Most girls don’t pay money to roll around on the ground with sweaty guys. Yet that is exactly what I did this last July. No, it’s not what you’re thinking; I went to wrestling camp. Wrestling is a sport that I’ve always wanted to try, but my shyness and insecurity held me back. This year I decided that I will no longer allow other people’s opinions affect my own decisions. Joining wrestling is the first major step I’m taking to change my life.
“You want to do…wrestling? As in…wrestle?” This is the initial reaction I got from Coach McGuffin when I told him I wanted to wrestle this next winter. Not exactly the level of enthusiasm I was looking for. His demeanor changed in a couple moments though, and he suggested that I go to camp in the summer. I signed the papers, and a month later I was headed to K&K wrestling camp in Leavenworth.
When we first arrived I’d thought we’d taken a wrong turn and went to a traveling gypsy convention by mistake. The whole field outside the school was filled with tents of various sizes and colors. 200 wrestlers, about thirty of which were girls, filtered about the area. As my soon-to-be teammates and I headed to the first practice, anxiety gnawed at my stomach like a dog with a bone (FL). I wanted to impress everybody, and prove that I could make it in this sport. Before we started, the coach patted me on the shoulder. “I’ve got your back all right.” he told me. I smiled and nodded. At least one person was looking out for me.
To say that practice was physically demanding is an understatement. We had to run around, jump over people, and carry people while we ran around and jumped over people. The fluorescent lights circled around me like a disco ball (sight), and I tasted metal as I pushed myself harder (taste). I glanced around me and realized I was doing better than most of the girls. My self-esteem inched up a couple notches.
After the conditioning drills, we learned a few moves, then paired up and practiced them. “You’ll be fine,” coach said “you just have to be aggressive.” I nodded, but inside I secretly prayed that I wouldn’t get stuck with a rabid beast of a wrestler. Apparently the wrestling gods weren’t listening.
The first girl I was paired with wasn’t foaming at the mouth, but her intimidation factor was still quite high. She had the quads of an Olympian, and her biceps were so thick I’m pretty sure she could bench press me. To top it all off, she was sporting a face mask reminiscent of Hannibal Lecter (apparently she had broken her nose in a match last season). Her arms of steel wrapped around me, and when she took me down I felt like I’d been clotheslined by The Rock. The guys on the team were watching, and I saw them all collectively cringe as my face got slammed into the mat. Fun stuff.
After this short but painful crash course in wrestling basics, it was time for some live matches. I had one clear cut objective: Don’t get pinned! Two seconds into my first match and my face got to...