It takes true love of a sport for athletes and coaches to meet up day in and day out and get their butts kicked into shape through blood, sweat and tears without the common sport motivations of pay and scholarship.
That is exactly what’s going on inside the works of the University of Arizona wrestling team.
The Arizona wrestling team is a club sport that, when in season, travels almost every weekend to compete.
They practice in a room that feels like it should be for hot yoga because the thought is if you can wrestle in that, you can wrestle anywhere. They cut weight. They condition. They work on technique. They go to school. They work jobs. They do it all, but the amazing part is: They’re doing it all through self-motivation.
It helps that they also have a self-motivated coach as their role model. Through the dedication of Arizona wrestling coach Vince Majalca, who coaches these students without pay, the Wildcats have had athletes become All-Americans, placing high in nationals and proving what resilience can do. The Arizona wrestlers are a group of people that push their bodies far beyond normal limits simply because they want to. It embodies the idea of what sport is supposed to be about.
“It is a lifestyle,” coach Majalca said.
For these athletes, they aren’t walking in because they have to. They are walking into practice because they crave it. In fact, these students aren’t just going to practices, they are in the Student Recreation Center putting in extra work on their own to ensure they are ready to compete.
“Conditioning is your responsibility,” Majalca said. “Technique is mine.”
And in watching the wrestlers practice, there is zero doubt they found the time to condition.
It’s not just sweat and testosterone in there either. The Arizona wrestling team has a female super stud: Clemmy Tixier. Tixier keeps the boys on their toes at practice and isn’t afraid to get down to business. In fact, everyone is pushing each other in that sweaty room out of nothing but respect for the sport.
Coach Majalca explained how his team right now is young and the first team he’s had that has bonded on day one. Normally it takes competition for the athletes to become best friends. They walk off from a match and hype each other up. But this group has been doing that every day. A big part of that is because they know they are all there for the same reasons. They are all freshmen that decided they wanted a challenge, a fight, and it’s safe to say that’s not the mindset of a typical college student. So they come to practice every day to challenge themselves both mentally and physically.
The Arizona wrestling team is resilient. They spend their own money and take their own time to do one of the hardest sports out there. They aren’t concerned about winning, they are concerned about putting in the work and raising up one another.
After all, as coach Majalca said, “If you wrestle good, the winning takes care of itself.”
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