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What it means to be a wrestler

Senior+Jamie+Martinez+is+one+of+the+important+pieces+to+the+successful+2017-2018+season.
Senior Jamie Martinez is one of the important pieces to the successful 2017-2018 season.

Senior Jamie Martinez is one of the important pieces to the successful 2017-2018 season.

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Senior Jamie Martinez is one of the important pieces to the successful 2017-2018 season.

Eduardo Orozco, Contributor

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It is easy for many to look at wrestling from an outside perspective and make harsh judgements about the sport. There are the typical problems people have with the singlet uniform, the skin infections, the practice conditions, and; ultimately, the idea of “guys rolling around together,” as many describe it.

Despite these largely misinformed perceptions, wrestling does so much for anyone who accepts the challenge of getting through the season. I just finished my sixth, and probably last, year of wrestling a couple weeks ago and as I look back, I know the sport has left a profound impact on my way of life.

The high school wrestling season usually starts up around November and continues for what will be the toughest but most rewarding three or four months of a person’s life. The season involves a series of meets where the team wrestles against other schools facing wrestlers in their respective weight classes, which range from 106-285lbs. There are individual tournaments throughout the year as well and all this leads to the conference tournament. Post-season wrestling involves a regional, sectional, and state tournament followed by team state series.

The sport without a doubt makes those that invest time into it mentally stronger. This trait is something that carries over into every aspect of life. It is what has helped me push myself to be the best I can be in anything I do.”

For many, the first two weeks are ones that bring about a soreness unlike anything they’ve ever felt. While every sport has this soreness period as the athletes’ bodies adjust physically to the new condition, the soreness felt at wrestling seems unparalleled. The sport requires constant use of almost every muscle in your body and by the end of the first week, wrestlers are feeling soreness from muscles they didn’t even know they could work out.

All this occurs in a typical wrestling room that is kept warm for constant sweating that plays into the conditioning and weight management part of the sport. Wrestlers weigh in at every competition and they must not exceed their respective weight class or their team forfeits the spot. This brings about a strong significance on nutrition and conditioning outside of the sport.

One of the greatest things about wrestling is the dedication one must give to the sport if they hope to do well and to help the team. It doesn’t just end with a three hour practice every day but continues with late night or early morning runs, extra hours at the gym, and sacrificing certain foods for the sake of the team.

Wrestling may be a team sport but it is just as much individual competition as it is team. In no other high school contact sport do two competitors compete face to face. There is no one on the mat beside you to assist or offer moral support like a lineman might do in football. It is what makes competition as much a mind game as a test of physical ability.

The sport without a doubt makes those that invest time into it mentally stronger. This trait is something that carries over into every aspect of life. It is what has helped me push myself to be the best I can be in anything I do. Wrestling has helped me grow as a person in so many ways that others feel it too.

Coach Keske, our head coach, talks about “giving back to the sport” and now I understand what he means. The sport does so much for those that take it seriously and power through it and they will carry with them that experience their whole lives.

I’ve had the pleasure of wrestling for Palatine the last four years of my life. Every year when the season comes around, I gain a second family with my team. Few things are as euphoric as completing a workout that pushes your body more than you ever thought was possible so when I have teammates that know what I’m feeling, it creates a strong bond. Unlike many schools in the conference, Palatine does not have many wrestlers with much experience.

They are young and a bit inexperienced but like all Palatine teams, they are tough. This year we had a much younger team and we competed well. Danny Vega, a junior, was conference champion at 220lbs and younger teammates like Gio Jackson, Brian Fernandez, and Rand Paddock did outstanding in their conference competitions as well. There was lots of growth that makes everyone very excited for next year.

Although I’m going to be graduating this year, I will always hold a strong connection to my high school sports. The saying, “Once a Pirate, always a Pirate,” doesn’t resonate as much until it’s finally over. I know the team is in good hands and am excited to see how the program continues to grow.

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1 Comment

One Response to “What it means to be a wrestler”

  1. Ashley on February 23rd, 2018 2:23 pm

    I agree with what you need to do in order to live through the wrestling season you need to be dedicated to th sport. And also I like how in sports the team is your second family.

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