The recent decision by the International Olympic Committee to discontinue wrestling was both concerning and disappointing. While only swimming and track and field have yielded more Olympic medals for the United States, wrestling - one of the oldest forms of competition in world history - provides numerous benefits for those who choose to make the sacrifice to excel.
While all sports are a great way to establish and reinforce positive personality characteristics, wrestling, in particular, embraces life lessons which may not be as strongly promoted in other sports.
In wrestling, you can't rely on anyone but yourself. You have to be accountable for your own successes and failures. For this reason, wrestlers must be confident. From the onset, wrestlers learn to count on themselves, a trait lost on too many in our society today. When you lose you don't have others to blame.
Training is never easy and only those who have pushed themselves know the sacrifice it takes to compete: strict dieting to meet a desired weight. One of the most beneficial lessons a wrestler will learn is that this sport requires an tireless work ethic. Sometimes, you have to do things that aren't that "fun" to reach your goals. In wrestling you deserve what you earn.
Wrestlers learn to be both physically and mentally tough. It takes a tremendous amount of toughness to pick yourself up off of the mat when you're losing, and it takes incredible willpower to train hard for weeks and months at a time. You'll never be able to name a successful wrestler with a weak mind because there isn't one. Life is full of disappointment and how we react to and rebound from those disappointments says a lot about who were are and helps to define what type of successes we will have throughout life. Life puts you on your back and wrestling teaches you how to get off your back.
Wrestling doesn't discriminate. No matter your body type - height or weight - there is a place for you in wrestling. In some sports, only certain body types are able to succeed. In wrestling, as long as you are tough and have a desire to win you can compete and realize your goals.
I once heard an old wrestling coach say "wrestling isn't a sport; it's a way of life." He was right. A way of life that can bring rewards and successes beyond the arena of competition.