... on Making Excuses
Life is not fair; I freely admit it. But that still doesn't give us just cause to make excuses, especially in athletics. And let's be honest, excuses and good sportsmanship don't mix. So, as wrestlers, we need to take a look at excuse-making as it pertains to the mat sport.
If there is one sport that comes relatively close to this universal, but elusive, concept known as fairness, it's got to be wrestling. To begin with, wrestling is one of the few sports that offers athletes of practically all shapes and sizes the chance to compete on the varsity level - and if good enough, the opportunity to gain state and national recognition.
Secondly, most wrestlers earn their varsity positions through practice eliminations or wrestle-offs. They are not hand picked by the coach. (In other words, it's rarely a personality contest.) Likewise, no sportswriters' or coaches' polls are taken to determine all-state or All-American wrestlers. They must win those honors on their own, on the mats...not on paper.
And finally, during the rigors of competition, the official-to-wrestler ratio is much better than most sports. For example, in football, you normally have four officials watching 22 players, and in basketball we find 2 or 3 referees overseeing 10 contestants. Now in wrestling, there is usually 1 official for 2 wrestlers and during tournaments you'll often find 2 referees working a match. What could be fairer!
Yet, even with all these elements of fairness found in the sport of wrestling, many participants still attempt to make excuses for losing. Over the years, I have compiled a list of the "20 Most Often Used Excuses for Losing." Read carefully; a few of them may hit home.
1. I ATE TOO MUCH
2. I DIDN'T EAT ENOUGH
3. I WASN'T "PSYCHED."
4. I DIDN'T WARM UP ENOUGH.
5. I COULDN'T BREATHE.
6. I THOUGHT I WAS HAVING A HEART ATTACK. SO I WANNA QUIT.
7. HE WAS CHOKING ME.
8. I COULDN'T SLEEP LAST NIGHT.
9. MY HEADGEAR DIDN'T FIT.
10. I WAS TOO COLD.
11. I WAS HAVING "HOT" FLASHES.
12. BUT, COACH, I WASN'T PINNED.
13. THE REFEREE CHEATED ME.
14. MY GIRLFRIEND JUST CHEATED ON ME.
15. I HAVE AN EMOTIONAL PROBLEM.
16. DAD, I DIDN'T MAKE THE TEAM, SO I QUIT.
17. MY SHOES WERE TOO TIGHT.
18. THE COACH DOESN'T LIKE ME.
19. MY PARENTS DON'T LIKE ME.
20. NOBODY LIKES ME.
Yes, when you really think about it, some excuses are too ridiculous to even consider. See to it that you do not fall into the "Excuse Making" trap.
... on Excuses vs. Apologies
Although many wrestling enthusiasts might consider "excuses" and "apologies" as being similar in meaning, there is a subtle but very important conceptual difference between the two words.
To begin with, excuses usually involve the inability to accept responsibility for inadequate performances. Examples would include such phrases as: "He was stronger than I was." or "I wasn't feeling well." and finally, "He was too tall to takedown."
In each of the above cases the wrestler is fabricating an alibi for not performing to his fullest potential. Naturally, this is no way to become a better athlete. So, don't make excuses for losing! If you do, your coach (who knows all about excuses) will probably come down on you much harder than he intended to do so.
On the other hand, apologizes involve accepting responsibility for poor performances. The mature wrestler knows when he has blundered, and is not afraid to admit to his shortcomings during competition. Likewise, by realizing your errors on the mat and owning up to them, you will have overcome the obstacle of "making excuses" - and will undoubtedly be a better person for it.
Yes, we all make mistakes for which apologies are in order. But remember, excuses are of another breed. They are only weak attempts to conceal errors in performance, and self-improvement will never take place.
WRESTLING WORDS OF WISDOM
"Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson