Wrestling; a sport for only the top athletes, contenders if you will. We struggle through the hardest of physical, mental and emotional beatings. I could give every detail of every match I have ever wrestled in, from match score, to the people around me, to what I could have done to make it better. You remember everything about the sport. I remember doing the same thing for four years straight before every match. When I was younger my father taught me prayers to recite every night. Before every match I go directly behind the mat, by myself, and say my prayers.
I remember knowing what needed to be done to make weight. Making weight is the first struggle of the sport. It's a challenge to yourself before you can even compete, and not an easy task at that. Rubber suits, water pills, boiler rooms, jump ropes, sweats, all triggers to the memories of those long hours sweating off that last pound just to make weight for the match the next day. At the end of the night, I can recall having to wring out shirts just to take some sweat off of it so that it wouldn't soak my sports bag. You remember how good ordinary things taste extraordinary after you weigh-in before the match and are allowed to eat again. Every average piece of food you eat tastes like a slice of heaven.
There is a time before the match starts that they introduce the line-ups for the respected teams. One team is in weight order on one side of the mat and the other team is on the other side of the mat. They will announce the specific weight and call out each wrestler from the team to meet in the center of the mat and shake hands. This isn't just a chance to meet; this is a chance to size him up. This doesn't seem like much, but just by the way this happens you can tell what kind of opponent you are up against. The way he runs out or casually walks out, lets you know how excited or nervous or confident he is, the way he shakes your hand, with a tight grip a casual slap or barely even... [continues]
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