A few years ago at the Districts, I saw a young man crying in the hallway. This boy was devastated. As I walked past, he looked up at me and I saw his eyes. I recognized the kid because I had just officiated the match that had eliminated him from going to the state tournament; he had lost 4-3. His eyes were tear stained and bloodshot. His heart broke. I know that look. I know those feelings, both as a wrestler and as a dad of a wrestler.
I stopped and asked if he was ok or was there anything I could do for him. He sniffled a bit and through the heaves of his sobs, he said he was fine. I smiled and said “right”. I asked if I could sit beside him and chat a bit. He didn’t say no, so I slid down the wall and sat beside him.
Here was a kid, who had just lost an important wrestling match. Yes he was a senior, and yes, he had come to the realization that his wrestling career was over. What he truly wanted down deep was another chance.
I knew he wrestled his heart out, he worked hard, he shot and re-shot but it was not enough. The other kid was just 1 point better. I remember the desperation at the very end of the match, trying to escape and tie the match up, it reminded me of a fly that was snared in a spiders web, struggling in vain to escape with all he had, but alas…to no
avail. The end was near and he knew it. I saw the inner collapse as I blew the whistle to end the bout. He shook hands with tears already forming, a good sportsman however all the way. As this kid walked off the mat, I saw his coach shake his hand and pat him on the back and then that coach moved on. No one else said a word to him. No one shared this
moment, this moment of loss. I went out and got some water and that is when I saw him down the hallway….alone. As I sat beside him in that hallway, I told him that I too had been where he was and that believe it or not, he would recover from this and move on. I realized that though there
are always lessons to be learned, this was not the time nor the place to teach, it was simply a time to sit. After a few minutes, I told him I had to get going and that I hoped he would be ok. I got up, he stood and I put my hand out and we shook hands. I so much wanted to give that
kid a hug, but I didn’t. I regret that to this day. A few months later, as I was reminiscing about the season, I thought about that young man and my own son and the trials he faced as a athlete after his mom died. As I remembered, I thought about dreams, the dreams we all have or had at one time or another and how at some point, we realize we may not fulfill those dreams. I share this with every person who ever dared to dream and lost. Know someone who lost something? Share this with them someday. Share your own dream that was lost. I believe that in everyone’s life there comes that one moment, that one clear and concise moment, when the realization, that the dream they have fought so long and so hard for is now shattered into a million tiny pieces. Each shattered piece, pierces the heart so violently, that even years later, the mere thought of that loss brings the pain of losing that dream as fresh and as hurtful as if it happened only yesterday. Olympic hopefuls, high school wrestlers, or even that little 7th grade girl not making the cheerleading squad she had dreamt about since she could walk…these are all shattered dreams, and the pain is real, and will live on. It’s that pain, I feel, that makes us cherish the simple and good things in life. It is knowing and feeling for others who are sharing that pain, as you experienced, that brings us together in a very unique way.
I don’t ever want to forget the battles, won and lost, that I’ve had while chasing my dreams. For it is those memories that sustain me sometimes.
I might not of won this or that, or reached a certain level, or was the best of the lot, but I will never forget the journey. It really is the journey that is the prize. It is within that journey to our dreams that holds the most satisfaction. When it is over…we stand at the end of the line and say to ourselves….I gave my best and my all. That is enough. That alone, all by itself, in the dark of night, when my head is on my pillow, gives my heart solace. That alone…is enough to let me sleep peacefully. I’ll do my dreaming with my eyes wide open, and I’ll do my looking back with my eyes
“You don’t raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they’ll turn out to be heroes, even if it’s just in your own eyes.”
Top of Form
Author: be sure to catch Fred Feeney in the new movie Foxcatcher about the Schultz brothers scheduled for release later this Fall. Bottom of Form
If you have a letter or blog that you have written and want to share with the wrestling community, let us know.
Like our page at www.facebok.com/truewrestlinginsider
Consider donating to our wrestler sponsorship program or become a corporate sponsor at http://www.gofundme.com/support-igwt