The season is progressing at an alarming rate. It seems like yesterday that our team was worrying about being hydrated for their weight certifications. Now we are already through our third weekend tournament and our first weekend not competing. The break is necessary though, as some of the guys are cutting weight improperly and a few are banged up with injuries. The weekend off will give those weight cutters an extra few days to get control of their weight and give those beat up guys some time to heal. We left for King College on the fence on whether or not to wrestle at Concordia this weekend. The final decision depended on the teams performance at King College. To sum up the weekend, we qualified a few more for nationals, got another tournament champion, and turned a lot of corners in our technique and wrestling psyche. It was a good weekend, and obviously enough to sate the coaching staff’s hunger for the time being. Concordia was officially canceled on the bus ride back to Columbia. Again though, a weekend off was probably an unforeseen necessity.
The weekend off was really a result of the accumulation of a 3 weekend series of steady improvement and constant tenacity. The team really looks good, and their mentality has changed. I’m not one to point fingers, so I will just say that I think it has a lot to do with 3 of the wrestlers. All winners, but all differently. There is one who has overcome adversity and has stepped on the mat with an unmatched attitude and sense of tenacity for success. Another who has been deflated repeatedly, changed his temperament and purpose for being on the mat, and has rebounded to an important and successful role on the team. And finally the young gun coming in chewing up competition despite their age, strength, or experience – he doesn’t care. We did have one here last year, but his mindset has changed, but the other two are new roles on our team, but together have really influenced the attitude and change of pace for the entire squad.
Along with the changed attitudes and change of pace, we have an exciting future ahead of us. With the talent and untapped ability that is here, the changes taking place now will fasttrack this team to success very soon. I realize it is arrogance, but I foresee a national championship team in our room next year. I have seen college wrestling for 6 1/2 years now… it gets easier and easier to imagine the pace at which these guys will excel. Coupling that rate with the way they are changing their attitudes and theories of the sport – this team has a very bright future. You know how someone just “gets it?” Well, it’s like they are jumping over the wall one at a time… they’re getting it.
As for the coaching staff, we are ever evolving as well. Coach Ruff is doing a great job with his corner presence and containing frustration, which is being noticed by members on the team. Coach Cross is getting better and better at instruction and breaking moves down along with his expertise in breaking down film and noticing mistakes. I am ever changing my style on the mat and the things I can show the guys. Nearly every day I learn or realize something new that I had never thought of before or never noticed I did before. It’s those things coupled with instruction and then adoption and execution from the guys that make me feel like I am doing at least one aspect of my job correctly. When I have things, I like to share. Unfortunately it usually turns my pockets inside out, but with wrestling… I can share without worrying about resources.
I know the wrestling aspect is so important, but what concerns me the most is the character of our wrestlers. Doing the right thing isn’t always easy, but you can condition yourself to make good decisions. It could be compared to the snowball effect. One good decision leads into another and another and so on. Luckily, the coaches have done a good job recruiting darn good kids. We have our hygiene problems like any other program, but the steps we take are noticeable off the mat. Our presence on campus is doing very well. Wrestlers aren’t getting into trouble and they are walking around with a mindset that they represent themselves as well as the program and their teammates. It really is a conglomerate, and they are beginning to get that too. It’s a great time to be a part of this program – I consider myself lucky to be a part of the beginning of Lindsey Wilson Wrestling.