What Do You Do When It Happens To You?


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Each year, there is always one wrestler who is the unfortunate recipient of injustice so tragic, so unimaginable, so unfair, so incomprehensible that it will break your heart to witness.

Unfortunately, it always seems to happen in the State Tournament.

Every year, at least one wrestler will have their dream shattered, trampled upon by a set of circumstances so bizarre that it will make you wonder how it could ever happen.

Something will go awry and so off the tracks that everything that wrestler worked for, dreamed of, will be unfairly and unjustifiably taken from them.

Snatched from them.

Stolen from them.

The degree of difficulty to watch the injustice unfold is amplified if you happen to be close with the wrestler, their family, and consider them to be on your dream team in life.

With over 400 wrestlers in the State Tournament, the odds of it happening to you are pretty slim.

But what do you do, if it happens to you?

If you are the unfortunate wrestler – buckle up because it is going to hurt like hell.

You may not want to hear it, but the sad truth is that the hurt will never subside.

It will never go away.

No matter what anyone says to you or how much time passes – it will always hurt.

And it will hurt badly.


That is the honest truth.

And the sooner that you understand this the better prepared you will be to beat it.

Every “I’m sorry” that you hear people say to you will burn up inside of you faster than a bead of cold water dropped on a hot skillet.

Unless the words are coming out of Cary Kolat’s mouth, every “I know how it feels” you hear will aggravate you to no end.

Get used to it.

It will never hurt less.

For that is a tribute to how much you care.

So what do you do?

The first thing you need to do is to cap it.

Cap the hurt to 49% and then elevate everything good in your life to fill the remaining 51%.

Your 51%.

Put borders around the 51%.

Impenetrable borders.

Create a space where the hurt can never enter.

I call it the “Andy Dufresne space”.


Remember the scene where Andy locked himself in the warden’s office as he played music over the loud speaker to all the inmates

No matter what was going on outside the office, Andy was un-phased.

That is the key – to be un-phased.

By doing so, you never allow the event to be able to control you.

And it will attempt to.


Like, every day.

When the hurt attacks trying to capture more than its fair share of 49%, you defend your 51% stake like you would if someone jumped the moat and was storming the castle.

You fight to the death to defend the 51%.

Then you fill the 51% with MORE.

More care.

More belief.

More work.

More hope.

More Dreams.

You never stop dreaming.

For it is dreams that make you alive.

I understand that your dream is no longer possible to obtain.

But you keep your dream alive by parlaying it into another dream.

A bigger dream.

You fill the 51% with your belief system.

Recommit to your beliefs even after the injustice.

Believe in hope.

Believe in justice.

Believe that hard work wins.

Double down on discipline.

Make the injustice cringe when it looks at you, watches you.

Act like the Who’s in Whoville when the Grinch stole their presents on Christmas Eve.

Sing aloud as they did – Fahoo Fores, Dahoo Dores.

Make the Grinch scratch his chin in bewilderment.

For when you do – when you become unbreakable,

You win.

Then replace it.

Don’t allow yourself to be known by this event.

Set out to do something greater.

Exchange events in people’s memories for which you will be known.

It is sad, but a fact of life that there will be things that happen to you that can never be justified by the saying everything happens for a reason.

No reason will ever seem equitable to what you lost.

It just won’t.

Don’t let it make you callous, though.

Feel more.

Do more.

Want more.

Be yourself more.

What the injustice wants to do is to beat you every day of your life.

Don’t let it.

You are a wrestler.

You are a fighter.

You are a winner.

It may have beaten you on that one given day.

That is okay.

The way you win in the end is when you beat it in the many days to come.

The many months to come.

The many years to come.

The many generations to come.

Over a lifetime.

You win when you use this event to make you better.

No, the pain from the incident will never go away.

But if you use it to improve the remaining 51% in your life, you win.

51% to 49%.

Just look to improve your position each day.

Make the Grinch scratch his chin in disbelief.

Fahoo Fores, Dahoo Dores.

“What Do You Do When It Happens to You?”

And 31 other Inspirational Wrestling Stories 

Can be found in


Capturing the People and Culture of the Greatest Sport on Earth.

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