March 11, 2010 by David Gillaspie
A lacrosse guy came into the sauna. He looked like a wrestler, looked tough, but you never know. He took a low bench.
I work the sauna hard. The only way I can avoid the clock is keeping a string of conversation going. It doesn’t always get the appreciation it deserves, as you might imagine.
The kid went to the same high school as my kids. He knew some of this year’s wrestlers. I mentioned the guy on the team who wrestled just his senior year. The sauna kid knew him.
Sauna kid was a junior. He helped move the clock in one hundred eighty degree heat. I asked why a senior would wrestle one year, then answered my own question.
Here’s what I told him, maybe you’ve heard it:
Whether you go to college or the military or get a job, you’ll find a pecking order of some kind. It’s subtle until push comes to shove.
Wrestle your senior year to find out what to do in the pecking order. Get humbled. If someone gets in your way, it doesn’t mean you cave their face in. Get used to getting beat around by your supposed lessers.
If that doesn’t sound appealing, then do something about it.
Find a place for spring practice and take a crash course in wrestling. Plan a senior year as if it was a Special Forces qualifier. Take an extreme view, like a mission. It’ll only last three months, not a lifetime.
Move to Wrestle Island.
One day you’ll find yourself with roommates in a dorm, a barracks, or a house. You’ll want to know how to get along.
Here’s one example:
In the Army I was assigned to a four-man barracks room that had four guys already in it. Their stuff was up on the bunks. Regular Guy waits for a Drill Sergeant to straighten things out. Wrestle Island guy, the one who started at the bottom in the high school wrestling room, asks the most badassed looking guy which bunk holds his stuff, then throws it on the ground while apologizing.
The idea here is to avoid fighting them all, and not be a bully. So pick the big dog and see where it goes. He turned out to be a good guy and would have moved his stuff if I asked him to. Which proves the wrestling room pecking order is different from the Army barracks pecking order. You still want to be ready.
And apologize. The apology is key.
The new guy should apologize in the wrestling room for a lucky take down on a good guy, or face the wrath. The new guy in the barracks apologizes in case he has to deliver the wrath.
That’s the difference between Senior on Wrestle Island, and everyone else.
Note: If things go sideways in the dorm, the barracks, or the house, and a roommate confronts you with a scream before things get started, try not to laugh while you defend yourself with the tools from Wrestle Island.
Make those plans to move to Wrestle Island. Your room is waiting.
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