Don’t Count the Seconds

This is probably old news to collegiate wrestling fans but I just saw the 2009 NCAA finals in the 149 lbs division between two undefeated wrestlers: Brent Metcalf and Darrion Caldwell. Metcalf is one of the latest in the long line of athletes that perfectly represented the Iowa Wrestling mindset.

Caldwell came out with an incredible (and to me, heartbreaking) performance to beat Metcalf. The match is worth watching all the way through:

Metcalf is an inspiration. He didn’t ever give up pushing forward, working for the takedown. And what was especially representative of that is the moment when Caldwell began celebrating early by doing a flip, Metcalf came at him anyway. Here’s a slow motion video of that exchange:

This was controversial at the time, and many people criticized both athletes. To me, I can’t help but draw inspiration and ultimate respect for Metcalf’s passion and determination.

In my own experience, I can tell a lot about where I am mentally from how I act during the last few seconds of a tough match or a cardio session. You have to push through and past the end with the kind of mindset that says you can go another minute or however long you need to. I know I’m mentally defeated if I’m counting seconds to the end.

Clearly, Metcalf was not counting seconds.

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