The Wrestlers

 

I wrestled as a child

With men five times my size

They’d pick me up and throw me down

Laughing the whole time.

They’d tickle me

And take me to the ground

No matter how fast at them I’d run

And only when I had a partner

Together we would make them fall.

 

I got a little older

And learned to wrestle at a local gym

I’d fight my best friends laughing

And throw them at my will.

Fights in the school yards became matches

I’d take them on even if I didn’t win.

On mat I would continue training

Even after I outgrew the inner rebel teen.

 

My coaches changed as did opponents

New champions emerged to look up to.

New training partners,

Strategies and injuries

That I would overcome to fight again.

Numerous opponents who were to beat impossible

With training and perseverance,

Eventually I’d win.

 

Yet none impressed me so much as those who fought

All of their life and didn’t let old age their bodies rot

Those who would come into the room

Forgetting about difference in strength

And take young whipper snaps

By scruff of our young necks

And put us on our backs.

Their wisdom on and off the mat

And smiles that through their wrinkles

Spoke kindness and support when our eyes met.

 

The sport of wrestling

Which left the body feeling sore

Made my life mean so much much more

Through people like the ones I met

With wrestling shoes on the wrestling mat.

 

Image of wrestler and coach after championship match win. Taken at California State Wrestling Championships.

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