All the ups and downs, triumphs and failures, strides and stumbles, experienced by a professional fighter throughout his career, are present for every college wrestler...in a single season. Granted, it's a long season, or, at least it seems downright interminable for those in its midst.
For many collegiate wrestlers, particularly for the legions of standouts in the frozen upper Midwest, from November to March, between classes and twenty five-plus hours a week of training, they rarely see the light of day unless their practice room has windows. They roll out of bed and step into the frigid darkness, and return home in the same conditions. Often times a wrestler laces his shoes up for practice and wonders if he ever actually ever left the room; all the afternoons on the mat bleed together and seem like one never-ending training session on a loop. But for the never ending focus necessary to remember that the fulfilment of goals is worth the drudgery, and to constantly remind oneself about the deep love for the sport that always remains, a wrestler's mind will break.
Most minds aren't strong enough, mine wasn't, not by a long shot. Wrestlers can return from broken bones, shattered joints, and concussed brains, but when the mind goes, it is all over.
Conversely, those who make it, who never break, possess the finest materials available for the construction of a fighter. The guys who spent four or five years in an NCAA wrestling room experience such great success in a cage, not because of the number of pushups they crank out, nor because of the number of sprints they are willing to run. They succeed because they have proven they have faultless psychological integrity against the most hostile assault imaginable. They succeed because they have survived the grind of college wrestling and haven't quit.
Right now, a few weeks into this college wrestling season, this grind has begun anew. I passionately urge anyone with even a modicum of interest to follow along and experience the splendid story that is a college wrestling season. To help in this effort, I have provided my aggregation and annotation of last weeks college wrestling (NCAA Division One) results, which I write for Intermat.
To see my round up, the link is here