How do you deal with a season ending loss?

Dan Russell Uncategorized 0 Comments


So you lost
and your season is over.  
you understand the beauty of our great sport that most of the world will never
comprehend. To wrestle is to struggle. Listen: you had the guts to step out on
the mat and test yourself against another. You matched your strength against
theirs. You came up short.  You have felt
the deep ache of defeat.  Welcome to the

Now, understand, a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. Champions fail

GROW from your yesterday, TEND to your today, and have HOPE for your


I just witnessed the Georgia State Wrestling Tournament and at the end of
the day only one got to stand at the top of the podium. I witnessed great wrestlers
pour their whole hearts out on the mat only to experience their opponent get
the victory.  The disappointment often
ended in a flood of tears and emotion.

 Have you ever
experienced a loss that hurt to the core of your being?

 When the wrestling season began, goals were written. Countless hours were
exhaustingly spent in the wrestling room working toward a great finish.  Technique was drilled over and over
perfecting the skills of a wrestler.  Pushing
beyond the pain, the work was often hard and long. The reward on the other side
of the blood, sweat and tears seemed within reach.  

 Though you dreamed of being the champion, how many at the end got the viewpoint
at the top of the award stand? Only ONE, the vast majority did NOT!  Most of the competitors stepped out on to the
mat and at the end of the year their hand did not get raised.  Their wrestling season ended in defeat and
their season was over.  They did not
reach the outcome that they had worked so hard to achieve.  

 Have you wanted
to succeed so bad and trained so hard yet came up empty at the end of the day?

 A crisis is a terrible thing to waste. You are a wrestler. Embrace the
process and progress! You are presented with a tremendous opportunity.  

 Great wrestlers become the best because they found a way to grow through
defeat.  They did not see the loss as catastrophe
but an opportunity develop, mature and advance.
They failed forward.  


My hero growing up was John Peterson. In high school, John never won a
state title, but he pursued his dream to wrestle in college despite the
disappointment. He wrestled for a NAIA school and never won a National Title,
but he remained unbroken beyond the discouragement.  

In 1972, John would win an Olympic Silver medal.  John, would once again, renew his vision to be
the best.  He continued to work and four
years later in Montreal at the 1976 Olympic Games John was crowned the gold
medal winner.  John failed forward.  He stuck with it.  He endured the hardship.  He embraced the process and the pain.  

You have an opportunity before you. Take the risk. Set some new goals.
Wrestle through the grief and disappointment.
The battle is in the imagination. It is time to dream again. Fail
forward. The core of wrestling is not the win but the struggle. Remember, to
wrestle is to struggle.  Welcome to the
toughest sport on the planet. You are part of a great fraternity. Life is too
short to just go through the motions. You live to wrestle another day.  GROW from your yesterday, TEND to your today,
and have HOPE for your tomorrow.

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