Wrestling is a sport of obsession, and from the outside looking in, it may often appear as an unhealthy one. However, my relationship with the sport of wrestling has contributed tremendously to my ability to enhance my mental and physical health.
I can understand why cutting weight, grueling practices, and the countless cuts, scrapes, and bruises accumulated throughout one’s training can be perceived as not at all conducive to a happy and healthy lifestyle. Nevertheless, the camaraderie of wrestling and the spirit of shared struggle that permeates the wrestling community (not just limited to, but certainly embodied by, the Horace Mann wrestling team) generates a support system that transcends any division. Everybody is welcome on the wrestling mat, and nobody will be judged by any characteristic other than their desire to improve and passion to grow as an athlete and a person.
In my case, wrestling provided me with a community that begins at Horace Mann but extends far beyond it.
Prior to wrestling, I never felt welcome in athletic settings. I was never a naturally competitive individual and was plagued for years by fears of my own inadequacies. In my mind, I was too fat, too slow, and too nerdy to play sports. I, like anybody, still struggle with my insecurities, but now I know that regardless of how I feel or how discouraged I am, I will have the unconditional support of the wrestling community.
Wrestling demands that you leave your insecurities matside, and since I started wrestling, I have found it far easier not only to leave my insecurity off the mat, but also to not let it dominate my daily life. I attribute this to the mental strength and discipline I have acquired due to the physical demands of the sport but also to the nature of my school and club wrestling communities, which offer me the support and camaraderie necessary for me to constantly push myself beyond my preconceived limits.