Chapter Samples



If you watch closely, you can see it happen during any wrestling tournament.

A match where one wrestler convinces his opponent that he will not win and his opponent believes him and stops trying.

His will is broken.

An experienced eye can pick up the exact moment when it happens.

It may happen after one wrestler gets shut down after a relentless offensive pursuit. Or gives up points on the line, or allows his opponent to score with short time, or come out on the wrong side of an extraordinary scramble, or let a bad call affect his focus and mental state, or gives up points on a cheap tilt.

Whenever it happens, the exact moment will be apparent to the experienced eye as the shift in performance is dramatic.

A once tight 0-0 score suddenly becomes 4-0, then 7-0.

Two wrestlers who once were defending each other shots at length all of a sudden have a situation where one is now putting on a takedown clinic.

One wrestler can no longer defend the same shot he so valiantly defended just a minute earlier.

What happened?

Did all of a sudden one wrestler lose all of his talents?

Did all of a sudden one wrestler lose all of his training?

Did all of a sudden one wrestler lose all of his experience?

No, he lost all of his will.

His opponent convinced him that he could not win.

And he believed it.

There may be time left on the clock, but the match is over.

There is no more try.

He has traded try for resignation.

He is resigned to the fact that he will not win.

With try still left in the tank he has predetermined his fate.

He is being let up and taken down at will.

It gets so bad that his opponent is attempting to let him up, only for the wrestler to stay down and not turn and face him because he knows what is coming.

Another takedown.

He is resigned to stay down, to not attempt.

To take the path of least resistance, which is to get the match over with.

He aids in his opponent’s desire to score points to get teched.

One can also find in a tournament a match where one wrestler who is far superior in talent than his opponent takes his opponent down in just the first dew seconds of the match. The wrestler who was taken down fights for nearly the whole period off his back and survives the first period.

Only to be immediately put to his back in the 2nd period.

In order to fight some more.

He hears everyone say, it’s over, but he continues to fight.

Every time his shoulders simultaneously get near the mat he somehow miraculously surges them, keeping them millimeters above the mat, to not get pinned and to stay alive.

By this point in the match, the score is 8-0 and the likelihood of a comeback is remote.

He may lose the match, but he is determined not to lose his will.

He is unwilling to quit.

He is unwilling to listen to the voices instructing him to take the path of least resistance, to relax for just a second. To end the match.

Instead, he continues to fight.

He may be beaten by points, but is unwilling to be defeated by a lack of try.

The wrestler who is behind in the score has choice for the third period.

He evaluates his options and realizes there is not one option where he has a favorable outcome.

The realization doesn’t faze him.

He chooses the position, top, where he feels he has the best opportunity to beat his opponent.

He is immediately reversed and put on his back.

He has just fought off his back for the last four minutes, and now he faces another two grueling minutes more.

The rational thought says it would be easier just to ease up for a fraction of a second to allow his shoulder blades to graze the mat for a fall.

He is unwilling to listen to rational.

He is unwilling to listen to the voice which will lead him to defeat.

He has survived the first minute of the period, his fifth minute on his back.

It took every ounce of energy he had just to survive.

Just to face more pain.

His chance of winning the match has gone from improbable to almost nonexistent.

It would be very easy for him to end it all and just collapse his shoulders ever so slightly and end the pain.

But something inside of him just can’t.

He glances up at the clock and sees that he has another minute left to fight.

He is out of energy.

He is beyond believing he will win the match.

Somehow, he reaches down and taps into a reservoir of strength he never knew existed.

There is :10 left.

He feels his shoulders nearing the mat and is unwilling to allow his hard work go for naught.

He is determined to keep his shoulders above the mat.

The crowd takes notice of his effort and starts to root for him not to get pinned.

:10, :09, :08 they start counting down the seconds left in the match.

:03, :02, :01 :00 – a loud ovation erupts from the crowd.  

The wrestler who has spent the last six minutes on his back untangles himself from his opponent and heads back to the circle.

The crowd is on their feet applauding.

For him.

The referee raises his opponent’s hand, and he storms off the mat as if he lost the match because he didn’t get the pin.

The wrestler who fought harder than he ever thought he could, is embraced by his teammates and coaches.

They swarm him as if he had won the match.

Because he has.

His fight made him survive.

Unwilling to give in.

Unwilling to take the path of least resistance.

He has proven to himself he is unwilling to be broken.

What makes one wrestler fight and another wrestler give up?

Is it talent?

It is not talent; it is something much more productive than talent.

Is it training?

It is not training; it is something more invisible than training.

Is it experience?

It is not experience; it is something much more valuable than experience.

It is will.

And it can’t be taught, only discovered.

When one is unwilling to listen to the wrong voices and decide, instead, to tap into the vast reservoir of untapped fight one has inside, they destroy fear.

As fear is afraid of fight.


And 32 other Inspirational Wrestling Stories 

Can be found in


Capturing the People and Culture of the Greatest Sport on Earth.

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