The First Thing High School Wrestling Taught Me:

The First Thing High School Wrestling Taught Me:

popewrestlinglogoFor my entire high school career, 2001 – 2005, I was a wrestler.  Yes, I realize that was over a decade ago and even thinking about that is still wild to me, but the lessons I learned back then are still impacting me today.
In 2001 my friend and I joined the wrestling team because we wanted to do something after school and wrestling sounded fun.  Not sure how we thought sweating and grappling with other hot sweaty men sounded like a good time, but we signed up for the team.  A week or two later my friend ends up quitting, and honestly I am surprised that I didn’t do that as well since I had already tried the sport out in middle school and I hated it. I had mild success the first year, if I can really even call it that, and as the first season came to a close, I thought I would hang up my wrestling shoes and and never return.
My coach, Jim Haskin, had a different thought running through his mind.  As I came up to him and told him my thoughts on quitting, he took me for a lap around the halls of the school and said something that has forever stuck with me.  “Stippich,  this choice is the start of the rest of your life.  This choice of quitting or staying with the team will set you up for how you view commitment the rest of your life.  This will set up your future relationships, and even the type of commitment you hold in marriage.”  He told me to think about it over the weekend, and let him know on Monday what I decided.
I wrestled with what he said all weekend, pun intended.  It consumed my thoughts, and even though I was on a church retreat that weekend, all I could think about was commitment, and how it all started with small decisions like the one I was having to make.  Come Monday, I let coach know that I would stay with the team.  That lesson on sticking with your commitments, no matter what, has shaped how I view my word and the bond it creates when I agree to do something.  I don’t go half way on anything.  I am all-in and fully committed to what I say I will do. 
I never thought high school wrestling and what I would learn through that sport could be so integral to my life.  I am grateful Jim Haskin pushed me to stick with my commitments, because it has forever changed my life.  

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I am dead center just behind the first row.  My big bobblehead is blocking my team mate. Wow… What a picture.

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