A Season: Wrestling

The baggy sweats hang off his legs. His head gear dangling from his hip. His fingers drum his chin as he sits in the stands waiting for his turn to wrestle.  The wrestlers are called by weight class, and he makes his way to the tables to get his assignment.  He's given a mat number and heads that way. Warming up by jumping and swinging his arms, he waits. The previous match is over and he pulls off his hoodie, and his sweat pants.  He slips on the top of his singlet and snaps his head gear into place. Taking his place on the mat, he reaches down and grabs the green or red strap, velcroing it onto his leg. Standing up he shakes hands with his opponent and the referee signals for the match to start. It starts with circling, hands out in front, knees bent into a crouch as they each look for an opening to shoot in and grab the other's legs. Strength against strength. Yet it is more than that, it's mental and it's technique and it's experience. The matches last for three minutes at the most, then it's sitting in the stands, waiting and watching. Another round of matches and it happens again, and another round. Each time, more experience is gained, more time sizing up the opponent, more trying techniques out, more mental toughness built. A season for a sport that is physically and mentally challenging. A season that requires dedication. A season that is so personal. The wins, the losses can only be attributed to each individual wrestler. Did he work hard enough during practice? Is his head in the match? Has he won or lost before stepping on the match because of the mental aspect?  So far in the season, he has had 10 matches.  In those 10, he won 2 by pins, 2 by points, one by forfeit. He lost 2 by pins, and 3 by points. He's 50%. Three tournaments, and the lowest weight class: 106. He's wrestling kids that outweigh him by 12 pounds. He's learning. Each morning practice he goes to starts at 6:15 and then the afternoon practices end at 5. Snow days he still makes it to the optional practices. He's learning and he loves it.

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