Wrestling: A Brotherhood

Luke Willett

Wrestling for me has been a very influential part of my life ever since I was introduced to the sport back in seventh grade by Coach Heller. The daily grind of giving it my all in practice even when I feel down and tired that day or pushing myself past the limits that my mind tries to set for me as my lungs are screaming at me and my whole body is so fatigued that it feels like my muscles are on fire is one of the hardest things I have personally ever done. Wrestling practices are often grueling and long with lots of conditioning and live drills that will consistently test your dedication to the sport if you fully commit yourself from day one of the season. Often, when I feel down or unmotivated, I look back and reflect on why I do this to myself. Why do I push myself so hard past the point of exhaustion? Why do I lose so much weight just for a high school sport? Every time I find myself coming back to the same answers: for my teammates and my coaches, who are all like brothers. Wrestling is an individual sport in a sense, but when I’m out there on the mat all alone with just me and my opponent knowing we are about to scrap it out to see who is the tougher man for six minutes, I know that I’m never truly alone. I can always look to my corner to see my teammates cheering me on and my coaches supporting and helping me. After going out there and giving it everything I got – coming off the mat after getting my hand raised and exhausted after a big win with my teammates – knowing that I am part of something bigger than myself is truly something that cannot be put into words. It has to be experienced.

During practice, tensions often rise in the room as we are battling it out to better ourselves in that little room in the basement of Walsh Hall. No matter how much we rough each other up or poke fun at each other during practice, at the end of the day we could not do it without each other. and I am thankful to be able to call myself a member of the brotherhood that is the wrestling team.

This season has been a very interesting one so far, as we are starting this year off with some new members to the coaching staff, which is arguably one of the best coaching staffs in all of Massachusetts. Coach Ahern is the new Head Coach, and Coaches Liss and Heaslip are the assistant coaches. We also have our part-time coaches, Coach Rinaldi and Coach Barrett, and we even have returning MIAA Assistant Wrestling Coach of the year, Coach Jeff Bechen. This year’s team captains for the wrestling team are Donald Ryan (Senior), Jack Landy (Senior), Tyler Woolf (Senior) and myself (Junior). We have had a promising start to the season with Donald Ryan currently being ranked #3 in the state at 132lbs and, just recently, breaking the BC High wrestling all-time win record with 130 wins. At a recent tournament we had many placers including Donald Ryan who won the tournament for his weight class. Donald also took second out of eighty wrestlers at The Lowell Holiday Tournament last weekend, which is one of the best tournaments in New England as it draws some of the best wrestlers from every state in New England and some great wrestlers from New Jersey.

We have less than 5 weeks until sectionals, so we are going as hard as we can in practice to get ready for our championship run as a team and individually. Donald Ryan looks very promising as he is looking to be one of the best wrestlers in New England. Unfortunately, the week before Christmas break, I fractured part of my sternum during practice, but I hope to return to action in a few weeks, and I can’t wait to get back out there on the mat to wrestle.