Wrestling is under-appreciated
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At Palatine High School, few parents and students attend wrestling meets to support their wrestlers. Yet at football games, the bleachers are overflowing with students. Wrestling is a very uncommon, unique sport, that is only becoming less popular.
“It’s a no-cut sport,” Senior wrestler, Jose Aragon said. “People automatically assume it doesn’t take skill, so anyone can join the team.”
Palatine High School only has 11 wrestlers on varsity, while wrestling consists of 14 weight classes. They’re forced to forfeit weight classes that they don’t have wrestlers at, allowing their opponents team points. Some wrestle at the same weight class, forming a total of 10 weight classes. When other teams are fortunate enough to have more wrestlers, not everyone gets to wrestle.
“None of the sports in high school are popular unless they’re popular in America, such as basketball, football and baseball,” Senior wrestler, Samuel Cercas said. “They just don’t find it as entertaining as any other sports.”
Cercas and Aragon both agree that their wrestling singlet has contributed a lot for why wrestling isn’t as popular as it should be. Singlets are form fitting, one-piece uniforms made from spandex material.
“They’ve even proven it,” Aragon said. “The majority of good athletes that don’t wrestle in high school is because they don’t want to wear a singlet.”
“I wrestle because my brother did it,” Senior wrestler at Palatine High School,Chris Flores said. “I just kept doing it because I didn’t do any other sport. I had football, but that got boring and I sucked. I had soccer. That was fun, but I wasn’t really a soccer player. So I just stuck with wrestling because it’s fun, and I like beating people up.”
Flores explains what attracted him to wrestling. He has been wrestling since freshman year, along with Aragon and Cercas. They all go on to explain why they think wrestling is so unique.
“It teaches you life lessons,” Aragon said. “All the coaches always say when you’re older and have a job, you gotta get there on time always. And you have to manage your nutrition way more than any other sport.”
Wrestlers often struggle with staying in their weight classes. If a wrestler is a pound over their weight class, they aren’t allowed to wrestle. It’s important to eat healthy food in order to maintain weight, and energized to wrestle.
Cercas explains the advantage of wrestling. He believes that because it’s such an individual sport, it’s even better. If he wins, Cercas feels as though it’s a reward for all the hard work he’s put in. Or if he loses, he can’t blame anyone else.
“It’s either you won or lost,” Cercas said. “It’s a good anti-depressant.”