by Drew Johnson

Some of you may have already heard that I’ve switched sports this winter. I never really thought about going out for wrestling, but a few weeks ago I had a feeling. I felt like I was missing something in my life.
It was just an average school day, and my mom suggested that I get my basketball stuff together for the upcoming season. That’s when I realized my toes were cramped inside my 2013 Hyperdunks. I just thought to myself, ugh, I hate shoe shopping. That made me think. What if I tried wrestling? I asked my dad, and he was on board with the idea, and so were my friends.
My dad told me that he talked to Greg Bonnett when he was getting his haircut, so before Fitness the next day I asked Bonnett what he thought about it.
“You will only need to know how shoot a jump shot every now and then, but being tough, that will help you your entire life,” Bonnett said.
It didn’t take much thinking after that to decide what I was gonna do. I was going to wrestle. I was going to go into a sport years behind everyone else and give it a shot.
Wrestling isn’t for the weak minded, and the practices certainly aren’t fun. They last about two-and-a-half hours, in a room that’s 80 degrees. The sweat seems to come off in buckets, but it all makes us stronger.
Over the last week, I’ve bonded more with the group of guys I wrestle with than anyone else. They are my boys, and I would do anything for them.  I’ve gone through a lot with these guys, and they have all earned my respect. I just hope that I have earned theirs. We all put in the time each week to make ourselves better wrestlers and better athletes in general. They help me if I’m not doing a move right, or if I’m not going my hardest during conditioning.
I felt like wrestling would make me a better person, and isn’t that what high school is all about, figuring out who you want to be? Don’t get me wrong, I love basketball; but wrestling is what I need in order to shape myself into the person I want to be.
I did it. I made it through my first week of wrestling. I did it partly because I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it, and partly because I like how it’s just me against someone else. I can’t put the blame on my team, my coach or anybody. It’s my hardwork and dedication against someone else’s.
Dan Gable, Olympic gold medalist in wrestling, once said, “Once you’ve wrestled, everything else in life is easy.”
I can honestly agree, but writing my first column, however, was still pretty tough.