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High School Wrestling: Dedication and Sacrifice
Definition of consecration and sacrifice
According to Dictionary.com, committed can be defined as “completely committed to something, such as an ideal, political cause, or personal goal.” Synonyms for devotion are dedication, devotion, allegiance, devotion.
To be committed is to be completely committed to something. In other words, it means being devoted to a particular thought, ideal, purpose, or goal. For example, one may be devoted to the ideal of a democratic society. Or, one may be dedicated to philanthropy and fundraising.
Sacrifice often goes hand in hand with commitment.
Free dictionary defines sacrifice as “the taking away of something highly valued for the sake of that which is thought to be of greater value.”
“The amount you are willing to sacrifice is directly proportional to your desire to succeed.” – Dan Gable
During my junior year of high school, my teammates voted me the most dedicated wrestler. That wrestling season was actually heartbreaking for me. I had a chance to win the conference title, but I finished as the runner-up. I won sectionals and was favored to win districts, but lost my first round match after leading 3-0 in the final period. I won the next match in overtime. I had a chance in the back match to still qualify for state. But I lost. In fact, I lost to a wrestler I beat in the sectional finals the week before. I was sad, angry and humiliated.
So, why did my teammates vote me as the most dedicated? I guess I don’t know for sure. I’ve always managed my weight well and my trainer never had to worry about me gaining weight. I’ve never missed a practice as far as I can remember. I gave up the luxury of eating whatever I wanted. I sacrificed the time I could have spent with my friends and girlfriends. I guess they recognized the dedication I gave to wrestling.
Successful athletes and other people from many walks of life have dedicated themselves to something they consider important. Athletes, actors, singers, artists and writers have often had to be dedicated to their craft and make sacrifices before reaching the pinnacle of success.
Dedication and sacrifice to wrestling
Even six-time world and Olympic champion John Smith occasionally suffered rare losses. He lost in the NCAA finals his sophomore year at Oklahoma State. The loss, of course, angered Smith.
According to TP Grant in an article titled Gods of War: John Smith“Determined to become the best, Smith devoted himself completely to the sport and discarded everything that was not directly related to success on the mats. Friends, relationships and vacations were pushed aside as Smith sought to achieve a single goal: never to lose again.”
In an interview in 1992 with Los Angeles Times Smith spoke about commitment saying, “I make a commitment that no other wrestler does. There are probably a few wrestlers who think they make a commitment. But I really make a commitment.”
Smith goes on to say, “Anything that comes my way, I pretty much eliminate. I don’t have too many close friends. I don’t have too many close relationships. I just can’t afford to go where I want to go, do what I want to do. I really focus on myself. I really figure out and find a way to win, how to beat everybody. I’ll do whatever it takes.”
I’m sure you know that Dan Gable was an incredibly successful American wrestler and trainer. His commitment to sports is well known and much has been written about him.
Says Gable, “The obvious goals were there—national champion, NCAA champion, Olympic champion. To get there, I had to set a daily goal that was to burn myself out, or in other words, work so hard in practice that one had to would carry me off the mat.”
In the ESPN SportsCentury documentary, Gable says, “Finally, my senior year of college, I actually took a girlfriend out and looked at the clock when I got home. It was like 3:00 in the morning and I had a practice run at 7:00 and I didn’t feel good about it.” running practice. I was tired all day. It just cemented in my mind that it wasn’t going to work and something had to give.”
After an incredible high school and college career, Gable won the gold medal at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany without surrendering a single point.
Mark Ironside is another wrestler you may have heard of. He was a two-time state champion and a two-time NCAA champion. But Ironside didn’t become a champion without dedication and sacrifice.
According to the article Mark Ironside – Once in a Lifetime“For Mark, the lonely hours of painful and awkward sacrifice would soon be celebrated. For him, the focus of each day was not eating fast food, playing video games, or aimlessly hanging out with friends. It was the 3:00 p.m. two-hour practice that most high schoolers dread . Mark focused intensely on every minute of the warm-up, practice and hard-go. He enjoyed the physical and mental challenge, and would always continue to practice after the others had showered or even gone home.”
When it was revealed that wrestling would be cut from the Olympics, comedian and actor Jay Mohr shared some thoughts. Here’s part of what he had to say: “You’re trying to get your 15-year-old son to clean his room. Try to do it. Now I want you to take that same kid and tell him he can only eat chicken breast and spinach, and binge every once in a while. fruit, and gets up after dark and runs five miles before school, and then when he’s in school, he’ll stay in school and go to the wrestling room and grind it out. It’s an amazing sport. It is the purest sport. It’s a solo, solo sport. It is the life of a monk, the life of a wrestler.
Other examples of dedication and sacrifice
Wrestlers, of course, are not the only individuals familiar with dedication and sacrifice.
Mary Lou Retton was the first American woman to win a gold medal in gymnastics and did so in 1984. In an interview Mary Lou was asked about her training schedule at the time and she replied, “Well, it was pretty tough. Two years ago Olympics, our daily schedule was from 7:00 am to 11:00 am in the gym every morning, showered in the gym, went to school for a few hours and then back to the gym from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm every day. So it was eight hours every day. It was work.”
“You’re giving up your childhood. You’re missing prom and plays and high school events, and people say it’s horrible. . . . I say it was a good trade. You’re missing something, but I think I gained more than I lost.” – Mary Lou Retton
Most of you have heard of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the seven-time bodybuilding champion Mr. Olympia and movie stars. You may not know that Arnold served for some time in the Austrian army for compulsory service. Because of his commitment to bodybuilding, Arnold served seven days in a military prison in 1965 for deserting the Austrian army to enter and win the Junior Mister Europe bodybuilding competition.
Later, Arnold will come to America to make his dreams come true. For a while, he was a roommate with another bodybuilder and friend, Franco Columbus. According to Frank, their grocery bills were huge. Columbu recalls, “Joe Weider paid us $80 a week. We’d go to the market, and three days later all the money was gone. We’d do construction work to make extra money.”
“Bodybuilding is like any other sport. To be successful, you have to commit 100% to your training, diet and mental approach.” – Arnold Schweitzenegger
Robbie Lawler was involved in mixed martial arts and the UFC before he became famous. However, he was dedicated to sports.
“I started really young, that obviously helps. I’ve always had the belief in myself and the ability to always do what I believe in,” Lawler told FOX Sports. “Just being able to warm up, day in and day out. You have to be a different person to not only work out, but not make money for months. Live on someone’s couch if you have to before the sport was this big. You have a different mindset.”
If you want to learn about commitment and sacrifice, maybe you should read about the soldiers who spent the winter at Valley Forge during the American Revolution.
Daniel P. Murphy writes, “Washington’s army suffered through the winter of 1777-78, but it held out.”
He says: “The army had to find some kind of shelter. Washington made the construction of log cabins a priority. The last of these were not completed until after Christmas. Drafty, smoky and often floorless, they offered poor shelter from Many people could not to leave their huts because they had no clothes. Scarcity of food and water added to the misery. The staple of their meager diet was fire cake, made of flour and water paste cooked on hot stones.”
We all know that soldiers made many sacrifices for their countries.
So, am I saying that one should give up friends, family and other interests? Am I saying that you should expect to endure great hardships if you want to become the best? Not necessarily. But, if you really want to be the best wrestler you can be, then you need to think about your priorities and what you really want.
John Smith and Dan Gable eventually married and had children. They were simply waiting for it to be a priority in their lives. And many people with close relationships, including girlfriends and marriages, still became champions. It’s about balance and priorities. So I’m not saying you have to sacrifice everything for wrestling.
For some, wrestling is just an enjoyable and challenging extracurricular activity, and that’s okay. For some it is much more. As I write this article, summer is fast approaching. What will your summer involve? Will you completely forget about wrestling during the summer? It’s up to you. How committed are you to wrestling? What are you willing to sacrifice?
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