My God, I was starving. I hadn’t eaten all day trying to cut weight. I had to maintain the cycle. Cut weight, weigh in, eat, wrestle, cut weight, weigh in, eat, wrestle, cut weight, weigh in, eat, wrestle. Over and over, it didn’t stop until the season stopped.
Most guys at my school had been wrestling since elementary school. Every year they always said they would not do it when the next year came…but they always did. Wrestling is a way of life. We all starved ourselves and binge ate just for the feeling we got of pinning our opponent, the referee throwing our hand in the air. It was a major thrill, and we all loved it…even if the “dieting” involved was not exactly our favorite thing. Most likely, almost all of us would go on to wrestle in college. It was something extremely hard to give up, we all love it so much.
Literally, this sport had been ingrained into our brains, pounded into our skulls since we were in third or fourth grade. Most of our dads had wrestled when they were younger too and wanted us to feel the same thrill they had felt once. Them seeing us win a match wasn’t the same as them winning one themselves, but it was the closest thing they had now. When we all grew up and had our own children, we would probably want them to wrestle too.
Wrestling was a way of life for us, all of us. We cheered on our other team mates. We didn’t miss practice. We maintained the cycle. We ran with garbage bags to get the extra weight off if we had to. We did what our coach asked. We are dedicated even if we all complained. That was just part of the life honestly.
And that’s really what it was. For the months that was wrestling season, we lived and breathed this “sport”. All day we didn’t eat to make weight for it, practice after school, more cutting weight, matches on Thursdays and Saturdays. We didn’t make plans when we had something to do related to wrestling. We worked out, cut weight, ate after we weighed in, wrestled at practice, wrestled at matches.
For months, sweat rolled off our bodies so often we didn’t even notice it anymore. We wore plastic trash bags when we worked out just to sweat. Day in and day out, wrestling was what was on our minds. The other people at school knew it too. They came to our matches, helped us keep our weight class, and dealt with us without much complaint when they knew we hadn’t eaten all day and were cranky because of it.
All of our lives revolve around the art (yes, that’s right…art) of wrestling. We don’t even stop thinking about it in the off season. In the summer before school starts, we’re already thinking about what weight class we want to be in. Wrestlers, that’s what we are, all year long. Period. We love it. It’s our life.