During this year's first meeting for the wrestling team, they actually had their first practice, with all the boys participating in the usual exercises: stretches, jogging, running and crawling, etc. On December 1st, of the 40-or-so students who signed up this year, at least 25 students attending were rookies, meaning they had to learn and practice basic stances as well as exercises that built stamina, balance, posture, and agility. The Coach of the wrestling team is Malden High School English teacher Jeremiah Smith, who expected his team to learn at least three techniques this year.
Smith created a system for the exercises necessary for the team, with each session lasting 6 minutes long. Said sessions used all the muscle groups of the body used in wrestling, that require a tremendous amount of training in order to effectively use the skills and techniques taught. Smith explains that,“ [he loves wrestling] , [it is the] greatest individual sport there is." Growing up as a kid, "[he] played football, soccer, baseball, basketball, when [he] found wrestling it’s where [he thought he] belonged.”
In a one-on-one match, it is understood by the team that there is no one to blame but yourself for any failures along the way, though when you win, only you can claim credit for that victory. The students who joined gave a lot of courage, especially when they had never done it before. A lot of kids were coming in for the first time in their lives. Wrestling for the first time is difficult, just as with organized sports in general, and it takes a lot of effort to walk through the door and just give it a shot. The ones who make it are able to stay and not only learn about the sport, but about themselves as well.
In wrestling, the coach and the students show that the common student athlete can go past the ordinary limits they impose on themselves, rising above their past capabilities. A few of the past graduates from MHS came back to MHS wrestling, in order to volunteer or support Coach Smith on teaching the students the tactics needed for the sport, and to help improve their skills by practicing before the students, providing some examples of what to do. Rin Ven and Mike Easter came in on December 2nd for the wrestling practice session on stances and exercises. Back when it was Ven's first experience in wrestling, he was nervous about being the new guy in front of a bunch of experienced wrestlers, and did not know exactly what to do, but started to get comfortable with the group as time went on. After 70 years of wrestling, Ven expressed his appreciation for the sport, and enjoys using it as an example of what he has done in his life. Only through experience and perseverance can one hope to achieve the level of expertise people like Ven hold.