There ain’t been a horse that can’t be rode.
Nor a cowboy
Who can’t be throwed.
An old Texas saying
My favorite photo is one of two wrestlers embracing in the center of the circle after a grueling match.
Both are sweaty and tired.
One is victorious; the other is not.
The victorious wrestler is cupping the head of the other wrestler with his hand bringing it down to lay on his shoulder.
The other wrestler is in tears.
Not baby tears, but the tears one sheds when one is physically exhausted after given everything they had and still have been cruelly shown defeat instead of victory.
What makes this photo my favorite photo is the compassion the victorious wrestler shows the other.
What I haven’t told you is that I know both wrestlers in the photo.
I watched both develop and grow over the years.
I watched both push each other to their limits in club practice, where they were workout partners.
Now they are meeting in the postseason.
And only one wrestler can advance to the postseason.
The compassion the victorious wrestler shows in the photo comes from knowing how it feels to be on the other side of victory after dedicating your life and fully expecting to be on the right side.
The compassion seethes from the photo as one can see the victorious wrestler has a conflicted look.
A look of heartache that he was the one who ended the other wrestlers’ dream combined with a conflicted look of “thank you.”
“Thank you for being my rival.”
“Thank you for pushing me to the point where I have realized my dream.”
“Thank you for being a great competitor.”
“Thank you for bringing out the best in me.”
There is another look the victorious wrestler has in the photo.
A look that says,
“I wish we both could experience victory, that we could both advance, both go to states, but today is my turn. Keep the faith. I know you will use this loss to one day have your day too, that I am certain of.”
There is a mutual respect that wrestlers have for each other.
They understand the sacrifice.
They understand the lifestyle.
One of the greatest attributes a wrestler can have is humility to his opponent after victory over him.
In the long run, a loss that makes you humble will be more beneficial to you than a win that makes you arrogant.
This sport is the most humbling in the world.
You can do everything right; give everything you have and still not achieve what you set out to achieve.
An injury, a bad call, one second on either side of a takedown on the line, getting a cold at the wrong time of the year can all affect the outcome of any match at any time.
And it only takes one bad match for your dream to evaporate.
Knowing you have no control over at least 10% of the stuff that happens creates an understanding of the vulnerability that every wrestler must live and come to terms with.
Even elite wrestlers.
Humble wrestlers understand that the difference between victory and an off-season of mental torture is so small.
They too may have experienced being so close to victory in this sport only to have their heart ripped from their chest.
And they remember that feeling.
And they wouldn’t want anyone they respect ever to have to experience that feeling.
That is compassion.
Compassion is the greatest part of humility.
There have been times where I have seen wrestlers take the opposite approach.
Being brash, trash-talking to their opponents after victory, degrading them after beating them.
Only to have their opponents use that disrespected feeling as fuel to train to come back and beat them in a more important spot.
Life is the same way.
Just exchange being humble with being grateful.
When one is grateful for their life, the people in it, their surroundings they give off an aura of blessing and attraction.
When one compares their life to others, they give off a sense of dissatisfaction.
And the Universe senses that.
Always be humble.
It exudes gratitude.
And gratitude is the path to love.
And love is the greatest victory of all.
Please email me on all blog posts by JohnA Passaro
Be Humble or Be Ready to be Humbled is a chapter from
Which can be purchased at
Categories: Chapter Samples, Coaching, Compassion, Friendship, Greatness, humility, Shorts, Sports, wisdom, Wrestling
I used to wrestle and this is beautiful. Of course this is a lesson for all aspects of life but the fact that you used wrestling as the sample touches me gently.
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Thank you, Pat.