Six minutes on the clock. As I stepped on the line to shake my opponent’s hand, something felt off. Something had felt off the entire time at this tournament and I wasn’t sure why. Thoughts clouded my mind like storm clouds in a hurricane. For whatever reason, I couldn’t shake this feeling, but as wrestlers know, the tournament doesn’t wait for you. When you get called to the wrestling mat, you have no choice but to step on the mat whether you’re ready or not. Unsurprisingly, I choked. Within moments, I went 0-2 and my high school career was over.
This was my first and only year in which I qualified for prep nationals. My coach told me that I was one win away from tying my school record for the number of wins in one season. My first match was tough, but supposedly very winnable. Nothing felt right. I was second guessing myself. My coach had given me a game plan. Looking back, I had problems executing game plans because I had a terrible habit of overthinking, which threw me off my own game. As a result, I’d wrestle to only a fraction of my potential. Part of this had to do with the fact that my style was still developing. After all, I started wrestling when I was 14 years old.
I did what I could to warm up and get ready for my upcoming match. However, my mind took over and I failed to get into the zone. My mind was already going 100 miles per hour in the wrong direction. Being unable to focus, I was unable to execute. While I stormed off the mat after my second loss, my coach told me that I had a great season. At the time, it definitely didn’t feel that way. Those losses stung. There were people I had beaten at New England Preps that progressed farther than me in that tournament. One of my opponents that I had beaten at New England Preps made it to the blood round. At the time, I would have given anything to do that tournament over again. However, I learned my lesson. The wrestling season was over for now. Fortunately, my wrestling career wouldn’t end on that type of performance. All I could do was to keep on progressing while being grateful that I was recruited with a scholarship so I still had four more years of wrestling in college.
How do you want the last match of your wrestling career to go?