Take It From Me – You Will Regret Not Working Hard When Your Wrestling Career is Over

I was feeling rather nostalgic on the drive home to Pittsburgh from Hershey late Saturday night. Maybe it was the black mold I sat in front of for two days inside the Old Barn. More likely – it was being back inside an arena where I never had the success I wanted. Seeing my high school coach Jeff Sweigard in the corner, barking out instructions, celebrating wins, and joking around with his staff – it all rushed back to me.

Running PA Power Wrestling I am constantly surrounded by the best wrestling has to offer. The best wrestlers, the best coaches, the best fans, etc. I normally don’t have time to reflect back on my own career or experiences with the sport. Or maybe – I don’t want to remember.

Traveling on the overpriced PA Turnpike, with my good friend and photographer Marc Billett, we started talking about the word regret. Questions were asked such as “If you could do it all over again – would you do anything different?

Now, Marc is a hall of fame coach who spent 40 successful years coaching at Latrobe High School, so naturally he had little to no regrets. Me, on the other hand, I am just a thirty-something year old former wrestler who spends way too much time running a website as a side business. 

I have a lot of regrets when it comes to my competition years. 

Don’t get me wrong. I loved my time coming through the Central Dauphin wrestling program from youth through high school. Some of the best memories I have are during my time wrestling. To this day my closest friends are guys I wrestled with. But at the end of the day – I don’t like thinking about my career.

I should have worked harder. I could have been better – I should have been better.

Why did I not see it then?

I was coached by one of the State’s best. I had support from a father who, despite being a former wrestler himself, never pushed me too hard or made me feel like I had to wrestle in order to please him. There were times when I wanted to quit.

I never quit – but that is of little consolation years later.

If I could give any advice to a high school wrestler struggling to find the will to push harder, go the extra mile, or fight for that last point –  it would be to leave no regret. When your career is over, it’s over.

Don’t be satisfied with just getting by or not giving up. 

You qualified for the State Tournament. Congratulations – but twenty years later you will be asking yourself…”Could I have earned a medal? Why didn’t I work harder to get on the podium? Was I satisfied just getting there?”

Wrestling is a beautiful analogy to life – you get out of it what you put in. Take it from me. You will have the rest of your life to feel sorry or pat yourself on the back. Now is the time to work harder, drill better, dig deeper, and achieve your goals. 

Regret weighs heavy on a person – you will feel it every time you return to those places where you fell short of your goals. 

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