First and foremost, high school wrestling is one of, if not the most, challenging sports offered. There is a great deal of both physical and mental strain put on every wrestler each day. Your meals have to be low in fat as well as high in carbohydrates and other helpful vitamins.
A daily schedule for a high school wrestler is hectic and exhausting. It begins in the morning after a weekend of bingeing on fatty, greasy, delicious foods that are forbidden during the week. Classes now become a time for rest and relaxation. Lunch is just a dream with low-fat yogurts and fruit juices.
Every wrestler in the country knows that as soon as the bell sounding the end of the day rings, our living hell begins. The word that is dreaded by all wrestlers is "practice!" Fortunately for my team, our coach wants us to be the most physically fit team in the state of Rhode Island, so he is more than generous with our conditioning. Each practice starts with a two or two and a half mile run around the track. Then, after stretching, we have a mat drill in the gym to warm up.
To better understand the true meaning of a mat drill, think for a minute about doing 150 push-ups and sit-ups, plus more fun, exhausting, stretching activities before you start wrestling. After the mat drill, the fun really begins, actual wrestling. The next two hours are full of cross-faces, headlocks, and various other pinning maneuvers. A special term frequently used by my coach is "Air Time," which describes the moves where a wrestler lifts another's body from the mat, and then introduces it back, usually face first. After all this, practice ends with one of two fun-filled activities, a compacted ten-minute mat drill and another ten minutes running up and down stairs, or a two and a half mile run around the quarter-mile long school, second floor hallways.
The feeling of heading home after a day like this brings joy to everyone. Taking a shower, having a salad and juice for dinner, doing some homework, and hitting my comfortable bed are the most common activities that end a very stressful day. Tomorrow will be a repeat of the grueling activities of the previous day, but it is all worth it in the end when your hand is raised in victory. l
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.