This year capped off the last year in my decade spanning career as a wrestler. I didn’t know that in seventh grade when I showed up to the wrestling team meeting, that this wouldn’t be like WWE Monday Night Raw. I didn’t know that even after hardly learning a move and losing every match I was in that year, that I would persist. I didn’t know I would have been one point away from being a state qualifier, but ultimately falling in the blood round senior year. I didn’t know that I was going to keep wrestling in college, becoming a three time national qualifier. I didn’t know that my biggest college win would be in the conference finals, winning by pinfall in double-overtime after being injured and sick the same week. Most improbable of all, I didn’t know that I would lose my dad, my biggest supporter in the sport, the day after my junior season started. Nor did I know what heartache lay ahead. I just didn’t know.
But there is a lot that I do know now. I know this sport has taught me how to overcome adversity. I know this sport has taught me patience when I couldn’t immediately excel. I know this sport has graced me with many great coaches, from middle school to college, who have shaped my path and strengthened my yearning to coach as well. I know this sport has truly taught me what it means to have teammates, and to call them friends on and off the mat. I know this sport has given me more than I ever thought I would have, and it allowed me to build a deeper bond with my dad. Most important of all, I know that while seasons may get cut short, the lessons you take with you have no off-days.