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Panthers Sports

What makes a wrestler

Posted Thursday, December 09, 2010 by Jason Flynn

The Pulse: What does it mean to be a wrestler?

Published on October 13, 2010 by viratas   ·   6 Comments

The Pulse: A Survey of Contemporary Wrestling Topics

By Josh Liebman – Special to The Open Mat

What does it mean to be a wrestler? To me it means a lot of things, right off the bat it means you are an original, any one that commits to being a wrestler is committing to go against the grain.

Wrestlers have a little empty room in there belly on thanksgiving while everyone else is stuffed. Wrestlers are home sleeping when others are out on the town. Wrestlers are in hot gyms in places like Fargo and Oklahoma City during the summer while their friends are on the beach at the Jersey shore or Venice beach. A wrestler is committed to winning for no other reason then they have a drive to be the best PERIOD.

But the most important thing about being a wrestler is you are a part of a family, a few years back I was in a airport wearing a tee shirt for Fowler wrestling “school in Syracuse NY” a man came up to me and said hey are you a wrestler? I told him I no longer wrestled but I coached. He proceeded to tell me about how he wrestled in the 70’s and his sons were wrestlers now, Imagine if I was wearing a Yankees jersey would he have come up to me and asked if I played baseball? To me being a wrestler is about more than wins, losses championships, and broken hearts. It’s about more that making weight and getting seeded, it’s about more than pinning your opponent or fighting off your back. A wrestler is a part of the greatest family and fraternity in the world, the friends you make in wrestling are friends for life, and you can’t say that about basketball.

Below several people from our wrestling community share their thoughts.

Jake Herbert: NCAA Champion and World Silver Medalist

Anyone can buy wrestling shoes and step on a mat and wrestle with someone but that doesn’t make them a wrestler. Being a wrestler is much more. It’s doing the things most people won’t do which make you a wrestler. Coming back to the same piece of mat day in and day out and putting all your energy, all your focus, all your hard work, your blood, sweat and glory for just minuets of wrestling in a gym that seats less than 200 people. Being able to go from best friend to sworn enemy and back again in a matter of minutes that’s what being a wrestler is all about.
Having to work harder than any other sport while having to diet or do the extra work-out after practice just so you are down to weight. That’s being a wrestler.

We are not on TV, we don’t get top plays, we don’t make the big bucks but we out work, out train and out live every other sport. We do it because we love it. It’s what we were born to do, its how we were brought up, we are the blue color workers of sports and we love what we are because being a wrestler isn’t just saying you play a sport, being a wrestler is a life style

Quentin B. W. Wright: NCAA All American

What makes me a wrestler?

I believe this question really should be rephrased to wrestling has MADE me. I believe everyone in the world can be a wrestler. Everyone is born to wrestle. It’s how we play out on the play ground, it’s the double legs we call tackles, it’s the sucker punch from behind but we get back up to hit him back.

Wrestling might be one of the only sports that cause the individual to be completely responsible of his own outcome. When a wrestler is wrestling his opponent he has to take full responsibility for his actions in the match. Every second counts. There are rules that he has to abide by but he still has the ability to interpret them anyway he wants. He can be either a hard nose wrestler or a slick not very physical wrestler. Some wrestlers try to blame the referee for their outcome but the referees are there to make sure each wrestler is abiding by the rules. No matter how close the match is and no matter how the referee is for the home wrestler or against his opponent the ultimate deciding factor in the match is each wrestler. This is the beauty of wrestling.

The skills learned in wrestling teach us that we are responsible for everything WE DO in life. That does not mean that we are responsible for everything that happens but we DO have a CHOICE in how we react to it. I would like to point out one of the most exciting moments in wrestling this past season when Jason Ness got taken down by Daniel Dennis, a minute left in the third period and causing the score to be 4-1. Also, during the take down Ness’s eyes were spinning because he hit his head hard on Dennis’s knee. Ness had to take an injury time. During that time, he had a choice to make. Am I going to get back up and fight with everything I have for the win? Or am I going to use the excuse that I have a mild concussion from hitting my head hard and I can’t get off of bottom? He chose to come up fighting. You could see it in his eyes that he was not going to let life have the upper hand. He fought a hard last minute in the third and it took Ness every second of that last minute but it paid off in the last 7 seconds Ness got the take down and back points for the win. I would not call Dennis the loser either. The experience gained from that set back will help shape him in the future. He is getting back up and most likely tougher than ever!

New Orleans was knocked down but the Saints proved last January that they are tougher then they ever have been. That’s why I don’t say, “What makes me a wrestler” but rather, “Wrestling has Made me!

Dave Zabriskie: NCAA Champion

To me there are three things that define me as a wrestler and they all go hand in hand.

These would be hard work, dedication, and heart. These three traits have helped lead me too most of my success. My dedication helps me stay focused on the task at hand and helps me differentiate between the things I need to do to become the best and the things I can do without that do not contribute to me accomplishing my goals. Hard work helps me make the improvements I need to gain on the next guy or to distance myself from the rest of the pack. It is the hard work that puts in the extra effort during practice to make the guys I wrestle in tournaments seem easy.

Finally there is heart, which I think is the most important. A wrestler with heart is a man that never gives up and never stops wrestling. He is relentless. In his mind he cannot lose or see himself losing. He wrestles from whistle to whistle and battles in every position giving up nothing. These three traits are what make me a wrestler and anyone with these traits is on the right track and bound for success.

Andy Hrovat: NCAA All American and Olympic Team Member

What makes you a wrestler?

I have no idea what truly makes me a wrestler since I started at such a young age. I believe I was born to wrestle. There are a few things that help to my advantage as a wrestler, like the fact that I was born strong. What really draws me to wrestling is being able to learn the sport.

Wrestling is very complex because you can be tall or short, skinny or muscular and there is no advantage in a certain body type because it comes down to searching, finding, and perfecting the technique that works best for you.

I learned in high school from one of my coaches at the time Tadaki Hatta about tactics. He taught me to never lose to the same wrestler twice. It sounds simple but it is far from simple. In wrestling you can have the same game plan every time you go out and wrestle but eventually your competition will evolve and leave you in the dust. So if you are constantly losing to a certain wrestler you can make the smallest of changes which can lead to a whole different out come. I remember in college my freshman year at the Virginia Duals I lost to a wrestler who was ranked in the top 8 by about 10 points. I was mopped up the mat by this guy and what made it worse is the very next weekend we had to dual them in Michigan. Coach McFarland made one small adjustment to my game plan and the next week I won the match by maybe 10 points. It is not common in college to have a 20 point swing in the span of one week.

I think this is what makes me continue to be a wrestler at 30 years of age. It is the one on one competition and it is the mental aspect. I love learning to beat great wrestlers by changing a small aspect of my game plan and seeing it pay off. There is nothing better in wrestling when your opponent is preparing for the old you, the one he has wrestled many times, the one he has had success against in the past and then beating him because you have changed your strategy going into the match to something your opponent never saw coming.

Josh Dziewa: Junior National Champ, Pennsylvania State Champion and Top Recruit for The University of Iowa

My dad is what and who created me into a wrestler. For as long as I remember he has been preaching hard work and dedication. Always telling me the sky is the limit. I have taken everything he has taught and preached and molded it into who I am now.

The attitude is to never settle for less than gold. I am a wrestler because I am willing to go through the grind. I love training for the physical pain but even more so, the mental pain. I’ve never known a life outside of a wrestler. It’s all I’ve ever been and it is what I hope to one day give back to the world. I think, breath, eat, sleep, dream, and scream and live wrestling. That is what makes me a wrestler. TRAIN LIKE A MADMAN!

**I would like to thank the COUNCIL ROCK SOUTH GOLDEN HAWKS coaching staff and wrestling team for teaching me what it truly meant to train. They showed me how much hard work and time this sport really takes, and therefore, prepared me for the “second period” of this adventure.

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