A New Home

“No matter how you get there or where you end up, human beings have this miraculous gift to make that place home.” That is one of my favorite quotes from The Office said in the series finale. Before college, I had never really “ended up” anywhere on my own. But, when I moved to San Diego for school, I was completely and utterly alone. Of course, I knew that going into it and was fine with it. When my parents moved me in, I did not shed a tear and waved goodbye with a smile, ready for the adventure that was about to begin. You never really know what to expect when you go into a place where you know absolutely no one or anything about the area. I was completely unaware of the experiences God had planned for me, but nonetheless, I was never worried. It took a lot of trust, faith, and unconditional love to get through the past year, and I could not be more grateful for the best year of my life.

Let’s start with my roommate. I know I have talked about her in previous posts, but wow– I really did luck out with the best roommate. It is amazing how she was my 100% match on just a 5 question survey; it truly was a God thing. She was there for me all the time and I could always rely on her in times of need. I am so thankful for all the laughs, tears, and memories we shared, but most of all, I am so thankful I had a best friend to come home to every night and talk for hours. It did not matter that we didn’t have the same close friends or classes, but we lived so well together and cared so much for each other. It may just be a room, but we made a home out of it. We got to be ourselves in there, made so many memories, and were able to be vulnerable.IMG_3562 At the end of the year, Katie kept saying the Winnie the Pooh quote, “How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” We were so lucky to have gotten matched together by “chance” and will forever cherish our time together. Next year, we won’t be living together, but I know we will hang out as often as possible and our friendship will last a lifetime.

Also, how lucky am I that I have a friend at school from the same home state as me? She is not just a friend, but a best friend and another friend for a lifetime. Next year, I am living with her and we are also traveling to Florence, Italy together in January (along with a bunch of other USD students)! I know God had a plan for me to find someone who I was able to relate with and feel “close to home” with. She is my year-round friend, my go-to in any situation, and someone I could not have gotten through freshman year without. Luckily, she is just a quick drive away this summer and I  cannot wait to make more memories living together next year.

One place that I unexpectedly made friends and found a home in is my sorority. That may not seem surprising to you, but I am just really not the sorority girl type. I was on edge about going through rush because I thought it was a demeaning process and would make me feel bad about myself. However, I found that once I was myself and got into some good conversations, I was able to find people that made me feel valued and people I looked up to. In the end, I did not get my first choice for a sorority, but my second choice was a pretty dang good one. At first, I was very upset and confused as to why that specific chapter did not want me as much as I wanted them. But, I did not know many girls in my sorority and have met so many more people because of it. After all, I am a firm believer in everything happening for a reason. I made one of my best friends through this sorority and I honestly do not know what I would have done without her second semester. Our relationship deepened with more one-on-one time we spent together and she told me about her faith journey. We both share the same values and goals as wanting to grow in Christ, so I know that is going to be a goal of ours next year. I am so grateful to have found a trusting best friend in one of my sisters. img_0112.jpg

During second semester, I also started going to a Christian church off campus with my friend, Ina. She had some struggles during the semester and I tried multiple ways to encourage her, but the only way I knew best was through the Word. We went to church each Sunday morning by the beach and it was the best way to start the day/ week. She thanked me for getting her more involved in her faith again and we found joy singing together in the little church in Ocean Beach. We brought our friend, Jimmy, towards the end of the semester too and he loved it so much that he invited another one of our guy friends to come next year. It will be our little Sunday tradition next year (followed by a yummy brunch in San Diego of course). The more I am able to find people who are seeking the same things I am, the more comfortable I am knowing that I am in this place for a reason.

All in all, San Diego has been overwhelmingly good to me. I could not picture myself at any other school. Although I have had my share of mess-ups and lows, I do not regret a single thing. I learned so much from being on my own and holding myself accountable for my actions. I know I did not wind up here by mistake; it is more proof that God is working for me all the time and has perfect plans for me. Whenever I felt lost or confused, I reminded myself of John 13:7, “Jesus replied, ‘What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.'” In my life, I have experienced hardships and struggles that I thought were completely undeserving, but I realized later that God was teaching me a lesson through each one of them. I continue to delight myself in my weaknesses for when I am weak, I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Each time I prayed for help and guidance or a friend, God brought me that. He listened to each one of my prayers, even though I already have way more than I could have ever asked or imagined. My friends and family were always there for me at home when I needed them too, and the short amounts of time spent at home made it that much sweeter. It baffles me that I am already finished with year one of college when I feel like I just moved in yesterday. I cannot even put into words how grateful for the people that I got to make a home out of San Diego with. It is a place that holds my whole heart, that makes me take pleasure in the smallest of things, and that opens my eyes to the world around me as well as God’s constant loving presence. I offer myself up to him each day, knowing that he will use me as a light for those who need it and trusting him to guide me through it all.

I do not consider that I have made it on my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:13-14

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Through the Pain

As I was traveling back to California after Thanksgiving break, I watched The Shack on the plane. I was looking for something to keep my mind occupied on the four hour flight to LAX, yet The Shack was not what I expected. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the book or movie, The Shack is essentially about a man (a husband and father) who is suffering from unforeseen circumstances and is confronted by God in the form of three human beings. God wants to heal this man and allow him to forgive those who have hurt him, but it requires a long journey for him to do so. A quote from the movie that took me by surprise was from God,

“When all you see is your pain, you lose sight of Me.”

The truth that this quote exposed is exactly what caught me off guard. I think that almost all of us fall victim to doing this in the broken world we live in. When our world is falling apart and the future seems hopeless, we wallow in self pity and forget that there is an alternative solution. God wants us to call out to him when we are in pain and suffering. After all, there is no such thing as a pain-free life. If we allow the brokenness of this world to consume our emotions, we will never learn the importance of suffering. Suffering produces endurance and strength, something we must look to God for. He rejoices when we call out to him and wants to rescue us during affliction. God will not rescue you from your circumstances, but he will rescue you through your circumstances.  In this, he creates a fire in us and strength that we never imagined we could possess.

Malcolm Gladwell wrote in David and Goliath, “Courage is not something that you already have that makes you brave when the tough times start. Courage is what you earn when you’ve been through the tough times and you discover they aren’t so tough after all.”

We are not courageous on our own accord. In fact, we are weak without God. He is the creator of all things good and all things are possible through him. He does not give us any difficulties that we cannot handle and he does not abandon us. Jesus says in Revelation 2:10, “Do not fear what you are about to suffer… Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

It is difficult not to question the world when immense difficulties arise, but we must remind ourselves that God’s plans are perfect and he is perfect. When you become selfish, you only see your own pain. Everyone is in pain. But when you accept Christ’s love into your life and rely on the One who will never leave you or forsake you, your perceptions of the hard times change. The tough times are not so tough anymore because you trust in your rock and redeemer. The weight will be lifted from your shoulders as you accept His plans and let go of control.

By the end of the movie, the man was able to see that God loves each of his children equally and does not mean to cause pain, but that pain also produces strength and will even bring us closer to the One who can take it all away. Ultimately, the Lord will heal your broken heart and renew you.

“When I said, ‘My food is slipping,’ your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”

Psalm 94:18-19

Happy 6 Weeks of College

Wow– I survived my first month (actually, 6 weeks) of college. (Really, it feels like I have been living here for years.) Now, I want to update you on the expected, the unexpected, and all the in-betweens.

The first month in San Diego has been a lot of things– new, adventurous, overwhelming (at times), and so rewarding. I met my roommate when she walked in the door for the first time and we may be the “Parent Trap” sisters separated at birth. We have the same birthday (March 30th), our favorite color is blue, we both love fried rice and buttered noodles, we are both blonde, and our room decor matches, even though we did not plan it. I did get really lucky, given that our roommate assignments were random.

The adjustment to college is so different than what is expected. When you go into college not knowing anyone, you expect other people to be in the same boat and think that making friends will be easy. Truthfully, many people came to the University of San Diego not knowing anyone, but making friends is not as easy as it seems. Surely, I have made several friends and recognize familiar faces all over campus. Making friends is not the difficult part. The hardest part is letting people get to know you and taking time to build quality relationships because truth is, no one knows anything about who you are or who you were in high school. I think that is one of the weirdest things about college– you do not truly know a person in their entirety, even if you live with them for a month. You can learn a lot about them in a short amount of time, but you are both still growing up too. People change in college because they are forced to rely solely on themselves, make personal decisions, and ultimately, be independent. You have to do your own laundry every week, clean your own room and bathroom, organize your assignments, provide food for yourself for every meal, and maintain your mental health all at the same time. Maybe, some managed to do all of those things in high school, but it does get challenging when studying and midterms begin to pile up. My major is undeclared, so I feel overwhelmed at times trying to find my intended field of study because I truly want to pursue a career that I will love. I believe that if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. Through this extreme adjustment, I must lean on the One who is with me through it all.

College is about discovering your true passions and pursuing them. It is also about finding yourself through these passions, hardships, and real independence. Personally, I have been trying to stay true to myself, but I suppose I could be anything I really want to be because nobody knows who I was before college. I want to follow Jesus and not stress over little things, like schoolwork and relationships, but it is hard to find others with the same pursuits. I came across a verse, not by coincidence, that reminded me why I am here. Mark 8:36 says, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” I could gain the “whole world” by going out with friends every night of the week, while studying excessively and maintaining perfect grades. I could spend money on the best clothes and I could date the good-looking, stereotypical frat boy. But if I attained all of that, would I would be satisfied? Or would I still be looking for more? Watching others pine after boys and complain about not being able to receive perfect grades definitely puts things into perspective. For a minute, I began thinking like the college girls around me. I began believing my worth was defined by my GPA and my social standing. I began thinking that partying and finding a boy to spend time with was all the mattered, especially on the weekends. I began thinking in ways that I had not thought in before– not for a long time at least. Gaining the whole world means nothing if you end up losing sight of yourself and the One who created you perfectly in his image. Remember, the Lord does not look on outward appearance, but on the heart. I do not have to wear the best clothes or look put together all the time, but I do need act more like Jesus.

Recently, I had the opportunity to make dinner and take it to Rachel’s Women’s Shelter in downtown San Diego with University Ministry. I made dinner at one of the leader’s apartments and met other students involved at USD. We took the dinner downtown and served it to the women of the shelter. The women were so grateful that we took the time to prepare the food and serve it to them, expecting nothing in return. I found that all the perceptions that we have about homeless people– that they are drug abusers or alcoholics, that they do not have jobs, and that they are unmotivated– were not true at all. The women were trying to get back on their feet and all had different reasons for being homeless. After we had served everyone, we had the opportunity to sit and chat with the women. I was a bit intimidated, but I saw a woman sitting by herself at a table, so I ventured over and asked if I could sit. She welcomed me ecstatically and introduced herself as Rose. I noticed she had a walker beside her chair and all of her belongings with her. As soon as we got to talking, she explained to me that she had a disability and was required to move with a walker. She had been living at the shelter for about a week and half due to tough financial situations that landed her at Rachel’s. She had two grown children, a boy and a girl, and was married to a man in the military. Although I never really found out what happened to her husband, she said that her children graduated from college and had stable jobs. Rose asked about me as well and was supportive of my hopes and dreams. My heart ached for this sweet woman as she told me that she kept to herself because she did not want to ask people for help all the time. She had bad days too, just like the rest of us. She also said something that struck a chord with me, “People are always talking, but they aren’t talking about anything.” Rose did not like the gossip or the small talk, but she liked talking about stories, endeavors, and serious issues in society. She made me laugh a lot during our conversation with her jokes about living in the shelter and living on the streets. Despite her circumstances, she was hopeful and laughing because that is all she could do. She is just like the rest of us– passionate about dreams or problems in society, seeking comfort and stability, and making the best of the situation.

As I was leaving the shelter, Rose looked to me with eager eyes and asked, “Are you coming back next week?” I told her I would come back as soon as possible and that is what I plan on doing. My perceptions were completely changed by this experience and I know that God has plans to use me in ways that are unimaginable. This was what I needed to be reminded of my purpose, which is truly God’s purpose. Each morning, I wake up and ask God to use me to impact the lives of others. I offer myself up to him, knowing that he is in complete control and trusting that he will make my paths straight.

While the first 6 weeks of college have required me to do a lot of adjusting, I have already learned so much and feel that I am broadening my horizons. I look forward to the new, eye-opening experiences and difficult trials. While I do not know exactly what my calling in life is yet, I know now that I am in the right place because of the work of God, and that he has the most amazing plans for my years here at USD.

Ephesians 1:18 says, “having the eyes of your heart enlightened, that you may know what is the hope which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.”

Acceptance, Strength & Unconditional Love

This summer has been one of tests and trials, joy and heartache, and overwhelming love. I have been out of high school for almost three months and strange enough, it feels like a lifetime ago. College is just around the corner and I could not be more thrilled to see what the future has in store. This summer, I read David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell and Start with Amen by Beth Guckenberger. Both books were truly inspiring and uplifting, and I urge you to read them. You may be familiar with the biblical story of David and Goliath in which the shepherd (and underdog), David, defeats the ruthless giant, Goliath. In the novel, Gladwell describes the art of battling giants and how weaknesses unknowingly give us more strength than we ever imagine. In Start with Amen, Beth explains that amen is more than just a word and can allow us to lead a life of submission, giving glory to God. From reading these books, studying the Bible, and experiencing my share of struggles and moments of joy, I learned a few important lessons that really changed my thinking. I applied these lessons to my life and saw changes in the way I treat others, how I confront situations, and how I view the world. That said, I hope you find truth in these words…

  1. Even the One who has the position to punish and judge does not. God is perfect. He is gracious, all-knowing, and always forgiving. He sacrificed his only son for us to be free of the weight of our sins. Jesus loves us unconditionally and removed the chains from our shoulders, so we did not have to carry the weight anymore. Not only does God forgive our sins, but he forgets them as well (Isaiah 43:25). He knows that we are imperfect humans and we are going to make mistakes, but he forgives us anyways. So, why do we judge others? Why do we hate one another? The Lord loves us no matter how many times we mess up or how badly we mess up. A friend explained it to me like this, God sees our sins from a birds eye view. If you sinned by lying and you were standing next to a murderer, your sin would be the same. You both sinned and even though you did not kill someone, God sees it just the same. He will still love you and accept you. We do not even have the position to judge, but we still do it. When a friend hurts us, we automatically jump to conclusions and want to punish the friend for the way they made us feel. Ask yourself, would Jesus do that? Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger (James 1:19). That friend needs your empathy and your forgiveness because you are not perfect either. It surely is not easy, but it is right. Do not be prideful because you have not made as many mistakes as the person standing next to you, but be more confident in the Lord. I will say it now and a hundred more times, even the One who has the position to punish and judge does not. Neither should we.
  2. Find joy and strength in your weaknesses. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 says,

    I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

    Admittedly, I have been hurt by others or fallen victim to my own insecurities and found myself in a rut that seemed inescapable. When I read these verses for the first time, I felt my heart start to stir. I memorized the words because I knew if I ever found myself feeling worthless or damaged that this would bring me back and remind me to rely on the Lord. We were not meant to carry our own burdens and rely on our own strength. We must rely on God-strength in desperate times and quite frankly, all the time. He wants us to lean on him when we are struggling, so he can show us our beauty and true strength. He wants a close relationship with us and is delighted when we call out to him in times of need. Once we get through the bad times, we realize that they were not that bad and find the strength to overcome any adversity. Remind yourself, when you are weak, then you are strong.

  3. Give people what you crave and what you search for the most. This may be the biggest and most significant lesson. What do you seek in relationships? What do you desperately want in your life? The answer for everyone is different. When I was confronted with this question, I answered “love.” Oftentimes, I think that I am never going to be good enough. I am never going to be the perfect daughter, the perfect friend, or the perfect spouse. Truthfully, I am never going to be “perfect” at relationships. Because I sometimes feel unloved, I doubt myself and question my own worth. But, what I forget is that God loves me unconditionally. He loves me at my worst, He loves me at my best, and He loves me with all my flaws. No one is ever going to be able to love me like that and that is okay. He sees beauty in me that I sometimes forget to see myself. I get so caught up in this world of instant gratification and selfish desires that I forget the One who wants me to focus on not what is temporary, but what is eternal. When I feel unloved, I focus more on me and less on Him. But like I said before, He wants us to draw near to Him in times of need. I now focus on loving others more than loving myself because I want to be more like Jesus. Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain or conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” It is not our jobs to carry the burdens of others, but just loving on someone can make them feel valued and have a powerful impact. It is written best in Matthew 7:12 of The Message, “Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them.” Let go of your expectations (or “premeditated resentment”) and stop hoping that others will finally treat you the way you deserve to be treated. You cannot control the actions of others. Instead, treat others how you wish to be treated. Remind people that God loves them and anyone can be used to show it. After all, we love because He loved us first (1 John 4:19). The immense joy that is found in loving others is indescribable and most importantly, spreads the love of the Lord. He will use you to do amazing things and impact the lives of many. This is how it should be… less of me, more of Him. If you have the time, read Titus 3:1-9 in its entirety. Just a part of it says, “When the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy…” We do not deserve anything in this life. We owe everything to Him. He did not save us because of anything we did, but because of His mercy and overwhelming love. In everything that you do, glorify God for you have been graciously saved.

If you asked me if I was nervous about the next chapter of my life, I would truthfully say no. Yes, it is scary starting over in a place where I know absolutely no one. But, the truth is that I know God has gotten me this far and every experience I have had the privilege of living has been purposeful. I find joy in the tiniest victories and gestures now. I find myself driving in the afternoon and admiring the beautiful world God created for us. I find bliss in loving others, despite their flaws. If I can find joy in my weaknesses, in the world around me, and in other people now, then I have faith that the next chapter of my life is going to be filled with immense joy. There will be more struggles, more hardships, and more tests, but peace follows that. I find peace in knowing that I cannot rely on my own understanding, but have hope for the plans He has for me. I see college as an opportunity for me to grow in my faith and for me to spread the love of Jesus to others. In everything I do, I want to glorify God. So, He’s got this. He knows what I need and who I need in my life. He hears my prayers and He cares about what I care about. He has plans not to harm me, but plans to prosper me, to give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

Chronicle 2014-2017

Head down. Low voice. Nod when spoken to. That was my first year on staff. I was a timid, quiet sophomore and I found almost everyone on staff to be intimidating (well, Stich was the graphic design editor then, so you get the picture). I ate my goldfish while staring at the computer screen and doing my work diligently.  I still eat my goldfish in class, but I cannot honestly say I am doing any work. I found that my time in The Chronicle is most fun when I am talking with others on staff, whether it is weekend plans or serious, complex issues. That is the best thing about our staff; we can be funny and make jokes, but we can also have such meaningful discussions. (Just to clarify, I do get my work done, but focusing in class nowadays is just not easy.)

These past 3 years have been insightful, entertaining, crazy, and so many more things. I wish I had the words to describe it perfectly. The Chronicle not only helped me grow as a writer and student, but it helped me grow as a person. My voice was heard. I stopped caring what other people thought and I started speaking up. At first, it was scary and I really had no clue how to write an article, but I learned. Everyone learned and before we knew it, we were the upperclassmen on staff with experience and people were asking us for help. As a sophomore, I was terrified when the editors yelled at us as a staff or sent out nagging emails about people not getting their pitches/drafts/visuals in on time. Now, I enjoy a good roast session because you gotta learn the hard way! You have to learn how to take the criticism, take the cruel jokes, and take the blame for your screw-ups.

I do not know what I am going to do without another Food Friday, another Chronsgiving, another Chronoeing trip, or just another day in C103. The friendships I formed and memories I made are sure to last a lifetime. Remember when Eric Miller punched the projector and it broke? Remember when Juliana jumped into a dumpster just to get a cardboard box? Remember when Zane broke his arm trying to capture a picture? Remember when Mr. Conner got pied in the face? These are the things I will never forget.

Thanks to Mr. Conner and The Chronicle staff for the past 3 years! I will always miss C103.

 

SUPER BOWL LI

Super Bowl LI. There are three words to sum it up: boring, exhilarating, and historic. Right out of the gates, the Atlanta Falcons were outplaying the Patriots and seemed to be unaffected by the pressure of the Super Bowl. At halftime, the Falcons were winning 21-3. The commentators said that the biggest deficit a team was able to come back from in Super Bowl history was 10 points. 10 points. At halftime, the Patriots were already down 18 points and the odds were certainly not in their favor. It was every football fans’ dream, unless you are me or anyone from New England. I actually turned my phone off for the entire second and third quarters because all of my Ohio “friends” were attacking me for the way the Patriots were playing. I never lost faith, but I definitely had my doubts. Dave Portnoy’s (President of Barstool Sports) halftime speech did pump me up though as he said if there is any team to have a major comeback like this in the Super Bowl, it is the New England Patriots. Boy, he had no idea what was coming.

When the third quarter ended, everyone thought the game was over. Atlanta was up 28-9. How could a team possibly score 19 points to tie the game with only one quarter left to play? I squeezed my eyes shut at the start of the fourth quarter because I could not bare to see another Falcons stop or another Falcons touchdown. My mom said to me, “Meghan, we need the Miracle speech.” So, I stood up in my basement next to the television and cleared my throat. If you do not know Herb Brooks’ famous speech from the 1980 Olympics at Lake Placid, it starts something like this, “Great moments are born from great opportunity…” Let me just say, the Miracle speech works every time. I truly believed at that moment in time that we could win this game. We are all Patriots and I had faith in the team that had come so far this season. Tom Brady was suspended for the first four games this year due to Deflategate allegations and had a target on his back the entire season. He proved that despite all of Roger Goodell’s attempts at knocking him down, he could still defy the odds and improve his game. This Super Bowl meant so much.

In the first few minutes of the fourth quarter, I ran upstairs to the kitchen to turn my phone back on and communicate with my friends in Foxboro. While I was upstairs, the Patriots scored a touchdown. Of course, that meant I had to stay upstairs for the rest of the game for superstitious reasons. I sat on the large chair in my living room, digging my fingernails into the arm rests and praying for a miracle. Right before my eyes, I watched it happen. I watched history being made– Julian Edelman’s amazing catch, the touchdown followed by an indirect snap and successful two-point conversion, and another touchdown followed by another successful two-point conversion. Suddenly, the game was tied and we were headed into overtime. I thought I peed my pants (kidding). I was yelling, screaming, jumping up and down, and just thanking God for this chance. When the Pats won the toss, I knew this was it. I watched as my heroes drove down the field and Sweet Feet White (James White) ran the ball into the end zone. The game was over. It was a miracle.

My emotions were uncontrollable. The Patriots had the BIGGEST comeback in Super Bowl history and Tom Brady earned his fifth ring!!! Unbelievable. Words cannot describe the pride and joy I felt watching my team win this Lombardi. I ran into the basement, tears streaming down my face, and hugged my mom, who was also crying. My younger brother was in shock. My older brother Facetimed us immediately and sobbed, “How did we just win that game?” I just keep thinking that in 20 years from now, I will look back on this Super Bowl and remember where I was, how it felt, and the great memories that came with it.

Of course, the people that texted me cruel things about the Patriots quickly recanted their statements. No one can argue that Tom Brady is not the greatest quarterback of all time anymore. Here is proof– five. The only thing that would make this win sweeter would be celebrating in my hometown of Foxboro, Massachusetts, but I guess this basement in Ohio with the people that matter most will do. I am so thankful for the season the Patriots had and I will continue to support them as long as I live. This game offered a glimpse of hope and a break from the struggles and routines of everyday life. It reminded me to just have a little faith. After all, I do believe in miracles.

INDIVIDUAL WRESTLERS DUEL FOR TEAM GLORY

Wrestling is literally the world’s oldest sport, originating between 100 and 200 B.C. – and labeled as one of the toughest. However, wrestlers do not compete for recognition or for the fan fare. They work out incessantly and compete vigorously for the love of winning and for individual glory.

The Mason High School wrestling team practices every day for two hours and usually has competitions on Saturdays that last the entire day. Senior and team captain Andrew Hauer said a typical practice consists of warm-ups, drills, techniques, and going live, which is an actual match situation.

“The toughest thing about practice is definitely going live and coaches are always yelling at you to go harder and everything,” Hauer said. “You feel completely drained, but you still have to keep going because he is watching and yelling at you because you aren’t doing stuff right, which is no fun.”

Junior Zaid Hamdan said that one of the most difficult things about wrestling is the constant movement and going his hardest even when he feels like giving up.

“A joke amongst a lot of the team is ‘I don’t know why I picked this sport to begin with,’” Hamdan said. “The thing about wrestling that separates every other sport is that you have your own drive. A lot of people will say ‘Fight for your team.’ Well, that’s all good and fun, but in real terms, in wrestling, it is just you. How far you want to go depends on you, so it is that little drive in your head because it will pay off later and you will reap the individual benefits.”

Wrestling differs from other sports in the sense that the accountability rests on the wrestler’s own shoulders. Senior and team captain Jack Stein has been wrestling since seventh grade and enjoys the pressure of wrestling.

“There is a team aspect of it, but really, it is only you on the mat,” Stein said. “It is like the win or loss is on you and I like how you are taking all of the ownership. Winning keeps me motivated, just that feeling.”

Senior Jaimen Hood said wrestling differs from other sports mainly because thae work output is completely different.

“In football and basketball, you come in with a lot of energy, so you’re expected to go out with a lot of energy,” Hood said. “Wrestling you kind of go on with not so much energy, but you have to put out just as much as if you were putting out for a basketball or football game. It’s like working with very little.”

Sophomore and team captain Kamal Adewumi said that when it comes to other sports played at the high school level, wrestling proves to be more challenging with competing individually.

“I think it is harder because you can be going against state placers and state champs, and just the environment in general is a lot different from other sports,” Adewumi said. “It is individual-based, but it is team at the same time. It is kind of different because you don’t really have the energy that football games and basketball get.”

Unlike for other sports where cheering is prevalent, wrestlers compete at meets in front of their parents and do not get much fan fare.

Hood said that because wrestling does not carry a large fanbase or Black Hole, he is more focused on how he is competing.

“When it does come to the glory, you don’t get as much,” Hood said. “You’re very in tune to what you are doing and you’re not focused on what is going on around you. It is like an in the moment kind of thing.”

Hamdan started on the defensive line for the Mason football team in the fall and said that the difference in crowd sizes does affect the sport.

“In terms of the intensity of the match, it is definitely more daunting in wrestling because no matter the size of the crowd, it is still only you out there,” Hamdan said. “The thing about playing football on Friday nights is you can mess up, but I don’t think the whole stadium is going to know you messed up. If you lose in a wrestling match, it doesn’t matter if there are 10 or 10,000 people there, they can all point to you and say he either won or lost.”

Hauer said that when wrestling gets tough, he stays motivated by remembering what he will gain in the long-run.

“I know it is terrible right now, but later in life, it will benefit you a lot more,” Hauer said. “It teaches you life lessons, like discipline and that things will always be hard, but you just have to keep going and push through.”

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