The Wrestling Lifestyle

Personal Essay by Drake Roller

Trojan+Wrestling+yearbook+page+from+2015+Javelin.+Page+designed+by+Tanner+Mauk.
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The Wrestling Lifestyle

Trojan Wrestling yearbook page from 2015 Javelin. Page designed by Tanner Mauk.

Trojan Wrestling yearbook page from 2015 Javelin. Page designed by Tanner Mauk.

Trojan Wrestling yearbook page from 2015 Javelin. Page designed by Tanner Mauk.

Trojan Wrestling yearbook page from 2015 Javelin. Page designed by Tanner Mauk.

Drake Roller

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The life of a wrestler is challenging, but it all pays off in the end. Wrestling to me is a lifestyle: you have to eat, sleep, and breathe wrestling. You have to give up a lot of things to be the greatest. Wrestling is a mental sport. You have to be mentally tough to compete on the mat. There are a lot of challenges, and to overcome them you have to push yourself to the maximum every single second of the day, no matter what you are doing.

When I wake up at 5:30 in the morning I weigh myself and then go in the kitchen to weigh my food to see what I can have. When I arrive at practice again I weigh myself to see how many layers of clothes I should wear when we run the mile. I usually wear sweatpants, two sweatshirts and a stocking cap so I can sweat more, which allows me to eat and drink a little bit throughout the day.

After morning practice you have to go through school having a positive and learning attitude. I don’t say much throughout the day, but I always try to keep a positive attitude.

After the school day the wrestling team goes to the library to catch up on some homework so we don’t fall behind. When Coach Duff says, “Alright boys, let’s go get weighed in,” we hustle to the locker room to get ready for practice.

We run in the the wrestling room because it is freezing outside. After we get into the room we put on our shoes and listen to Coach Duff’s announcements.  We then get practice going.

In the room we physically and mentally beat the tar out of each other, but at the end of practice we are brothers again. There is no better feeling than getting a great grind session in with your practice partner. My practice partner is Zac Stork. Stork and I push each other so hard so that we can get on the podium in February at the Wells Fargo Arena.

After practice I weigh again to see how much I lost and see how much I can eat that night. That is my day-to-day practice schedule.

But wrestling isn’t just about cutting weight and practicing, it’s about the grind and greatness you achieve while doing this sport. The tournaments get so hype, and it’s just a great atmosphere. After the season tournaments, you get into Hawkeye 10, sectionals, districts, and finally the state tournament.

I got second place at the sectional tournament my sophomore year and that qualified me for the district tournament. At the tournament I lost my first round and then won my second round. I got the chance for a wrestle back which, if I won, would have qualified me for the state tournament. I lost. It was over–all of the early mornings and countless hours of practice working harder than anyone, it was over.

Four days later Coach Duff pulled me into his office and told me to get ready to wrestle at the state tournament. Creston 170 pounder Taylor Pettit had been rushed to the hospital after collapsing after his match during the state duals. I was shocked, but I was ready to compete at the largest level of competition in the state of Iowa.

My first round I got called to a mat and I ran out in the middle of Wells Fargo and just embraced the feeling. I went 0-2 and got beat out of the tournament, but just wrestling for someone that almost died made me feel proud. I gave it my all for Pettit, Creston, and my team.

It takes a different breed to be a wrestler. Wrestling isn’t just a sport, it’s a lifestyle.

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