WRESTLING COMMUNITY IS LIFE COMMUNITY

Written by: Michael Fessler

This is the third and final blog in the series pertaining to our discussion on values inherent in the statement “Life is tough; wrestling prepares you for the challenge.” If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to read the two previous blogs entitled “Fight For Success” and “Scars Have Meaning”.

There is a long list of values that could be included in this particular series, but the third and final one that we will discuss is this: community.

The way I see it, the community developed in wrestling is an example of the type of community we have (or should have) in life. As much as wrestling is an individual sport, there is a real and powerful sense of community. You compete alone; but outside of competition, your teammates are right there with you. You train together, go through pain together, struggle together, experience times of joy together, and aid one another in becoming the best wrestlers you can be. And in life, something very similar occurs. You train together in terms of growing in development and character, go through pain together, struggle together, experience times of joy together, and aid one another in becoming the best people you can be. At the very least, you should want this type of community. Life is hard. And engaging it with a strong community around you is far better than without one.

Two stories come to mind. First, is the 1988 NCAA champions, Arizona State; and the other is the 2001 NCAA champions, Minnesota. In both cases, they won the national tournament without having a single, individual national champion. Arizona State won with 7 All-Americans, and Minnesota won with their entire line-up: 10 All-Americans. Each of these teams knew that the overarching goal went beyond just their own individual success. It was about the success of the team. None of them achieved their individual pursuit of being a national champion; but as a team, they achieved a national championship. Both of these teams have since had a documentary-type film completed that recounts their particular journey toward the championship. And for both, when you watch these videos or films, you will undoubtedly be inspired by the powerful display of community: the passion, the unwavering commitment toward one other and their success, the family-type closeness that developed, and so much more.

It’s often suggested that wrestling is not a team sport. And to some degree, this is true…but not entirely. It might not be a team sport in the traditional sense of the term; but it is definitely a team sport as it relates to resembling a strong sense of “community”. So, it’s a team sport, but it just looks a little different. In fact, the truth is that I would take the community resembled on a wrestling team over any other. To me, “wrestling community” corresponds to “life community” in a deep and meaningful way. How it develops and displays itself offers so much as a counterpart to life.

“Life is tough; wrestling prepares you for the challenge.” Community is another value discovered in this. And while this will be the final blog of this particular series, I encourage readers to continue this discussion and identify more and more of these important values.

About Michael Fessler

Michael Fessler is a writer, speaker, and the author of “Faith and Wrestling”, They’re Just Not Interested”, and “The Wrestler”. While he currently resides with his wife and children in Minnesota, Michael grew up in Missouri and was a significant part of the Missouri youth wrestling scene, earning several state and national titles. He went on to compete at Oak Park High School and earned a state title as a freshman. The following year, he moved to Minnesota with his family and completed his high school career wrestling at national powerhouse, Apple Valley, where he earned another state title as a senior. He went on to compete in college at California State University, Bakersfield. However, due to recurrent injuries and a lack of passion, Michael ended his wrestling career after just a year. He moved back to Minnesota where he earned a BA in Biblical and Theological Studies (Bethel University), and then an MA in Communications (Concordia University – Saint Paul).

Michael rekindled his love for the sport of wrestling as a spectator and fan. It is his desire to help current wrestling athletes discover the wonderful unique qualities of the sport early on so that they can approach the sport in a way that makes the most of their time while competing.

Michael Fessler peers into the life of a wrestler. From the internal struggles of balancing glory and humility, to the mental struggles of confidence and self-defeat, “The Wrestler” brings the reader into the competitive arena. And often times, aspects of this arena are hidden. What occurs in the heat of battle on the mat is only half the story. This book helps current competitors recognize what exactly they’re participating in. It seeks to help them appreciate the unique qualities of the sport, to recognize what they are gaining from it, and to craft a competitive approach that makes the most of their time as a wrestler.

The Michael Fessler Blogs

Michael Fessler peers into the life of a wrestler. From the internal struggles of balancing glory and humility, to the mental struggles of confidence and self-defeat, “The Wrestler” brings the reader into the competitive arena. And often times, aspects of this arena are hidden. What occurs in the heat of battle on the mat is only half the story. This book helps current competitors recognize what exactly they’re participating in. It seeks to help them appreciate the unique qualities of the sport, to recognize what they are gaining from it, and to craft a competitive approach that makes the most of their time as a wrestler.