Every time I brought it up or showed interest, even from some of my closest friends, I was met with less than positive reactions. I never understood, and it actually drove me more. For, I don't know how long, I've had this intrigue, this crazy dream I guess is what it is. There is a saying somewhere that goes something like "never give up on something you can't go a day without". It wasn't every day, but it was often, and it never went away. The last two years it's been, I finally started out actually pursuing this thing...I've researched constantly, tried to dig up any and all information, figure it out. The rules, the techniques, the camps, coaches, the events...I would be up at 4am in the morning studying old videos from decades ago, listening to past champions, watching match films, constantly. I volunteer coached at a school 45 min away to get closer to it. Last year even, when my son was only eight months old, I stood over his crib as he slept...and I cried...I had to leave him in the middle of the night to drive 13 hrs north to a camp to get my ass kicked by kids half my age for a week. To learn, to get better...to truly do this thing.
It was a year before that, I was sitting and watching the Olympics as I always do, but this time explaining Greco-Roman Wrestling to my wife and telling her the stories I had trying to get into it, how I had a coach briefly but fell out of touch, the resistance I always met, I shared everything with her, and how I'd always wanted to do it. Without hesitation she said "Why don't you do it? I think it's awesome, you should."
I haven't told but maybe five people about this crazy dream of mine. It's been a hard two years, but it's also been very liberating to just plug away, head down. I always put a lot on my shoulders, I wear many hats, and my expectations and standards I realize are sometimes ridiculous. I also came to realize sometimes my greatest motivations for achievement were to serve others, while those others just stood idly by. This one was for me. A way to have something for myself.
I don't expect a whole lot of people to understand, because frankly I still don't. I stepped on the mat once again today, but this time, for my first time, it was the U.S. Open and it was Greco Roman Wrestling. I got my ass kicked. I fared better in my second match, was up on points, even had a chance at par terre where I'm strongest but ultimately I went 0-2. I wanted to be competitive, I trained hard, I did a lot of work. Physically and mentally I was there, but technically I'm far, far behind. I wanted the very best, I always do, and I got it.
Call me an idiot, call me a dreamer, call me crazy...I've jumped off turnbuckles in a singlet before, I've been thrown on my head, I've been called worse. I don't fear it, I've never feared this, any of it, even the loss. Quite the opposite, I relished the anticipation. No one else I know has ever gone out and done this, I don't have a blueprint. I love that. I don't know if this is just the beginning or something else. I know this was probably my best 'cut' ever, and I'm also in some of the very best shape of my life. I know I'm better for all of it. I know I am creating a legacy, one of action, not words, for my son. A legacy of not what's done, but rather, how it's done.
What I also know is that you can't get anything done sitting on your couch. If you want something, get up, go do it. A job, relationship, house, title, whatever it is...work at it, sacrifice, study, ask questions, fall down, get up, work, smile, keep going, see it through. That's the only way. Only way to be true to yourself and your dreams. Only way to make this world, this life we have go. Make your dream a goal, then make your goal reality... step out onto those mats.