I had an inspiring conversation with Winton Woods Head Wrestling Coach Chris Willertz a few days ago. Chris does an awesome job of really going out of his way to mentor his players, to help them through their everyday struggles.
He has a wrestler on his team that has been steadily improving on the mat but not so much in the rest of his life. Unfortunately the young man shuts down pretty quick whenever you'd try to talk with him. Chris persevered. He tried again and again and again.
Then finally came the moment.
The young man had reached the semi-finals of a particular wrestling tournament defeating 2 very successful opponents. He gave his all in the semi-final but lost a heartbreaker. But then in the subsequent wrestle-back matches where you strive to finish 3rd or 5th place, etc. He hardly gave any effort. He was a different and a defeated man before he even stepped on the mat.
Chris confronted him about this and the young man finally admitted it. "If I'm not wrestling for first place then I don't care."
Listening to Chris and how happy he was about this moment it was as if he had just won the State Championship, that he was going to the Olympics ... He had broken through the wall ... after almost an entire wrestling season - he had broken through.
Chris began to address that issue with him ... "So if I'm not voted father of the year I should leave my kids? If my wife doesn't give me an award I should just quit my marriage and leave?"
The moment was right and the young man opened up. No one had ever had this conversation with him before ... he had never LET anyone have this conversation with him ...
Thank you, Coach, for persevering. Thank you for mentoring when the majority of us would have thrown in the towel.