"Other people may not have had high expectations for me . . . but I had high expectations for myself."
- Shannon Miller
This quote had a message for one former wrestler who was asked during an interview, "What did the sport of wrestling teach you?"
Before answering the question, the man in question talked about different unfortunate experiences in his life, explaining that most were self-inflicted. He began:
As a youngster in elementary school, I was not the most well-behaved student. In fact, my second grade teacher stated on one report card, in reference to discipline in the classroom, 'He annoys me.'Unnecessary Roughness
I also visited the principal's office many times during those formative years, where I received my share of whacks on the backside. All well deserved.
Secondary school wasn't much better. I was kicked out of eighth grade chorus for excessive talking. As a percussionist in the high school band, I listened to the beat of a different drummer.
By my sophomore year, I was expelled from the band for arriving late at parades and missing change-of-direction cues on the gridiron during halftime performances. My career in the performing arts was short-lived.
As a junior, things didn't get much better. As a member of the Key Club, I was removed for missing too many meetings. And my senior year I was caught playing hookie by none other than my principal. Needless to say, I was a regular in the detention room.
I graduated in the top 50% of my class, but thanks to wrestling I acquired an athletic scholarship to college. It included one caveat; I was accepted, but on probation. I had to earn at least a 2.0 my first semester, or good-bye.
When my high school guidance counselor heard I was accepted to college, he remarked, 'You won't make it through the first semester.' Not the best send-off I was hoping for.
Since I was an athlete, I chose Physical Education as my major, and my first semester grade point average was a whopping 2.14. I was elated! In college, I realized it was time to buckle down and learn how to study since it never crossed my mind in high school.
Still, my troubles were not over. I failed French my sophomore year, and during student teaching my last semester in college, one supervising teacher predicted I wouldn't last a year in the field of education. More words of inspiration.
But I graduated, thank goodness!
Now guess who needed a new wrestling coach, my high school alma mater. So I applied for the position with the high hopes of showing everybody in my hometown I was a new person. But the superintendent had no such plans for me. Remember, the principal who caught me playing hookie; well, he was now the superintendent and the job was offered to someone else. I wonder why.
I was reminded of a quote from Shakespeare, " . . . the evil that men do lives after them." See, I told you I learned to study in college.
So I moved here, was befriended by people who believed in me, and never looked back.
Now my answer to your original statement should make much more sense. What have I learned from wrestling? Well, I can sum it up in one word: PERSEVERANCE!
This question was posed at a recent wrestling clinic. The interviewer ended the conversation by concluding, "Thank you very much for that in depth explanation and have a great day, DR. WELKER."