Is your world dark and spinning? Have you given it your all?
After suffering from many concussions through the course of a year and a half I found myself sitting out my senior wrestling season. I had wrestled since I was just a boy and it was quite the family sport. I loved wrestling and still do.
Watching something you love go on and not being able to be a part of it is something that is so hard to do, and not well understood by others until they have had a personal experience with it. This is the beginning of my experience that has begun to mold and effect my life.
Week in and week out I sat on the side of the mats and the edge of the room. I wanted in and bad. Every time I tried to take it on though I found myself in worse shape than before. Each time I did this I was more determined to get better and relax so that I could wrestle for the end of the season. Right after Christmas break I was feeling a lot better and not near as bad as before. I started practicing and slowly with time I began to integrate back in to the scheme of things.
First week back we had a dual with two of the neighboring towns and these would be my first matches of the season. Great way to come back slowly with just two matches. The matches went well and in my favor. I was feeling really confident with coming back in to the season full fledged. Just a few days later was one of the biggest tournaments of the year in Vernal Utah. That weekend wasn't nearly as kind to me. After a couple of hard matches and some hard knocks to the head, I found myself sitting out of the rest of the tournament once again on the side of the mats and hurting in the stands.
It was in those long hours that weekend that the thoughts of not being able to wrestle at state my senior year really began to ring in my ears. And from that day forward I was on the constant relax with the thoughts running through my mind back and forth on if I would make it back. I wanted it bad! I had been blessed enough to take state my junior year and I wanted to repeat my senior year.
Week after week I was barely improving if at all. The principal and the head sports man at my school had talked and determined that I wouldn't be wrestling unless I was able to get cleared by doctors in order to come back for the rest of the season. ( This was at the beginning of the crackdown on concussions that is spreading across the states. ) Every waking moment I thought this through in my mind. I knew that my state was serious and that multiple concussions can put someone into a coma pretty easily. This didn't thrill me all that much.
One night here I am, I find myself quickly sitting up in my bed at home. I am drenched in sweet and awakening from a frightening dream. I had just been wrestling in my state finals match in the events center when everything went black. Next thing I see is me getting carried off the floor on a stretcher and the crowd in a quiet hush. Not a pleasant thought and certainly not on to dwell upon.
I moved this thought to the back of my mind and started to look forward to being able to wrestle at state anyway. This is my hard headed side coming out of me! A couple of weeks pass by and I am slowly improving, although it doesn't seem like it very much. I was able to get to a couple of doctors and get cleared to come back for the end of the season. My coach and I still felt that it would be best to wait and not come back until the regional and state tournaments since I already had enough matches to get me in to the regional tournament. This we figured to be a wise idea for my condition and for the physical shape that I most definitely wasn't in. When I practiced we tried to keep it smooth and calm so as to not cause more jerking motions to my head than necessary.
Just about a week before the regional tournament one of my sisters comes up to me and tells me that she has something she needs to tell me. She then proceeded to tell me all about the dream that I had about a month earlier when I woke up in a cold sweet. When she finished her story she said that she had had this dream a couple of weeks ago and for a couple of days she was to scared to tell her husband because it seemed so real. Because she loves me and cares about me she told me about her experience and encouraged me to think about not finishing out the season. In the next short period of time I received a few more of these experiences with other sisters. This was something that really took me back and made me sit on my heals about making a decision to wrestle or not. Once again, my hard headed side took over and I said that I would wrestle and finish up the season.
Regional weekend, I had a couple of rough matches that I was able to pull through, followed by a finals match that didn't end as well. I was worn out, had taken second place and felt discouraged. But I still had hope as I knew there was still the state tournament and that the state tournament is what matters most.
The week before the State Tournament, I practiced very little this week and tried to be in the best condition possible for the weekend. Here again my coach and I had many discussions on what I should do. It all came down to the decision that I would wrestle.
Tournament time! My first match wasn't anything to hard. I was able to pull off a win in a timely manner and therefore not get winded or knocked around very much. The second round match was much like my first round match. These two matches was already more wrestling that I had done in the previous weeks.
Now I was in for the semi finals round. I was sure nervous, I didn't even know if I would make it this far and I was sure blessed to have done so. I was going to be wrestling a really good wrestler who had had a great season and proved himself on many occasions. As I stepped out on to the mat to wrestle this guy I knew that I was in for one heck of a battle. And a battle it was! Every second of every period was a grueling brawl. We were going at it head to head, wrestling like I had never wrestled before. I felt as though I wasn't there for half of it. We just kept going at it. All match I was just barely holding a lead by a point or two. The end of the match came and we were both so exhausted that we collapsed to the ground until we were able to collect ourselves to get up and shake each others hands.
Friday night was over and I was in the finals. I was tired and physically beat. That night and through out the next day I relaxed as much as possible and I watched and encouraged my team mates in the wrestle backs on Saturday. At some point on Saturday, it must have been just before the finals round I talked with my coach and we were talking about how I was feeling and how I was going to wrestle. We came to a solid decision that if I couldn't take the pain, it wasn't worth the trials that would come from more complications from concussions and so I would throw in the towel and end the match, if need be.
Finally in the Finals! What a battle it was. I was wrestling the same kid that beat me in the finals the weekend before at the regional tournament. He was so quick on bottom and hard to keep down. At the same time he was rock solid and hard to take down or get away from. I was in for a good long match. To be honest, I had no idea the way that this would go. It was tight the whole first round. At times we were both close to getting take downs, but neither of us could capitalize and score. By the end of the first round it was still 0 to 0. Second round was equally as hard. By this point things were becoming a daze to me and I was just reacting more out of habit than acknowledgment. We get in to the third and final round and everything is going so quick. We were just hitting one move after another, and never a stopping motion for a rest, not even for a moment. He was in great shape and I was just hanging in there. I think the score at the beginning of this round was like 2 to 2. During this round I had scored a couple more points and we were finally both on our feet again and the score was Me - 4 Him - 2. We had about twenty seconds or so left in the match and I knew that I could win the match if I could just simply endure to the end still trying to score, but not in a way that I gave him an easy opportunity to score. This is just what was happening and then I remember I swept to the left and slapped his knee for a fake shot and he sprawled as soon as I hit the shot.
A chin to the head and I am drifting off. Things are getting grey with the events center spinning around me. All things are turning to a blur, and he has taken me down. The score now reads Me - 4 Him - 4. He had me. I felt as though I was a by stander, just watching myself in awe at how I was losing in the final seconds in my senior year with my whole family there to watch. I remember laying there on my stomach, face in the mat looking back on what coach and I had talked about earlier that day and the dream that my sisters and I had earlier in the season. I knew that I needed to throw in the towel. I couldn't take it anymore. I was just gaining enough sense to tell the referee that I was calling it, when the crowd really became a total low humming or buzzing noise. I was slipping in and out of it. In the midst of all these thoughts and the blurring sounds with the masking grey fog that seemed to be as real as the mat that my face was in, I heard someones voice. The first time I couldn't pick out what they were saying very well, so I listened once more as they repeated themselves.
"Short Time! Short Time! Push it Tenor! Push it!". These are the words that I heard my coach amongst all the commotion going on about me. I wasn't going to throw in the towel. I was going to push it for the last couple of seconds or whatever he was meaning by short time, and if then I couldn't pull it off I made a promise to myself that I would throw in the towel. I knew that before I could do that I had to give my all for the last few seconds. As I moved to get out of the pin hold he was putting on me I began to stand and get away. In desperate measure he tried to through me in a head lock, and I did just what I had always been taught to do. I sagged my hips and pushed on his back.
2 points take down, 3 seconds to go! I was up by 2 and my opponent had gave his last move. I did it, I pulled through in the final seconds. I slowly got up and walked to the center of the mat not thinking about much other than the pain I felt. I shook my all worthy opponents hand and had my hand raised. I was turned around and shown to the other half of the stadium and then released.
I then began my thankful walk to the side of the mat to gather with my coaches. I remember swaying just a little bit, a lot like a buoy would sway after a lake just calmed down from a storm, right before the lake goes calm and turns to glass.
Into my coaches arms I halfway fell as I reached the outer circle. He had said that I had wrestled well and he was proud of me.
The other coaches right along my side were there to help me. They took me to the side and helped to evaluate my condition. I remember the care that they had for me that day and the love that was shown to me. For these things I will be ever grateful! Of these things I haven't mentioned my most prized lesson from this grand life experience.
Is your world dark and spinning? Have you given it your all? That day in that events center with my face in the mat and the world coming down around me I found the way to get out of a dark and spinning world when I thought I had given it my all. Just as I was feeling down in the worst way you could imagine I heard voice that told me that I could. I had all my thoughts against it but this was a voice that I had come to trust. I acted on the call to move and this has blessed me ever since. In the moments following the lowest seconds I had faced there I was able to conquer all that I had come for. What had seemed so far away and out of my reach had become real and tangible to me as I acted when I was against it.
From this I have learned that no matter how far life has you down, no matter how far you have gone and no matter what you have done... You can come back from it. Now it doesn't mean I never suffered from the problems that came from these decisions, it means that I was able to make it through them and still reach what I had shot for. I still have issues on a regular basis from the concussions, I would rather not have them. I would have rather learned this lesson another way if I could know it as well as I do now. I remember the moments and I can say that I have learned from them, but I have not forgotten what got me there. These are the things that have built me into the man I am today. I know that for each and every person in this world there is always a way out of their personal most dire situation. That way is The Atonement of Jesus Christ. He has been through it all and he is there beside you when you're down. He loves you and He cares for you. He wants to live with you. So please take His help and listen to the spirit! I know that when you do you will have treasures of knowledge that can bless you just as this one is one of my greatest treasured lessons.