Chapter Samples

Going Deep, by James Carder

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I started wrestling at the age of 4 years old. 

My parents supported me 100% through all of the ups and downs, the summer wrestling, the camps, the late nights and early mornings. 

I had pretty good success. 

Wrestling was my life. 

That’s all I thought about year round. 

For fourteen years.

It was my first love and my first passion. 

Everything I did was with the intent of becoming a better wrestler.

Entering my finals match in my senior year, I was 35-0, and a favorite to win the state title.

My life long dream.

Everything I had sacrificed all of those years was geared towards that one goal. 

I lost 1-0.

On a penalty point.

I accepted a scholarship to wrestle in college, but after my loss, I disconnected with the sport.

I never gave it my all after that. 

The sport had failed me in my mind. 

Over the next 22 years, I stayed in touch with all of the friends I met through wrestling, many of them my best friends to this day, but I only attended a couple of matches over those years. 

Every time I entered a gym with mats on the floor, it simply hurt too much.

I felt betrayed. 

The sport had failed me. 

This year my son, Brogan, began wrestling at the age of 6. 

He took to it like a duck to water. 

I could see with my trained eye that he had the things that you can’t teach, the killer instinct, the balance, the body awareness, the speed, all of it. 

I took him to practices but didn’t participate too much. 

We hit a few tournaments, and he begged to go to more, but I wasn’t sure how deep I wanted him to get involved with a sport that failed me.

Then I read your book. 

By the grace of God, my wife gave me “6 Minutes Wrestling with Life” for Valentines Day. 

I realized as I was reading your book, ALL of my success in life came directly from the life skills that wrestling has taught me. 

Not being afraid to take a chance, the belief in myself that I can accomplish anything, the “no fear” attitude that I have when my back is against the wall, the never give up attitude, it all was because of wrestling.

99% of my best friends that I have in this world, great people, would not be my friends today if it were not for wrestling.

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I wouldn’t be married to the love of my life, my wife, if it were not for wrestling as our common ground of the love of this sport brought us back together 20 years after we first dated.

All of it.

All of the joys, the qualities that make me successful and most important that passion that I live life with today would not be there if not for the sport of wrestling. 

Then it hit me.

Wrestling never failed me.

Not one single time.

I failed to uphold my end of the bargain with wrestling.

The unwritten pact between a wrestler and the sport that says, “If you give me 100%,  I will give you 100% in return.”

Instead of sticking with the sport that brought me all of the joy and success in my life, I stopped because the loss hurt too much.

The only regret I have to this day is not giving it my all until the end of my competitive career.   


I took my son and my daughter to the state tournament this past weekend.

For the first time in 20 years, I cried.

I felt such a sense of joy, relief, and happiness.

And it would not have happened had I not read your book.

I would not have gone to that tournament. 

I spent an hour and a half on the phone today with an old wrestling buddy, who is very much accomplished in his own right.  We talked about everything from what I need to do to give Brogan all of the tools necessary to accomplish his goals (he wants to be a state champ someday) to the lessons that wrestling has taught us as individuals. We talked at length about why we are both so very passionate about the dedication that it takes to be great at something.

I had lost contact with this very dear friend because 23 years ago I chose not to continue down the path that we had started together.

He became a 4x D2 All-American and 2x D2 National Champion.

And I chose to leave that path prematurely.

While speaking today, we vowed to stay in touch.

That doesn’t happen without my reading your book. 

I have so much more to say,  but for now, I will say one more time:

THANK YOU, SIR.

You have not only renewed my passion for the sport, but you have also allowed me to see that if I don’t renew that passion, I will be doing a great injustice to my first love, my son.

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And for people like myself who do our best to live life with no regrets, having to live with a second regret would do me in again.

THANK YOU.

I’m going deep.

James Carder


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