High School Wrestling: Dedication and Sacrifice
Definition of dedication and sacrifice
According to Dictionary.com, dedicated can be defined as “totally committed to something, such as an ideal, a political cause, or a personal goal.” Synonyms of dedication are commitment, loyalty, devotion, loyalty.
Being dedicated implies being completely committed to something. In other words, it means being dedicated to a particular thought, ideal, purpose, or goal. For example, one may be devoted to the ideal of a democratic society. Or, one can pursue philanthropy and fundraising.
Sacrifice often goes hand in hand with dedication.
the free dictionary defines sacrifice as “the confiscation of something of great value for the sake of one considered to be of greater value”.
“The amount you are willing to sacrifice is directly proportional to your desire for success.” -Dan Gable
During my freshman year of high school, my teammates voted me the most dedicated fighter. That wrestling season was actually quite heartbreaking for me. I had the ability to win the conference title, but I finished as runner-up. I won sectionals and was a favorite to win districts, but lost my first-round game after leading 3-0 before the last period. I won the next match in extra time. I had the opportunity in a wrestling match to qualify for state. But, I lost. In fact, I lost to the fighter I had beaten in the sectional finals a week before. He was sad, angry and humiliated.
So why did my teammates vote me the most dedicated? I guess I don’t know for sure. I always managed my weight well and my trainer never had to worry about him gaining weight. I never missed a practice as far as I can remember. I gave up the luxury of eating whatever I wanted. I sacrificed time that could have been spent with friends and girlfriends. I guess they recognized the commitment I gave to wrestling.
Successful athletes and others from many walks of life have dedicated themselves to something they considered important. Athletes, actors, singers, artists, and writers often had to pursue their craft and make sacrifices before reaching the pinnacle of success.
Dedication and sacrifice in wrestling
Even six-time world and Olympic champion John Smith suffered occasional losses. He lost in the NCAA finals as a sophomore at Oklahoma State. The loss, of course, infuriated Smith.
According to TP Grant in an article titled Gods of War: John Smith“Determined to become the best, Smith threw himself totally into the sport and pushed away anything not directly related to success on the mats. Friends, relationships, and vacations were cast aside as Smith sought to achieve a single goal: never lose again.”
In a 1992 interview with the Los Angeles Times Smith spoke of the commitment saying, “I make a commitment that no other fighter does. There are probably some fighters who think they commit. But I really do commit.”
Smith goes on to say, “Anything that gets in my way, I pretty much cut it out. I don’t have too many close friends. I don’t have too many close relationships. I just can’t let them go.” where I want to go, to do what I want to do. I really focus on myself. I really discover and find a way to win, how can I beat everyone. I’ll do whatever it takes.”
I’m sure you know that Dan Gable was an incredibly successful American fighter and trainer. His dedication to his sport is well known and much has been written about him.
Says Gable, “The obvious goals were there: state champion, NCAA champion, Olympic champion. To get there, I had to set a daily goal which was to push myself to exhaustion, or in other words, work so hard in practice that Someone would have to get me off the mat.”
In an ESPN SportsCentury documentary, Gable states, “Finally, my senior year in college, I went out with a girl and I looked at my watch when I got home. It was like 3:00 to 7:00 and I wasn’t feeling well.” in that race practice. I was tired all day. It just solidified 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 a gold medal at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany, without giving up a single point.
Mark Ironside is another fighter you may have heard of. He was a two-time state champion and a two-time NCAA champion. But Ironside did not 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 inconvenient sacrifice would soon give way to glory. For him, the focus of each day wasn’t eating junk food, playing video games, or aimlessly hanging out with friends. It was 3 o’clock: 00 two-hour afternoon practice session for the most fearsome high school wrestlers Mark focused intently on every minute of the warm-up, drilling and hard hitting He revealed himself in the physical and mental challenge, and upon completion, he would invariably stay behind to continue his training after the rest had showered or even gone home.”
When it looked like wrestling was going to be eliminated from the Olympics, comedian and actor Jay Mohr shared some thoughts. This is part of what he said: “Try to get your fifteen year old son to clean his room. Try to do that. Now I want you to find that same boy and tell him that he can only eat chicken breasts.” and spinach, and every now and then he eats some fruit, and gets up after dark and runs five miles prior to school, and then when he’s in school, he’ll stay in school and go to a wrestling room and try his best. It is an amazing sport. It is the purest sport. It’s solo sport, solo. It is a monastic life, the life of a fighter.
Other examples of dedication and sacrifice
Fighters, of course, aren’t the only ones familiar with dedication and sacrifice.
Mary Lou Retton was the first American woman to win a gold medal in gymnastics, and she did so in 1984. Mary Lou was asked in an interview about her training schedule during that time, and she replied, “Well, it was pretty tough. Two years before the Olympics, our daily schedule was 7:00 to 11:00 in the gym every morning. 12:00 pm every day. It was eight hours every day. It was a job.”
“You give up your childhood. You miss high school proms, games, and events, and people say it’s horrible… I say it was a good trade. You miss something, but I think I gained more.” of what I lost.” -Mary Lou Reton
Most of you have heard of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the seven-time champion bodybuilder and Mr. Olympia movie star. You may not know that Arnold served for a period of time in the Austrian Army for compulsory service. Because of his devotion to bodybuilding, Arnold spent seven days in the military jail in 1965 for going AWOL from the Austrian Army to enter and win a bodybuilding event called the Junior Mr. Europe contest.
Later, Arnold would come to America to pursue his dreams. For a time he was roommates with another bodybuilder and friend, Franco Colón. According to Franco, his grocery bills were huge. Columbus remembers: “Joe Weider paid us $80 a week each. We’d go to the market and three days later all the money was gone. We’d work construction for extra money.”
“Bodybuilding is a lot like any other sport. To be successful, you have to be 100% dedicated to your training, diet, and mental focus.” -Arnold Schwarzenegger
Robbie Lawler was involved in mixed martial arts and the UFC before he became famous. However, he devoted himself to the sport.
“I started very young, that obviously helps. I’ve always believed in myself and the ability to always do what I believe in,” Lawler told FOX Sports. “Just being able to grind, day in and day out. You have to be a different kind of person not just to do the workouts, but to not make money for months. Live on someone’s couch if you need to before the sport was like that. big. You have a different mindset.”
If you want to learn about dedication and sacrifice, maybe you should read about the soldiers who wintered at Valley Forge during the American Revolution.
Writes Daniel P. Murphy: “Washington’s army suffered during the winter of 1777-78, but it held.”
He states, “The military had to find some kind of shelter. Washington made building log cabins the first priority. The last ones weren’t finished until after Christmas. Drafty, smoky, and often without floor, offered poor shelter from the elements. Many men could not leave their huts because they had no clothing. Shortage of food and water added to the misery. The staple of their meager diet was fire cake, made from a flour and water paste cooked on hot stones.”
We all know that soldiers have made many sacrifices for their countries.
The bottom line
So am I saying that you should give up friends, family, and other interests? Am I saying that you should expect to endure great hardship if you want to become the best? Not necessarily. But, if you really want to be the best fighter you can be, you have to think about your priorities and what you really want.
John Smith and Dan Gable eventually married and had children. They simply waited until they could make it a priority in their lives. And many people with close relationships, including girlfriends and married couples, have still become champions. It’s about balance and priorities. So, I’m not saying you have to sacrifice everything for wrestling.
For some, wrestling is simply 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 entail? Will you forget about wrestling altogether during the summer? It depends on you. How dedicated are you to wrestling? What are you willing to sacrifice?