Two of my three sons are or have been highschool wrestlers. Having three sons who were and are all into all sports I have been exposed to it all. They have played and competed in football, baseball, lacrosse, basketball, tennis, golf and, of course, wrestling. I have been the cook and nutrition provider for these boys and meeting their goals for their sport, the loud (obnoxious) cheerleader, the chauffer for practices and games or matches, the 5 am early morning alarm clock, the washer of smelly, filthy uniforms and the purchaser for what seems like an endless amount of equipment, shoes, cleats, lessons, and fees.
I have loved watching what these various sports have done for my boys over the years. Whether it is learning to be the best team player, the discipline of workouts, surviving injuries, handling overbearing coaches, crazy and sometimes unfair refs, supporting other teammates, channeling competitiveness, handling losses, gaining mental toughness and juggling it all with schoolwork, other activities and family life. All sports add to my sons’ well-being and character. However, I think the toughest of these sports is and always will be is wrestling.
I won’t go into all of that right here. If you have had no experience with this grueling sport (like me when my oldest began in middle school) you may think I’m exaggerating. Well, I think the fact that these young men are forced to wear what is basically a “leotard” out in public and on the mat completely alone, and crouch into all sorts of unnatural positions, rub up against another large, strong, smelly, sweaty human likely speaks for itself. They grab at each other, push against, throw each other around and down and basically wear each other out with strange moves with even stranger names until one wins by points (which I still don’t quite grasp) or suffers the dreaded pin, which ends the match. That is without going into the ridiculous workouts required, disciplined nutrition for some, and gosh awful early weekend wake up calls. Can I say, it’s no piece of cake for the parents either??
Recently, one of the coaches released the new mantra or slogan for the year. Take the Stairs.
Apparently, one of the coaches got quite aggravated to see the wrestlers taking the elevator up to the wrestling practice area. That made me laugh. Secretly, I could almost understand. Maybe these guys were thinking they needed to conserve every ounce of energy before starting the next two hour session of being worn down to a pulp. Or maybe they were just being lazy and taking the easy way up.
As a fitness instructor and trainer I always tell my people to take the stairs. Every little bit of movement counts. I’ve talked about how it makes me crazy to see people circling around the parking lot at the gym to get the closest parking spot to the entrance. Really people?
So, these wrestlers are being told to take the stairs. Don’t take the easy way up. Take the harder route. The benefit, progress, and success will come from taking the harder route. You get where I’m going here, right? The message is clear. I’m not just speaking about a bunch of highschool wrestlers going to practice. Neither are the coaches.
This speaks to all of us. When have we ever reached our goal by taking the easy way? It simply does not work that way. Anything we truly want requires work. Whether it is in your health and fitness journey, a work-related goal, a leadership position, a new business venture, you name it. You may find a way to get where you wanted side stepping the hard way, but chances are it won’t last, or you will be ill-equipped to stay at the top. Doing the hard thing, taking the harder route, helps form the basis and core to get you where you truly want to go. It really is true that anything worth having requires work.
These wrestlers’ sucess doesn’t come by chance. It requires work. Whether it is work on the mat, in the classroom, or in a bigger arena it will not come from taking easy way. I believe this. Along those lines, one thing I do not believe in is luck. Before any test or sport, I alway say “work hard”. I don’t think I’ve ever said, “good luck”. I truly believe that it all comes down to hard work (and prayer, of course!).
For these reasons, I’m stealing from my son’s wrestling coach, with his permission, and reminding us all to take the stairs.
For those of you unfamiliar with this sport, let me know and I’ll invite you to see what it’s all about!!
Enjoy Your Day!