Friday, February 11, 2011

Rituals then Battle Time

One thing the NC State wrestling team has in common are RITUALS. Before they go on the mat to wrestle, they have to do a certain ritual which gets them perpared. These rituals make the boys feel comfortable, relax, and focused before going onto the mat. Some of their rituals might take a couple of minutes and others take a couple of seconds.
Colin Genthert, a redshirt freshman, on the wrestling team has OCD (Obsessive-compulsive disorder). Genthert does some of his everyday activities three times. He even has the word “three” tattooed on him. Genthert says “Before I go into a match, I touch both toes with my legs straight out, then i put my hands on the inside of my feet with my legs stretched out without having my hands touch, then I put my hands on the outside of my feet with my legs straight, then I hit the right side of my head with my right hand and left side of my head with my left hand and right before i have to wrestle I hit both sides of my head with both hands.” I try imagining what Genthert does before a match, but it got a little confusing to me.  I had to go see him wrestle one night to clearly understand what he was talking about.
At the wrestling matches I can see the boys prepare themselves for battle. All of the boys have their own ipods to listen to some music. I’m guessing the music gets them real pumped. Some of the boys run around in the gym, while others are jump roping or stretching. When it is time for a guy on the NC State team to get on the mat to wrestle, I see almost all of them cross their chest, kiss their hand, and point to the sky where God is. Michael Moreno, a senior on the team, says “When I am on the mat to wrestle, I bend down and do the Santa Maria, cross on my chest. I am telling God to be with me” Moreno says he never forgets to do that before going onto the mat.
Before going onto the mat, the boys head have to be clear and focused. As I hear from the wrestlers ALL the time, it’s not about how hard you workout at practice, it’s about the skills you have. It is all mental they tell me. Doing the rituals gives them a clear head and confindence that they will pin down their opponent.  

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