Beijing Olympics 2008

I watched the Women’s Freestyle Event on the live feeds last night. Irini Merlini of Ukraine went up against Clarrisa Chun, 48kg whatever that is in pounds, superfeather weight. I always considered wrestling girls to be the equivalent of giving up in the sport of wrestling. Wrestling is the hardest sport in the world, and has also been co-ed since Ancient Greece. There shouldn’t be girl and guy wrestlers, there should just be wrestlers, and if you can’t hack it with the best of the wrestlers, then you don’t deserve to be called the best of the wrestlers.

Last night, the Lightweights went toe-to-toe and fought like pro’s. They flowed and circled around each other, taking shots, landing them, missing them, lifting each other off the mat and slamming each other through the floor, all in the blink of an eye sometimes. When Japan defeated China on her home turf, she did a back-flip over the mats. They didn’t even look like women, they looked like…wrestlers, like Olympic Wrestlers.

The Girl Wrestlers looked like Gladiators, and there were even women from countries like Azerbaijan and Albania where women aren’t allowed to speak without a mans permission, muchless wrestle. These were women who had all come up against men, fought their way through men’s team lineups, against countries who most likely shunned them for their sport, and brought it to each other last night. Women who looked like the men, fought like the men, and “handled it like men.” That’s all I ever asked of you girls, that’s how you do it, the sport of wrestling has not been disgraced.

I watched the gold medal match and cried. I watched the medal ceremony because I felt like I owed it to the athletes, if no one is going to watch you win, did you really win? I had to turn it off after that though, I couldn’t handle it. It was 2005 when I was thrown off my high school team for missing one day of practice in 2 seasons, it was 2006 when I left Cerritos Wrestling to join the Army and lost the nerve. Now it’s another Olympic year and some people have wondered where I’ve been. What became of me?

I drop into an mma gym every once and a while thinking I can start fighting, but then I never come back because the coaches want me to fight girls. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’m sexist if it’s possible to be sexist against your own sex, but I can’t seem to shake the mindset of how it was back in the wrestling room at high school, the feeling of my body moving faster and harder than I ever thought it could because I was going against people who were faster and harder than me. I miss that feeling, it felt like growing, it felt like I had super powers. I just don’t get that feeling against other girls, and training against guys to fight against girls feels like being short-changed. Also, after going hard out and wrestling live for hours upon hours just beating each other up, gender, race, religion, where you’re from, all of that dissappeared. Maybe a co-ed clause in sports would make me happy, all I really want to do is challenge up. I’ll wrestle girls for you if I can wrestle guys for me, but I’ve slowly come to accept the fact that I might not ever wrestle again, and I wake up crying sometimes from dreams. Once I slammed my head into my weightbench next to my bed because I’d been belly-down in my sleep and tried to stand up when my alarm clock went off, it sounded like a whistle I guess.

I didn’t get into the University of British Columbia (they wanted my high school transcripts), so I’ve tried to integrate myself into the workforce as best I can. My supervisor, no matter who he or she is, reminds me of my Team Captain and my Coach. Wrestling taught me to stay out of their way and if you have a problem, it’s your problem and people who have problems are incompetent, so I don’t go to my sup’s with problems, I just let them stew and blow over, getting me in trouble. I’ve been getting in a lot of trouble lately. I don’t know, maybe wrestling really ruined my life, I was a swimmer before I was a wrestler with a 3.00gpa. I never wonder where I’d be if I didn’t wrestle though, that takes away from wondering where I’d be if I could wrestle. It takes away from remembering wrestling, because I don’t know what I’m going to do when I forget.

When wrestling took itself out of my life, I felt like a failure. I quit school, I stopped seeing my friends, I shut myself off from the world and contemplated suicide. Now thinking back on it, I got into wrestling because of the training, I wanted to be strong, and only started wanting to compete after going to my first tournament and sitting on the bench. Since I’ve left school, I’ve been a firefighter, I’ve been a lifeguard, and I can walk alone at night.

My goal when I started wrestling: become strong.

I am strong.

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One Comment on “Beijing Olympics 2008”

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