I do not like to lose!
This weekend I sat in the corner of the mat championing Jake Rogers a
skilled freshman. This young wrestler
has put in the time necessary to be a titleholder. I have worked with Jake through the years anticipating
this moment. I have watched him put in the over time. I have seen him sacrifice time with friends
to compete in tough tournaments. He has
tested himself at the highest levels available to him. It was no surprise to me to see Jake Rogers
make it to the finals in a very competitive weight class but our goals this
season were bigger than the finals. We
wrestle to win! We train for success.
Jake was facing a wrestler similar in style but older
in years and experience at the high school level. Jake knew he would encounter a great opponent
in Trysten Perales that night. His
adversary had trained through blood, sweat, and tears in a legendary Lake Stevens program throughout his high
school career. He did not make it to the
finals by accident. That being said, I
would never bet against this freshman.
He knows how to win. He is not afraid to compete. The big stage does not intimidate him. The two combatants shook hands. The whistle
blew. The wrestlers battled.
I can still feel the intensity of the moment. I have
replayed the match over and over in my head. We knew we were facing a
dangerous, tenacious senior and found ourselves down 4-0 after the first
round. The four points came in a
scramble. Somewhere in the mix of two
warriors scrapping, the official had waved off a two count scoring back
points. I did not see it! The takedown was clear, but the back
points? The rest of the match I could
not get past the near fall.
I teach our wrestlers, to forget the past and wrestle
to win the moment in front of you. I shook my head in frustration over the initial
call the whole match. I did not practice
what I preach. As I actively observed
the match from the sideline, I saw every decision the referee made through the
lens of the near fall that I had not agreed with. I was disappointed with the outcome. I anticipated
Jake’s win never imagining we would come up short. Though the outcome had surrounded me with a
dark cloud of frustration I witnessed Jake Rogers walk off of the mat with his
head held high. He was not ashamed of
his effort. I am proud to coach in his
My wrestler lost. The effort and fight Jake’s opponent
gave is to be commended. Trysten
Perales now holds the title of “state champion” and that will never be taken
away from him. His tournament success helped his team capture the state
title. The Lake Stevens coaches, team,
school and community have the right to be proud. They wrestled the way they train. Their record speaks for itself.
As a coach I want every athlete of mine to experience
the thrill of victory at the highest levels.
The reality in wrestling as well as in life is that there will only be
one that stands on top of the podium. In
every match, there will be a loser.
Wrestling is more than winning.
Every match offers an opportunity for growth. Every athlete competes to win yet character
is best revealed through a tough loss. When is Losing fun?
Jake Rogers won tough hard-fought matches on the way
to the finals. Jake knows how to win. But
Jake’s character was laid bare in his loss. Jake Rogers revealed he is more than a champion. Our school preaches three qualities of our
student athletes. Battle Ground values,
“UTC! Unity – Toughness – Class.” Jake
Rogers displayed all three of these attributes this past weekend. Jake exemplified
“class” best in his crushing season-ending loss.
Processing a loss out loud in the moment is never a
good idea. A wise proverb says, “Speak when you are outraged and you will give
the best speech that you will forever regret.” As the match ended I saw the
opposing coaches, and I voiced my complaint over the official’s judgment in the
match. I opened my mouth and I regret the decision. Mud slinging, dirt throwing, dust kicking only
causes you lose to ground.
We have work to do before the next season begins. Living in the past, blaming others, hoping
for a different outcome are not the keys to growth. Forget the past. Do not worry about the future. Put the work in today and tomorrow will take
of it self.