Senior Patrick Miller is a proud member of Penn Manor’s wrestling team, even if he doesn’t always start, or star, or win.
“I’ve been wrestling since I was in third grade and every consecutive year after that so I don’t see a reason to quit now just because I’m not starting,” says Miller.
But that means Miller is part of a regime that includes cutting weight, two-and-a-half hour practices every single day, morning runs at 6:30, diet changes to stay in a certain weight class, conditioning including weightlifting, Saturday practices, sweating all the time, getting injured, and being involved in an extremely aggressive contact sport.
And, he might not get to actually wrestle in a match.
There are many athletes from Penn Manor who don’t get much playing time, get to be a star, or even a chance to show their stuff, even when many of them have true hidden talent. Sometimes their hidden talent is their knack for perseverance.
But there’s something about being part of the team that keeps them coming back.
It’s a unique mix of staying in shape, friends, van rides going to tournaments, the tournaments themselves, the challenge of cutting weight and just the fact that he’s been in it for so long that is why Miller says he sticks with it all these years.
“I don’t really know why I’m still doing it, it’s just a combination of getting an intense workout and getting pushed beyond my limit is the reason I would say I stick with it,” says Miller.
“I give a lot of respect to wrestlers who continue in wrestling and stick with it even though they won’t ever be great at it,” says Penn Manor wrestling coach Steve Hess, “Every wrestler who has stuck with it over the years has always pulled through for me at one point and won a big match, I think that’s the most rewarding part of the sport, for me, and for the wrestler himself.”
“Not starting doesn’t bother me too much, I just like being part of the team,” says Miller.
Senior Brock Kauffman is another wrestler who hasn’t started too many times this year, due to injures and issues causing him to be unable to. But he still sticks with it.
“To be honest, if you quit it kinda makes you look bad, and there are a lot of benefits to staying with the sport. I’d say friends is the main reason I’ve stuck with it for all these years,” says Kauffman.
“I think the majority of the guys stick with the sport because they want to be a part of something big and they know it’s an extremely challenging sport, so that keeps them being pushed and challenged beyond their limits,” says Hess, “The good relationships with other wrestlers is a major reason for staying in the sport too.”
Miller could have opportunities to wrestle off in certain weight classes to receive the starting position in that weight class but he hasn’t done this so far. He could drop five pounds and wrestle off Tyler Funk to try and attempt to take the starting position in the 135 lb. weight class, or wrestle off Alex Source and James McElroy in the 140 lb. weight class but isn’t very confident about beating either of those components.
It’s a wonder athletes stay in sports even when they know they may never be too talented at it, but it seems by hearing a few things from these two guys that there are definitely reasons to continue with it.
“I feel learning and achieving new things you never knew before and pushing your body beyond your limits is a main reason that the wrestlers stick with it,” says Hess.
By Dillon Walker