A place of pain,
A place of comfort,
The wrestling room is a paradoxical place. It represents strength and vulnerability. Competition and cooperation.
For many wrestlers, their wrestling room is a type of home. They know it, the routine, and people who are associated with it, and they feel comfortable there. On the contrary, it is also an uncomfortable place. It is where wrestlers have to move out of their comfort zone and to try new things. Where they often fail over and over again to eventually become better.
Many friendships are formed in a wrestling room; there’s just something about suffering, working hard and accomplishing something with people that creates a bond like no other. Some of my best friends have been made in a wrestling room (or in multiple wrestling rooms). The camaraderie of wrestling is unlike any I have ever seen before. There forms a brother or sisterhood between people, and you know that your people have your back.
It is a place of failure but also a place of improvement. Practices are hard, and often require a lot of trying over and over again. You have to put your moves to the test, and most of the time they don’t work on the first try, or the second… but maybe on the 102nd try. As they do work in the wrestling room, people are broken, but champions are made.
Long days and nights are often accompanied with wrestling. Coming early to practice, or staying later after to get better. The wrestling room lays wait for wrestlers to come take advantage of being on the mat. Competitions and tournaments are all day events, and so those long days are a time to show what you have been doing in your long practice days.
It is a place of respect. Respect of your coaches, your teammates, the mats, and respect of yourself. In our wrestling room, we listen to our coaches, do what they say, and shake their hands after practice. You respect your teammates, even if you don’t like them; part of that respect means not going easy on them, and being a good partner. Helping them when they need it, and lifting them up when necessary. You respect your opponents and their coaches. You both are trying to be the best, and you need to recognize and respect that. You respect the mats and other equipment that is needed for the sport. And you respect yourself. You hold your head high, keep your composure, and work hard to reach your potential.
The wrestling room is so many things depending on who you ask. A place of learning, of strength, of hard work.
For me, it is all of those things… it is home.