It was an early morning in 2016 in a small town called Beaumont. A fresh new week to start off the winter season. It was not too hot, not too cold but just the right weather for a young overweight sophomore to start his first day of wrestling. A day that he would most likely remember for the rest of his life. This young fat boy is me Timothy. I was 5’9, weighed about 240 pounds, and was mainly made up of fat and had a little bit of muscle at the time. I barely had any stamina to begin with. I did have a year of football experience which honestly did nothing to really help, except for the weight lifting I was taught. Furthermore, nothing I knew at the time could help me to endure wrestling. If you didn’t have any drive, or a sense of will power, than you were done right there in the first day of practice.
In any other sport, if you didn’t make the cut you were out. Yet the wrestling team wasn’t like any other sport. Students that didn’t make the wrestling team had quit, they were never cut. At the time I didn’t really believe that wrestling was that tough. So I asked one of the coaches if I could join the team and he said “Yeah, if you want you could start early before the season starts.” I said, “Yes, of course.” Looking back, I didn’t really think about the decision I made to start wreslting before the actual season began but, it literally saved me from a week embarrassment during the junior varsity practice. I assumed the coach was looking for students that would join because their JV team wasn’t fully equipped, which means there weren’t enough students on the team. The team needed roughly twenty-four students and they barely had half. The reason coaches wanted roughly twenty-four students is because if anyone got hurt, they can have a “second string” to take their place if needed.
Practice started right after school at 3:15 p.m so we barely had enough time to get dressed and stretch. I felt fine at the beginning of practice, but it would quickly turn upside down once we started the conditioning part of practice. This was no ordinary conditioning because we wouldn’t just run, we would sprint, we would carry each other about 100 yards and then switch and we also run up and down stairs. When that was all over, if the coach felt that we didn’t give it our all, we would run some more however he saw fit. Once we were done with this, we would continue with our warm ups which was a five to ten minutes of a “light” workout, but it didn’t feel like an easy workout after all the conditioning we had just done. After this we started to stretch out parts of our body that I have never stretched before like our necks, our back, and even our wrists.While we were stretching our necks we were basically forcing our backs to get into an angle where we could stretch our necks and funny enough it also stretched out our wrists as well.
After stretching, our coach went over the rules of wrestling which took about ten to twenty minutes. The way he was describing it was short, simple, but very confusing to someone new. Next, we got into pairs and he showed us a couple of moves, which he expected us to know after several minutes of practicing with one another. After several more new moves and several more attempts to learn the moves with our partner, we were moving on toward the end of practice which meant live wrestling. Live wrestling is when we get in groups of four with people that are closest to your weight where two people are wrestling and two people are coaching and making sure the two people that are wrestling aren’t crashing into other groups. Yet, my experience wasn’t the best because the people in my group were all varsity players and had a lot more experience than I did. So when it was my turn to wrestle, I was basically taking a beating every single time. I was also told by Danny, one of the varsity wrestlers, that I was very “passive and not aggressive enough.” Which I later took into consideration. When live wrestling was over, we would do another ten to fifteen minutes of conditioning, which included different types of pushups, sit-ups, burpees, and other types of exercises that were extremely hard. After my first day of practice, I felt good in a way but I also very exhausted. From that point forward I would continue doing wrestling and continue to grow with my teammates, even though my coach thought I was going to quit because for the first few weeks he would always ask me “Are you going to come back tomorrow?”
After a couple weeks of off-season practice, we would finally hit the regular wrestling season, which meant I would be practicing with the junior varsity coach and junior varsity wrestlers. This practice started at 5:45 p.m. when it was basically almost night time. When it first started, we did the regular warm ups we did during the off-season but we ended up doing more conditioning than the varsity players. We also practice with the varsity girls which was very awkward but we adapted pretty quickly. After weeks of non-stop practice and extra conditioning, I finally get to have my first wrestling match which was during a dual wrestling tournament. This is where two schools would line up all their best wrestlers and match them by weight with the other schools wrestlers and the way it worked out is with whoevers wrestlers would win, that team would gain a point and whoever gets the most points is the team that will win the tournament.
Our very first team dual was against Big Bear and they had a full-sized team just like ours. We started the dual with the lighter weights and then moved on to the heavy weights, which gave me time to take in the experience that I was wrestling with my team. Not only was I soaking in the experience, but it also gave me another reason to do my best seeing that everyone before me gave it their all so I didn’t want to disappoint them. When it came time for me to wrestle, since I was the very last one, I was hiped and full of energy until I was informed that I was wrestling a girl. She was a few inches taller than me and looked more muscular than I did. It was one of the most uncomfortable experiences I have ever had. Yet since I already wrestled varsity girls on our team, it wasn’t too bad but it was still weird because I was wrestling in front of an audience and my team. I didn’t want to hurt her but at the same time, I couldn’t let my team down. So I dragged out the match because I was trying to find a way to win by not using too much force. In the third period I finally pinned her in the last couple of seconds. After this match I had several more matches and I did not hold anything back and was able to pin my opponents in the first period.
Wrestling has been a big part of my life since and has changed me physically and mentally. I started off at 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighing around 240 pounds and after three years of wrestling I grew two inches and lost a couple of pounds. Now I stand at 5 feet 11 inches and weigh about 200 pounds. But my physique is not the only thing that has changed. My stamina, strength, flexibility, and durability has also changed for the better. Because of wrestling, I have become more humble of how I act and treat others. I’m much more respectful now than I was before and I’m also a bit more outgoing. Wrestling has made me a better person and has also made me continue to workout consistently, which helps me manage my everyday life.