Wresting is a non-discriminatory sport that welcomes anyone to compete.
One of the biggest things that makes wrestling unique is the fact that anyone can do it and be successful if they put in the effort. When you hear the word discrimination, you typically think of race, ethnicity, or gender. Although these are included, when I say wrestling is non-discriminatory, I mean so much more than that.
At one of my first tournaments, I saw a wrestler get walked onto the mat by his coach. The coach placed the wrestler’s foot on one of the lines and the wrestler got set in his stance with his hands extended. His opponent stood on the opposing line and also got set. The referee took the first wrestler’s hands and extended them until both wrestlers were touching. I remember being confused because this wasn’t anything we covered in practice. It made sense after realizing the first wrestler was blind. I watched in amazement as he scored point after point and eventually win the match by a fall in the third period. Prior to that match, I had no idea blind people wrestled. In fact I had no idea blind people played sports at all.
The following year I found myself in an usual circumstance. I was faced off with a wrestler that had one leg. I remember him joking with me and telling me, “I bet you can’t get a double,” as he chuckled. I don’t recall his name but I’ll never forget how comfortable he was with being a wrestler despite his amputation. He wrestled extremely well and didn’t let his physical limitation affect him in the very least.
As I continued wrestling through my high school years, I saw so many different types of wrestlers. There were male wrestlers, female wrestlers, heavy wrestlers, skinny wrestlers, tall wrestlers, short wrestlers, deaf wrestlers, wrestlers from every race, ethnicity, and economic background. They all stepped on to the mat and competed as equals because none of these things mattered. When someone choses to become a wrestler, one of the first things they learn is that they define themselves.
So, why wrestle? Wrestle because regardless of where you come from, what your situation is, or what limitations society might expect you to have, you absolutely can be successful.