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JC

Did you ever, seriously, almost quit wrestling, but

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then stayed with it and went on to have more (wrestling) success than you imagined?

 

If not you, how about a friend or teammate you were close with?

No embellishments please. No comeback stories from having taken time off (anything more than a week). And, stories from age 12 on up. 

 

Discuss!

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Sophomore year of high school I got decked in the consi-semis of districts by a guy I pinned earlier that day. I was embarrassed and refused to wrestle my 5/6th place match (Top 5 moved to Regionals) but I just didn't care. I got showered, got dressed, and sat in the stands waiting on the bus. A few minutes before the match was called my coach told the other coach I was forfeiting. Word got back to the kids who I was suppose to wrestle and he came over to me and told me "It's better this way, you don't want to get decked twice in one day...." I immediately got my singlet on, wrestled the match, winning by techfall 17-2. Next week I was in the region finals, the week after I tore my ACL in practice and didn't make the state tournament.

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i remember my oldest brother wanted to quit his freshman year of high school but then stuck with it and became a 4 year letter winner and 3X district 4th placer. 4th was his favorite place because you get to win a match but then also get to stop wrestling as only 3rd place advanced to regions which would've extended his season another week. 

 

i retired after high school and then unretired sophomore year of college but then re-retired 2 weeks later because i was horrible and pitifully out of shape. 

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My junior year in High School I lost in the Regional blood round 3-2 in the last 15 seconds.  I beat that kid 8-0 about a month earlier.  In his defense, he wrestled for one of the top Michigan programs(still to this day).  That bus ride home was one of the worst moments of my wrestling career.  I fully expected to be wrestling in Battle Creek 2 weeks later.  I still remember my Coach's face when I told him I wasn't coming back next season.  Still, after a bit of time to re-think things it became one of the major motivators to make sure I didn't let that happen again the next season.  It didn't!  Instead it happened in the blood round at the State Tournament.........................But this sport is very hard to quit.  I had a successful Freestyle season and decided to walk on as a Freshman.  Between College and Open tournaments I ended up wrestling in tournaments until I was 27.  In all that time I must have told myself I was going to quit 120+ times.   80+ of those were around the 3rd straight day of fasting to make sure I made weight....................

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... when coaching, I had a guy place 5th in the sectional, making him the alternate to the district. He was a no show monday of district week.  I called him and said "if you want your letter at season's end, I'll see you Tuesday at practice".  He showed up, got a chance to wrestle in the district due to another qualifier getting injured, and he placed 5th  at the district meet- alternate to the state. 

Unfortunately, he didn't get to wrestle at state, but it turned out good for him ......

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Not sure if this is true, but the story was going around at the '82 tournament in Ames. Supposedly about two weeks before the tourney began, Gable was up early as usual checking on his wrestlers. Barry Davis had tacked a note on Gables's door telling him that he couldn't make weight and was quitting the team. Gable immediately goes into salvage mode and begins an intense search. The story goes that Gable walked into a nearby convenience store and saw Davis in line at the check out with a quart of milk and a dozen chocolate donuts (you know the little ones you can wolf down in one bite). Gable took Davis back to his house and pretty much stayed with him until they went to Ames. Of course the rest is history, 3 time champ Barry Davis.

 

Again, I'm not at all sure of the veracity of the story but it makes a hell of a tale.

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Not sure if this is true, but the story was going around at the '82 tournament in Ames. Supposedly about two weeks before the tourney began, Gable was up early as usual checking on his wrestlers. Barry Davis had tacked a note on Gables's door telling him that he couldn't make weight and was quitting the team. Gable immediately goes into salvage mode and begins an intense search. The story goes that Gable walked into a nearby convenience store and saw Davis in line at the check out with a quart of milk and a dozen chocolate donuts (you know the little ones you can wolf down in one bite). Gable took Davis back to his house and pretty much stayed with him until they went to Ames. Of course the rest is history, 3 time champ Barry Davis.

 

Again, I'm not at all sure of the veracity of the story but it makes a hell of a tale.

I believe it was a Hy-Vee

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I broke in college.  Every night after practice I would haul my sorry rear end to the cafeteria with ice bags on my knees, elbows, shoulders, etc.  Wrestling wasn't fun and I was just tired of being beat up all the time.  Everyone else I knew (non-wrestlers) was having fun all the time and I was freaking miserable.  So I said screw it.  I went to what I thought was my last practice on a Thursday.  I didn't care.  And, strangely, I had possibly the best practice I ever had.  I didn't show up on Friday and decided to pig out and eat like a maniac.  By Sunday, I already missed practice and I was sick of eating non-stop.  On Monday I went to the coach's office to apologize and ask if I could remain on the team.  He was awesome to me and allowed me to come back on.  I later ended up tearing my ACL and had three knee surgeries and that was it, but I at least went out because I couldn't continue and not because I gave up.  For some dumb reason that's important to me.

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Daniel Dennis has put together some impressive events after coming back from retirement. I believe he is much higher on the ladder now than when he was making his last run in senior level competitions.

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Not sure if this is true, but the story was going around at the '82 tournament in Ames. Supposedly about two weeks before the tourney began, Gable was up early as usual checking on his wrestlers. Barry Davis had tacked a note on Gables's door telling him that he couldn't make weight and was quitting the team. Gable immediately goes into salvage mode and begins an intense search. The story goes that Gable walked into a nearby convenience store and saw Davis in line at the check out with a quart of milk and a dozen chocolate donuts (you know the little ones you can wolf down in one bite). Gable took Davis back to his house and pretty much stayed with him until they went to Ames. Of course the rest is history, 3 time champ Barry Davis.

 

Again, I'm not at all sure of the veracity of the story but it makes a hell of a tale.

http://www.si.com/vault/1982/03/22/564825/look-homeward-hawkeye

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Can remember near the start of my career, during upside-down pushups in the junior high practice room, thinking how difficult this was and I should quit.

Didn't though.

 

That, and losing my starting spot on the team as a senior in college- wanted to quit, but gutted out the last 8 weeks of practice anyway.

That was very, very difficult emotionally and mentally, but so glad I was able to finish.

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When I was a high school junior I got fed up with the cutting weight/practice grind and "quit".  I tried soccer for 1 week and knew that was not the ticket. I asked the coach to come back and he said sure but you must ask the team as well. So I asked my team mates to take me back which they did and in my first varsity match I won by fall which was the best medicine of all. Wrestling has never left my psyche since then and I will be always appreciative of the life lessons it taught.    

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I was a good HS wrestler, a mediocre D1 wrestler, and battled a shoulder injury from my junior year of HS on.

Every year from junior year in HS on, after the season eneded I'd tell my dad, "well, that's it for me, I'm done.  My shoulder is killing me, I hate the cut, I'm out.".

And he'd never say anything but kind of nod back, and leave me to my thoughts.  Within a couple of weeks I'd have the bug and get back to training.  For about two weeks every year, I thought I was done wrestling.

Finally, after my junior year in college, the shoulder just wasn't going to hold up, and when it dawned on me that the decision was being made FOR me, I was heartbroken.

I love coaching, and watching my son and others I've trained compete.  Still not the same as being out there yourself.

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Thanks for the post. As a Sooner fan, I can only look back and wish Davis had not made weight. Sooners would hav won handily if Iowa did'nt have the points Davis scored. That tournament will always leave a bad taste in the mouths of Sooner faithful. Had 2 previous all Americans who had transferred in and they did not score a point.

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wrestling came to my town when i began the 8th grade, which was the beginning of high school at my school.  i was late for puberty, skinny, unpopular, lacking confidence.  below 90 lbs. were about 8 or 9 kids who had come out for the team, and only 1 of those could i regularly beat.  some absolutely hammered me, and of course the practices were grueling.  my father, who had encouraged me to go out for wrestling, saw how miserable it was for me.  and although he'd always had a strict "no quitting" policy for anything we signed up for (i was never forced to sign up for anything), he said he felt bad for my schedule and made a compromise:

 

on the day i won my first match, i could choose to quit.  but, my father predicted, there would be no way i'd quit after i had made that much gain.  he said when i won that match, the feeling of accomplishment (considerable considering my "before" state) would be so great that i'd have a renewed fire inside me, and that i'd be hooked.

 

it was a wise prediction.  every year i wrestled heads and shoulders above my level the previous year.  the summer before my junior year, a d1 coach approached me at camp, and that got me thinking a little.  the summer before my senior year, i was pretty sure i'd continue to wrestle at a d3 school somewhere.  and by the end of my senior year, i was committed to wrestle d1.

 

thoughts of quitting continued to flirt in my mind, but i'd learned so much by my father's lesson that first year, that i always knew sticking with it would pay off.  i finished my college career a four year starter, senior captain and team's most outstanding wrestler.  after grad school, i coached two years of college wrestling before settling back in my hometown, later volunteering for over a decade as a coach.

 

that calculated gamble my father took taught me perseverance and faith, which later became the foundation for my career, my marriage, my spiritual growth, and fatherhood.  

 

stick with it.  it's the only way it will get better.  and it will get better.  and it will be worth it.

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The season after my freshman year, I'd had it. Burn out after years of wrestling. We moved from a small school to Blue Springs, Mo, which was one of the largest in Mizzou at the time. I decided to go out for basketball. Showed up for the first day of practice and their varsity looked like a college team. Welp, had my trusty Iowa wrestling TShirt on and my Geometry teacher asked me if I was from Iowa (he was an Asst Coach)...I said yes but that I didn't wrestle anymore. He sent me down to talk to the Varsity Coach  who then left his class and talked to me for about a half hour to get me to show up for practice. The team had close to 60-80 kids. I half-heartedly showed up...first part was a five mile warm up run and then practice started. I thought, "What the hell did I get myself into?" Great coaches, great program, and my improvement was tenfold. What a difference a coach, who took a half hour out of his schedule, made in this wrestler's life.

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azchief32, consider writing a letter to that coach and telling him exactly what you just said, plus a little bit more.

It may bring him to tears.

I hope he is still alive and well.

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