Wrestling in February: The Sport’s Month of Emotional Gamut

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The Ubiquitous Landscape

All across the country there’s tens of thousands of young men and women buckling down for the month of February, many of whom are putting in the extra hours beyond their coaches’ requirements, the added miles beyond the team runs, the extra lift… the extra.

From middle schools to high schools to the collegiate ranks, February marks the beginning of the end, an end of a wrestling season. As with many things in life, the ends are always met with emotion and often fraught, running us through much of the spectrum of human emotion. Anxiety, certitude, fear, joy, sorrow. Sport serves as life’s incubator for our youth.

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Beat the Streets Los Angeles

Attending the February Jamboree, a youth wrestling tournament hosted by Beat the Streets Los Angeles for its constituents, I caught a glimpse of this emotional gamut and brought my camera along.

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What fascinates me is that even at this local and novice level, these young wrestlers, many of whom have less than a year of experience in the sport exhibit some of the same emotions we see on the larger stage at a high school league or state championship, or what’s more at the collegiate level. The skill, athletic and experience gap between the youth novice and the college All American may be colossal but the raw output of emotion is very familiar.

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Sure, there are no league or section titles on the line for these youth who participated at the Jamboree this month, it’s about experience, but you wouldn’t know judging by the output of emotion. They compete wholeheartedly and wear their heart on their sleeve… or singlet.

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And though the sport’s victors are celebrated on their individual merits. It’s a sport that needs a family’s support.

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And the emotions, no matter up or down, need nurturing by community.

To learn more about this nonprofit youth organization, visit Beat the Streets Los Angeles.


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