This petition closed 8 months ago
I come from two generations of wrestling in a coal town of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Wrestling has always been a big sport in Pennsylvania. I gravitated towards wrestling because it was an individual sport where if you did not succeed it was because of you and you only - I liked that! I was a naturally competitive kid and wrestling became my main focus. As I got a little older, for a time I sought other things such as getting into trouble and other activities that most parents would not be proud of. I teetered on the brink of disaster, but the sport that I enjoyed so much brought me back and everything else fell to the wayside.
Every Olympics I would find out who we had running for the gold. It was important to watch them and emulate their moves. It took some of the key coaches in my life to spark that love for wrestling back in me. One of my coaches was a wrestler on the International level. My coach had wrestled all around the world and spoke 7 languages. The language barrier was not important or an issue for me. He was like a second father and taught me how he learned wrestling in Russia. He was a Russian Armenian who had friends from all around the world. He was respected by Muslims, Christians, and Jews and of every race and creed. He showed me that this was a universal sport much larger than us. He told me bits and pieces of his struggle coming to this country with nothing. He was highly educated and had accomplished many things in Russia. He came here and taught what he had become so great at and in the process made me great too.
This sport builds character and discipline. It was the love for the sport and the universal respect and brotherhood amongst wrestlers that opened my eyes. This is the only sport in the world where a person from Iran can befriend a person from the US under that same brotherhood. This is a sport that goes back in history for men and now for women. I was fortunate in being skilled enough in wrestling to go on to serve in the US Army and come out as a college recruit. I wouldn't have had a chance to get an education without the discipline I gained through wrestling. We as wrestlers don't do it for the chance to make millions. Every young wrestler today does it for that one chance, if you work hard enough to be on the top podium at the Olympic Games.