Do You Love Wrestling?
By Steve Fraser
October – 2014
Do you really enjoy wrestling? Do you look forward to the fight? Do you long for the moment when you can get into a battle with that other wrestler?
Recently, I visited the University of Michigan’s wrestling room and practice. Michigan is where I got my college education and where I wrestled back in the late 1970’s and early 80’s. What a fantastic wrestling room they have now, named the Bahna Wrestling Center. This five-year-old facility is state of the art, from top to bottom.
After watching the practice, head coach Joe McFarland asked me to say a few words to the team. I could not help thinking how jealous I was to see all of these young guys soaking wet from sweat that was produced from this tough work out.
I had a “flash back” of when I was wrestling at Michigan. I remembered how much I loved to wrestle; how much I loved to mix it up with people like Mark Churella, a three-time NCAA champion and my teammate. Churella and I wrestled almost every single day. Talk about a tough training partner, Churella was the toughest!
Churella was also someone who loved the sport. He absolutely loved the act of wrestling. He loved learning new skills. He loved conditioning his body in a way that would crush his opponents. He loved the mental game. Churella loved all of it! And of course he taught me to love it as well.
Having fun with the sport of wrestling is very important in being successful at it. We must constantly remind ourselves to “Love the Battle.” We must love the process, love the fight and love the struggle as well as the breakthroughs. Loving success is easy. Loving the whole process of achieving success is what helps one to advance to a new level of competitive skill.
So have some fun this month. Think humorously to create those positive emotions. When you think goofy off the wall thoughts, your nervousness and fear will disappear. When your emotions start getting the better of you, internal laughter will put you back on track. Life is too short to be stressed out.
At first, Churella used to beat the living tar out of me. But because I stayed in there with him, coming back for more every day, I began to improve. Slowly, I started to give him a better fight and then eventually I improved enough to get him back, even with some of his own stuff.
For example, I was not a leg wrestler in high school, but before I knew it I was throwing legs in and successfully turning him (on occasion) and my opponents. To this very day, I know I shock many people (especially because most look at me as a Greco guy only) when I throw the legs in and turn them. Churella, as most know, was awesome with leg wrestling. Learning these new skills for me was fun.
Practice using your mental focus in the present time. Operate in the here and now, especially during competition. This will enhance your “ideal competitive state” and your talent and skill will come alive. During the battle, if you are thinking about the past or future it will hamper your ability to really open up and go for it. Enjoy the present moment and your performance will flourish.
Think energy, which is everything. Generating a high level of positive energy will create that “dynamic fight.” It will help you to heighten those positive emotions that will make you strong with confidence. Think “fun” and more positive energy will start flowing immediately. Say to yourself, “I love it! Isn’t this great! Show me the pressure!”
Churella always seemed to thrive on the pressure, the more the better.
When you get in that close match, remind yourself how you love it. You love the pressure, you love the excitement and you love putting it all on the line. For you, life would be too boring if you did it any other way. No holding back, no excuses, you are going for it. Do the best you possibly can. Wrestle to win it at all costs and then, win or lose, be proud because you gave it every ounce of everything you had.