Van in front of Grand Tetons

Wresting’s Trancendence of the Sport

Jackson Nielsen

I believe it would be best to begin this writing by supplying some credibility to my opinions. I have wrestled my entire life – beginning as a young boy in Kindergarten. In highschool I was a two time state champion at the Nebraska State Tournament and a three time medalist. I’ve stood on the podium at numerous national tournaments and was a part of the University of Nebraska-Kearney National Championship team. None of this is to make me sound cooler or to brag about my accomplishments because, believe me, I’ve had many disappointing losses and bad performances. This information is only to shed light on my knowledge of the sport of wrestling and what it has to offer; on and off the mat.

The sport of wrestling is not for the weak of heart. Standing across from another human who you know is going to try and inflict his will upon you in the span of six minutes and you the same. For six minutes, it is a battle of wills and only one will get their hand raised as the victor. The hours and hours of technique, conditioning, the blood, the sweat, and sometimes even the tears are all put in for just six minutes of conflict. All of the morning workouts, the weight cutting, getting battered and bruised just for the possibility of getting your hand raised and receiving a cheap medal at the end of the day. To many this may not seem like a worthwhile undertaking, but to the wrestler, as Dan Gable once said, “gold medals aren’t really made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts”.

Throughout a wrestler’s life, he is faced with a plethora of adversity. These obstacles serve no purpose but to strengthen the mind, casting it in an armored shell of mental toughness which goes beyond the wrestling mat. Because this isn’t the only place in life where there will be hardships. Developing the grit and willpower to stand toe to toe with life’s challenges and push through and overcome is an invaluable skill that many humans lack. Even if the odds get the better of a wrestler, guess what, he gets back up and rengages. At the top of the wrestling game, there is no quit. There is no “I can’t” and there is no “I give up”. There is only “find a way” and “as long as it takes”. For this reason, wrestling can instill in humans some of the most valuable characteristics to make them successful in any avenue of life. Putting in all the extra work, the injuries, the dehydration just to get your hand raised makes life’s problems seem a little more manageable.