Mat Mastery

Esai Gomez faces off.
Esai Gomez faces off.

Wrestling is more than a sport; it demands prowess, toughness, and discipline. Esai Gomez is a senior here at Gresham High School who has been wrestling since freshman year. In a recent interview with the Argus, he opined, “Wrestling is a sport you have to be completely dedicated to; to achieve the goals you want to reach, you must put 100 percent effort all the time.”
Further, he sees the demands of wrestling as extending beyond the mat. “I use wrestling and apply it to my daily life by being more productive with school and using my determination to help myself get better grades.”
At its core, he said, wrestling is a test. Gomez elaborated on this– “If you want to succeed in this sport, you must have the stamina and strength it takes to perform most exercises.” The training regimen is brutal, to say the least– involving rigorous conditioning, weight training, and constant honing of technical skills. High school wrestlers must push their bodies beyond personal limits to achieve success on the mat.
Yet in Gomez’s eyes, Wrestling is not only a physical battle but also a mental game of chess. Athletes must grapple and maneuver, they must outwit their opponents with strategic precision. To win, wrestlers need quick decision-making skills and the ability to stay focused under intense pressure. “If I lose a match, it’s not just on me but the whole team,” Gomez said, acknowledging that– at the same time– each competitor faces their opponent one-on-one. High school wrestlers have to learn to be tough, to face adversity head-on, to develop resilience.
It takes discipline, he says. Wrestlers adhere to strict diets, maintain weight control, and commit to consistent training schedules. This discipline goes beyond their school-life, their personal life– wrestling requires focus, making time, and prioritizing. “Time management is huge in this sport; waking up at 4:00 am-5:00 am for tournaments three or four hours away is not easy if your time management skills aren’t the best,” Gomez said.
And what does he get from it? A better character. Gomez says that wrestling has instilled values in him that resonate far beyond the confines of the wrestling room. Wrestlers leave the mat with a tenacity for success that inspires those around them. It’s hard to do, but worth it, he says, the lessons he’s learned on the wrestling mat will guide him to success off of it, in whatever aspect of life he will someday grapple with.

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