By Diann Smith
I have been wrestling for a very long time now and it was just this year that I got to wrestle in the first ever MN Girls Section Tournament and with hard work, I secured a spot at state. I went on to wrestle at the first ever MN Girls Sanctioned State Tournament where I made it to the finals. It didn’t end quite the way I wanted but it was such a cool experience and it’s something I will never forget.
Yes, I made it to state, however it did not come easy. It was hours of practicing in a hot wrestling room and nights of extra workouts and weight cutting just so I could wrestle at the weight I wanted to. Even though it was tough, I had my family’s support that kept me going the whole wrestling season. I’m not just talking about my parents and siblings; I’m talking about the wrestling community. The wrestling community is a totally different kind of family. They cheer no matter if you are losing or winning, and they always support you through your highs and your lows. They are there for you even if it doesn’t involve wrestling. This type of family is created through the love of wrestling.
I have had so many people ask me why I wrestle and it’s always so hard to explain it because it’s something no one will understand until they experience it themselves.
Yes, it is a very hard sport and there are always struggles when you wrestle a boy, because they are so much stronger, but after the match, win or lose, your team gets up in a circle and tells you “good job,” and that’s the best part because you know you did something for your team, and you tried your best for all of them. It’s not always a good feeling coming off the mat though. When you give it your all out there for your teammates and you still lose, it’s a hard feeling because you want to prove to them that they can count on you. This sport isn’t just hard physically, it’s hard mentally too. You go through some of the hardest practices you will ever have. When your body aches, you have to just tell yourself it will get better. For me, that pain is what pushes me to work even harder. It’s a feeling for me that tells me I have done something for myself that will in time give me the greatest reward I could ask for.
I must admit that I would not be where I am today without my parents. My mom is my biggest supporter, and she is always there for me no matter what. I can count on her for anything. If I had a rough match, she would be right there to pick me back up and get me ready for my next match. My dad is the person who got me into wrestling. He taught me everything I know today. He was in my corner coaching me through it all. He taught me that the best wrestlers are the ones who leave the mat, and you would never know if they won or lost. He also taught me that things are hard but if you never push yourself then you will never get better. My parents have supported me in wrestling ever since I was little. Even though it wasn’t a girl sport, my parents didn’t care. They knew that it was something I wanted to do, so no matter what, they would support me. My mom and dad have never thought I couldn’t do something even if it was “just a boy sport.”
I love the sport of wrestling so much and I have made so many amazing friends from it. It has made me a better person and I am so glad more and more girls are coming out for wrestling and I can’t wait to build the wrestling program and make the girls team bigger and better. I am so excited for next year and I will be working very hard to make it back to state again to finish what I started.
Diann Smith is a student at Grand Meadow High School. She is one of 14 area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its 23rd year.