How Wrestling Impacted My Life – An Argument For Keeping Wrestling In The Olympics!


Two U.S. Air Force members wrestling in a Grec...

Two U.S. Air Force members wrestling in a Greco-Roman match. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Inspired by Jay Mohr’s rant against the IOC’s decision to eliminate Wrestling from the Olympics, I decided to write me own post about how wrestling impacted my life…

Wrestling is unlike any other sport out there…

During High School, how many folks woke up before 5am, put on a plastic suit and worked out hard for an hour before going to school?

How many folks limited their meals to Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday each week, so that they could make weight twice a week to compete?

I wonder how many folks out there know what it is like to wrestle five matches after losing 21 pounds over the past 72 hours?

Every time you walk out onto the mat, your opponent wants to intimidate you, dominate you, hurt you, outsmart you, and outwrestle you into a victory…

Your victories are extremely painful, and your losses are downright unbearable…

I feel sorry for the folks who have never stood in front of hundreds of people, getting your hand raised by the referee, after leaving everything you had on the mat…

I feel even worse for the folks who have never stood in front of the same hundreds of people, bleeding and injured after being destroyed by a stronger opponent, watching him get his hand raised as the crowd cheers while you stand there in front of everyone….humiliated…

Most people could not handle that…Most people would just quit…But wrestlers are a different breed…

I was an average wrestler.  I won more than I lost.  I was a 4-year Varsity guy in school, won all-area honors three of the four years, and I wrestled in national tournaments during college in one last gasp effort to see if I had what it took to get to the next level.  I still lost over 60 times throughout my career..

60 times, starting at the age of 13, I stood in front of a cheering crowd, angry and humiliated as the referee raised the other guy’s hand..

Every one of those 60 times, there was only one person to blame for that loss – and that was Me…

If there is one thing that Wrestling teaches you more than anything else…It is accountability…

Every mistake hurts…Every delayed reaction hurts…Over-thinking something hurts…Under-thinking something hurts…Losing is unbearable…

Could you imagine how much harder you would work if you knew that every time you lost a point of market share, someone was going to come up and bloody your nose while your competitors and their families stood up and cheered?

I have only found one thing that can motivate you in life more than that feeling during that moment…and that is how good it feels to win…

Winning is what makes the sacrifice worth the pain…

I suffered three concussions, I hyper-extended my right elbow over 20 times, I dislocated my jaw (and finished the match), I had over 10 procedures to fix my cauliflower ear (wrestling injury), and I had two knee surgeries…all before I was 21 years old…

And I promise you this – I gave worse to my opponents than I got in return…

Simply put, I left it all out on the mat…

On the mat is where I learned how to succeed in life when adversity strikes…

On the mat is where I learned that if you don’t get what you want, you have nobody but yourself to blame…

On the mat is where I learned that there is always someone out there who is bigger, stronger, and who is working harder than you…

On the mat is where I learned that you are entitled to nothing, and you have to earn everything you seek in life…

In Wrestling, there is no pro – Kids begin wrestling so that they can make Olympics…We continue wrestling because it gets in our blood…

If the IOC were to take wrestling from the Olympics, it will begin to disappear from College Campuses, which will slowly cause it to disappear from High Schools and Youth Groups across the country.

The population of the entitled, coddled, and lazy people in the United States is growing at an alarming rate.  Please don’t take away the leading educator on accountability, work ethic, and toughness.

Please forward this to every wrestler you know, and post your own story on how Wrestling impacted your life.  Keep Wrestling in the Olympics!

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About Todd Hagopian (@ToddHagopian)

Todd Hagopian received his BA from Eastern Michigan University with a major in Political Science. After graduation, he worked as a Financial Advisor and a Bank Manager before returning to school. He attended Michigan State University, where he completed an MBA with a double-major in Finance and Marketing. Todd is now a Senior Product Development Manager for a Fortune 500 company. He frequently writes about business issues, social media strategy, and political issues that he finds important. Enjoy the blog!

Posted on May 1, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Reblogged this on theloathingone and commented:
    Keep wrestling in the Olympics!

  2. michael fujimori

    awesome article. Wrestling has made me the man I am today and we all need to come together as one world and get wrestling back in the olympics.

  3. I wish this picture was banned from the internet; tired of seeing myself getting tossed for one. Luckily, I got away with a major leg foul.

    • Haha…sorry about that Chris…

      I’m honored that you found your way to my blog though, thanks for swinging by!

      • No, thank you for your support of wrestling.

        I just get a kick out of seeing this picture pop up every once in awhile. I kind of know how that ski jump guys feels like from the old opening of ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” opeining. “Agony of Defeat” indeed!

  4. What an awesome post! I’ve watched my young son begin to develop some of the character you wrote about, and I know he will continue to grow as a wrestler and a man. I continue to be in shock that the IOC would even consider dropping wrestling in favor of so many other “sports” that are limited in both who can participate and the life lessons they teach. I’m afraid this is the figurative match of our lives, but we have to keep fighting and leave it all on the mat.

    • Thanks for the comment! Despite the injuries, I would not have traded a minute of my career for any other opportunities out there. I spent a few years coaching after I was done, and I still push people to get their kids involved in the sport. They will never have another experience like it. Good luck to your son, and thanks for commenting!

  5. Ryan Johnson

    Wrestling is not the NFL or NBA and carries the popularity or publicity but it makes a young man accountable for his own fortune and mistakes. They’re not 10 other men making your future. The sport of Wrestling just can NOT die and it’s up to us to get involved and bring it back.

  6. I watched how you dedicated to your sport Virgil. It made you a winner throughout life.Your a die hard , and that is becoming less commen.You learned self disipline and I admire that in a person. That is also what wrestling brings to those that are willing to dedicate the way wrestlers do.Keep teaching others what you have learned and watch them grow to be respected people like yourself.

  7. Nice read. Made me look back at how important wrestling was for myself also. Thanks!

    John T.
    Canada

  1. Pingback: How Wrestling Impacted My Life – An Argument For Keeping Wrestling In The Olympics! | Navigating by Faith

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