Last night the Trojan grapplers lost in the district finals to Sand Creek, sadly we didn’t just lose we were destroyed scoring just 12 points. I reflected (read: dwelled) on this last night as I tried to sleep. What is it about Sand Creek that makes them so much better than us and are we prepared to turn the tables next year.
When my oldest son, Terry Jr., wrestled in high school there was a similar situation. He wrestled for Waterford Kettering and it was Waterford Mott, our rival, who kicked our butts during the season and in the district finals. Kettering was able to turn the tables and even become a dominant team for a few years. How did it happen?
I came up with 5 things that must happen if the Madison Trojans are going to turn the tables and capture a district championship over Sand Creek next year.
1. We have to stay healthy. Some of staying healthy is just dumb luck, some is better facilities (kids hitting a padded wall rather than a brick wall), some is kids taking better care of their bodies (eating healthier, being oriental (inside joke) about keeping clean, stretching, etc…) and some is simply kids being tougher and realizing they are going to have aches and pains during wrestling season.
2. We have to develop a team concept and cheer for one another. Too many times kids wanted to leave after they were done (individual tournaments) and not support their teammates. Too many times we didn’t look out for one another during school and during practice. We need a sense of Esprit de corps (the common spirit existing in the members of a group and inspiring enthusiasm, devotion, and strong regard for the honor of the group).
3. We need off-season commitment. I’m not saying it has to be wrestling, wrestling, wrestling and no other sports. But wrestlers need to be working out in the off-season, they need to take advantage of open mats, and they need to go to a camp or two. We were totally out-physicaled by Sand Creek. Some of the kids were over heard commenting how big and strong the Aggie wrestlers looked compared to us. Why? Because they lifted in the off-season. The off-season before Kettering turned the tables on Mott, we had 8-10 kids committed to coming in for open mats and lifting 3-4 days a week. Of those 8-10 kids 7 of them went on to be state qualifiers.
4. We need to encourage other kids to come out for wrestling. The more wrestlers, the more depth, the better our chances will be. Who knows there may be a diamond in the rough wandering the halls of Madison with nothing to do in the winter months. We need to promote wrestling in the best of lights and get as many to come on board as possible.
5. And finally we need to sell the bleep out when next season starts. Jerry Rice was known for his legendary workouts both before and during the season. His famous quote is: “Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.” We have to practice harder than our opponents. We have to be at every practice. We have to avoid drama and work hard in school to ensure we are not only present, but mentally tuned in and ready to give it all we can all the time.
There is an old English Proverb that says: “Those at the top of the mountain didn’t fall there.”
Are we ready to do what is necessary to get on top? Are we ready to turn the tables?