Somehow, I became a wrestling coach
I often look at life as a series of interconnected events. Like a crazy, nonsensical spiderweb, each event or decision leads to another seemingly random and often totally unrelated event. You never know what lessons may be hidden in that web or what twists and turns await. But they will lead you to who you are, shape your character, and even change your outlook on life.
For me, one of those seemingly random twists and turns led me to a sport that has had tremendous impact on my life: wrestling.
I would never have pictured myself as a wrestling coach. Yet, I’m now in my seventh year of coaching. In high school, I wrestled only 3 years, and had a rather unspectacular career. Sure, I was good enough to wrestle varsity, and won a few important matches as well, but I was by no means exceptional. I just sort of stumbled into the sport not even knowing what it was, and somehow still, it’s had a huge impact on my life.
In eighth grade, I had just moved to Detroit from Toronto. Moving was nothing new to me, being originally from Brazil, and moving several times since then, I had done this many times before. The difference was that I had an idea of what school should be like based on American Teen TV. I made a plan to become “that popular kid,” which meant (in my 13 year old mind) playing “cool kid sports.” That meant football, basketball, and maybe track in the spring.
So I joined the football team. Not knowing what a running back was, I jumped right in. I was making plays (still clueless as to strategy, I could just run decently fast and was a relatively bigger middle school kid). I was making new friends and progressing into my new “American life.”
Then I broke my collar bone.
My football season was over, and my basketball season too (which was about to start). There goes my plan. But, as I was healing up, my new football friends convinced me to try wrestling. I thought they were joking. “You mean to tell me that there’s middle school WWE?!”
So, knowing nothing about it, I joined — and I quickly grew to love it. I also hated it at times, but that’s precisely why I loved it and continue to love it today.
Wrestling has taught me self-confidence, self-reliance, determination, work ethic, and this fearlessness and tolerance for self-punishment that only wrestlers can understand. It’s taught me to face any challenge head on.
You do it because you have to.
It’s what’s best for the team.
So you give all that you got to make it happen.
These lessons get me through life. They got me through my first marathon in 2014. They get me through 16 hour days when I decided on going to back to school for a total career change. They get me through necessary tough conversations, either with myself, or others. They allow me to always get the work done. No matter what road blocks there are.
Six minutes head to head with an opponent is insurmountably hard, only those who have done it can appreciate what it means. But it’s that struggle that builds character. Win or lose, you come out a better person for facing the challenge and giving it your all. This is what I hope my wrestlers get from the sport, if nothing else.
Now after getting through school to become a web developer, I’m thrilled to be a part of Buddy. I’m thankful that Buddy will help other athletes be more fearless in jumping into a new sport head first by covering them from the unforeseen financial impacts of an accident, another lesson I learned all too well when I broke that same collar bone.