisfied with the thought as “average” or “pretty good”. No, they wanted to be known as the best and nothing else. So now I either need to suck it up or quit. I wasn’t going to do anything half ass that year. So I ended up showing up the first day of practice with a chip on my shoulder and a point to prove. A point that “ I wasn’t going to be pushed around this year and people are going to half to break me in order beat me”. Last year was one of the best for me. I was on a hot streak of 8-2 and had a lot of momentum entering a very competitive and huge tournament, The Suburban West Tournament. 30 plus teams were entered in it and it was easily one of the biggest tournaments in the state. In my second match of the tournament I encountered a serious high ankle sprain and was told that I was going to be out for the rest of season. I ended up wrestling my last three matches and winning 2 of them. At the end of the weekend I not only had a high ankle sprain but, had a mid foot sprain, tore all of the ligaments in my ankle and ruptured my growth plate. My season was over and yet again wrestling threw a punch that I didn’t see coming.
Becoming a Contender
After the season I got an invitation and in the mail about a opportunity to join a off season wrestling team and compete in off season tournaments to better improve my skills. I immediately thought “This is my opportunity” and I seized the moment. I was now wrestling with one of the best clubs in the area and soon found out yet again, that I had a lot to learn. For the next 2 months I got my butt kicked relentlessly and with no opportunity to prove myself. After constant beatings and ice baths I was able to compete in my first tournament in April and ended up tasting gold! I won 4 gold for more times that season and ended up qualifying for state! Now I’m no longer the punching bag but, the contender. This year I hope to go as far as I can and hopefully become the champ.
So this week kicks off the start of playoffs! Any athlete that’s truly committed to his/her team or sport can tell you that this time of year is the best part of the season by far. All teams are now 0-0 and it only takes one loss or one big play to make or break your season. Traditionally Marquette hasn’t performed the strongest during the playoffs or the regular season, but this season is different. We have athletes all across the board. I like to think that there are two types of competitors when it comes to competitions. There is the hunter and the hunted (I know a little cliché), but there is definitely a difference between the two. Most people like to think the hunted is the one that is over confident and thinks is invincible, which is partially true. While the hunter is the under dog that usually will win by having more heart or passion. I will admit that I do believe in that theory to an extent. But I do not believe that theory applies to this years team. Our regular season record is 7-2 and a lot of people like to refer our team as “one of the best teams Marquette has ever had”, which according to the stats, we are. But I still like to think that our team has the hunter mindset. I like to think that the hunter usually controls the tempo of the competition and is confident with every move he makes. While the hunted is more timid and unconfident is his skills. Which means any team or individual could be the hunter or hunted. Personally, I like to believe that I have more of the hunter aspect when it comes to sports. I want to come out and dominate right off the bat, letting my opponent know that this is my moment and nothing that he does is going to change it. I like to think many of my teammates think the same way as well. When your the hunter you also have to know how to win. When I say “how to win”, I mean, you have to know how to put yourself in the best position to succeed. You have to be willing to go outside and practice when it’s raining and cold and still give forth your best effort. You have to be willing to get up at 6 o’clock in the morning to go watch film and lift weights when your tired and muscles your ache. Which we all have done collectively as a team. We’re ready to change the way others look at Marquette and history.
When the starting left guard of the Broncos’ offensive line goes down during the two minute drill, benchwarmer Brody Daniels is forced off the pine and onto the turf. Daniels awkwardly takes the field as a visiting team member, the same exact field where he played last year as a part of the home team. The Broncos are behind on the scoreboard and now Brody has to face the enemy team that he knows all too well. As he digs his cleats in the ground, memories of hatred rush through his head and he realizes that now is his time to settle the score on the scoreboard as well as in life.