This is a letter to my nephew Matthew George. He is following in my footsteps and wrestling in school. He has had some good success this year but has lost a few close matches. Below is a letter I wrote to him last night.
I wanted to share my opinion about something that I guarantee will help you in wrestling and in life son. What do Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Walter Payton and Lance Armstrong all have in common? Not only are they all considered to be the best in their given sport but THEY ALL ARE OR WERE IN BETTER CONDITION THAN THEIR OPPONENT. This may seem real basic but trust me, it separates winners from losers.
When I was wrestling my best I was in the best condition of my life. I ran more laps, did more pushups, did more pull-ups and did more agility training than anyone on my team. I would stay in the gym longer than anyone else and the results showed. When your mom saw me wrestle and beat state champion Hector Cedillo in 1973 I was in the best condition of my life. When I walked on that matt I believed with my whole heart I could defeat Hector Cedillo and there was no doubt in my mind. I believed this because I knew I had trained harder than anyone on my team. When my hand was raised in victory it was one of the most incredible days of my life. All the hard work and dedication had paid off.
Vijay Singh will hit golf balls until his hands bleed and has been known to finish a golf tournament and head right for the driving range to practice a particular shot for hours that he miss hit in the tournament. There was even a report one day that Vijay's caddy was holding a large lamp because Vijay was hitting golf balls in the dark. Both Vijay and Tiger Woods have personal trainers that push them to the limit when most pro golfers have gone home. When Walter Payton was alive he would go to his old university and train with the young guns. They would run up dirt hills and Walter Payton would always outrun guys half his age and train harder than anyone else. We all know why Lance Armstrong has accomplished what he has. He was simply in better condition than anyone else hands down. There is no magical pill to take and no one can teach it to you. Very few people in this world are blessed with the drive and determination all great achievers have.
I PROMISE YOU that if you get yourself in better condition than anyone else that you will have more stamina at the end of your matches and you will outlast your opponent. This is not a guess on my part but a guarantee! You see son, if you continue to do what everyone else does and continue to do what the coaches tell you to do and no more you will continue to get the same results.
Like Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Walter Payton and Lance Armstrong, if you start running extra laps, do extra sitt-ups, do more agility training than anyone else you will see the results that will make you a stronger, faster athlete. At the end of the last period you will outlast your opponent and have more gas to get the job done. You will have more victories like the one in the photo above and you will be rewarded for doing what most in this world are unwilling to do which is to pay the price that has to be paid and the price that all winners pay.
Life takes this kind of dedication if we want more out of it son. If we do no more than we are told to do we will be average at best. If you train your mind and read more, search more, work harder and never stop learning magical things will start to happen and your world will change.
Know that I love you and will never stop believing in you.