February 1, 2011
I was at home last night reflecting on the team's win and thinking of all the tasks facing me this week, when it struck me. Tomorrow is not just another Senior Night, its OUR Senior Night. Last night and today I thought about the Senior Nights I have seen over the last ten years and these thoughts turned to the thought of watching my eldest son wrestle his last high school match in just a few short weeks. As my excitement grew I remembered an article I wrote last year and re-read it. It is a little early but I thought share it. It is untouched so the dates are off a bit but as I read it I remembered all the feelings I had as I wrote it last year. They are the same feelings this year but with a touch more intensity. If you have read it before I hope you enjoyed it then and now.
*It's an Exciting Time of Year~written 18 Feb 2010
It is an exciting time of year for high school wrestlers still in the hunt for a bid to the state championship. In less than 36 hours the NCHSAA Regional Tournaments will be underway. 24 hours after that, 784 North Carolina High School student athletes will be in their final week of practice prior to heading to Greensboro, golden ticket clutched firmly in their hands. Exciting times indeed...
Excitement comes in different flavors for these student-athletes. For some it is the pending realization of a goal, the excitement that knowing all the sacrifice is about to rewarded, the excitement knowing that an undefeated record going into the show means nothing unless that record remains unblemished on 28 February 2010. For others it is the excitement of having qualified for the regional or state tournament for the first time; some are satisfied with that; while others, are excited because they know they will achieve more than anyone expects them to. That is a different kind of excitement; one that peeks out in an quirky smile or smirk; one that is held inside, contained, only to be released after upsetting the higher seed, the higher ranked wrestler and accomplishing what they alone knew would be accomplished. For seniors, there is an additional excitement, for the end of wrestling season is yet another mark of time, soon it will be June and June changes life forever for seniors.
There is other excitement too. Wrestlers' families live with their own flavors. It is a sibling watching their older or younger brother (or sister) with pride; believing in their hearts nobody can stop them but, publicly teasing as only siblings do. For parents the excitement often takes on a nervous quality. Some cannot wait to watch the matches, others dread them, knowing that they will be a mental wreck in the minutes preceding and during the match. Some parents know that they will not even be able to watch their child's match, the nervousness overcomes them and they have to wait in the hall until it is over. Excitement, indeed.
I am excited too, but, not just for my son and our high school team. I am excited for North Carolina. This year 784 wrestlers will get the opportunity to achieve something that few others receive. This opportunity is earned. Truth be told, some earn it more than others. But, each one earns it. Opportunity excites me because it brings with it challenges. The greatness of a challenge is not whether or not you beat the challenge but in how you take it on. This is the time of year when you cannot hide from the question, "Did I do everything I could to prepare and am I doing everything I can now?" 784 student athletes will get to face a challenge that, having faced it head on, will only make them better people. The lessons learned in the challenge can be painful and joyful. Some will find despair as they sit in the stands, face in their hands, inconsolable. Others will share their boundless joy with others. Painful and joyful lessons, true, but, lessons that prepare us to be strong in life.
I am excited for our North Carolina student athletes. Good luck to you all. Meet your challenges head on, prepared, and believe; believe in yourself, your coaches, your family, and your God. Have faith, move forward, take action, and take charge of your fate. Whether you finish as a State Champion, State Placer, or State Qualifier, know that it is the journey you take and how you meet the journey's challenges that make you who you are and who you will be, not the title at the end of the day. 784 wrestlers will begin the last stage of the journey and only 154 will finish their last match of the day with their hand raised. 154 wrestlers that finish as winners in the state tournament; 784 wrestlers that can be winners in life.
Good luck to you all. I am excited for North Carolina and I hope you are too. ~Coach B*