How to be a Better Champion

A high school wrestling referee in New Jersey made a wrestler choose between cutting his dreadlocks or forfeiting his match on Wednesday. Written English transcript is available.

 

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Wrestling Tests My Character and Strength

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My three years lettered in varsity wrestling expect my freshman year because I was transferred late from other school and did not qualify for the highest spot in wrestling. It was one of my life’s highlights–winning Falcon Takedown Classic, Lumberjack Classic, placing third in Clark County Tournament, been in top three in almost all of tournaments except my senior year, placing 5th in sub-regionals.

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My favorite one was the Falcon Takedown Classic after beating a guy in the finals that did not even allow a single point then the same guy later became an eventual state champion a year later. I had an honor of being the team captain and the only Deaf wrestler in mainstreaming school.

My weight class (108 lbs.) that year was considered to be one of the toughest classes in all of 13 weight classes where the wrestlers actually placed in the last top six at state from very same county. It was believed to be first and last. Very, very rare feat. At the sub-regionals tournament, the top five placers had beaten each other by a single point. My 5th place match- winning 1-0. That top four wrestlers got the spot qualifying for state.

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My only regret that I did not make it to the Mat Classic known for the state’s best wrestlers in each class. Even though winning 23 matches and lost eight times that year was one of my best times. Or winning 47 matches the last two years. I’ve faced some of state’s best wrestlers and went to the distance. Not only that, I also faced best wrestlers in arch rival state, Oregon. At the same time, I’ve faced enormous pressure and bullying from hearing peers in school as well as the team. I learned how to be a champion. Bullying me because of my state of being Deaf has gained a lot of strength.

How did I become a wrestler? It was when I was in 7th grade, I’ve had enough severe bullying in school for two months and had to get away from home problems [https://audismnegatsurdi.com/2017/02/13/my-cauliflower-ears-story/] and decided to try out, and got my butt kicked by experienced wrestlers, one time I was about to quit the team, the interpreter who was a former wrestler told me that I would be a wimp to do that, eve worse, he called me vulgar names and I didn’t really like the way he said to me. The head coach didn’t even understand what he was saying to me.

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So, I stayed all the way then two years later, winning junior varsity wrestling tournament then once I was transferred to high school in other school district, that high school was one of state’s wrestling powerhouse. That changed my life forever even more. The head coach was a legendary. My sophomore year, the team was 9-1 after getting beaten in the first match which was embarrassing- the next day, we had a pep talk from former two time state champion telling us that we could be better than that. The head coach did the right thing by inviting him over.

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After the pep talk, we whopped every team by 20, 25 points, placing  second place as a team in Clark County tournament by two points, winning district, regionals, and placed several wrestlers in the state. The last three years as a team, it was the best times of my life. I got to wrestle former champions where the head coach encouraged me to wrestle them and became a better wrestler.

My senior year–I never forget the way one assistant coach from Kelso high school telling me that I’d never had a chance to beat his wrestler in semifinals, by saying the most awful thing ever that fueled me up. He was ranked #2 in the tournament and I was seeded number three. I pinned him 35 seconds just like that and looked at that guy with smile. I never forget his face! Then I won the Lumberjack classic.

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Gold medal. Lumberjack Classic. 1994. 

Looking back, I thank the interpreter. I credit him for everything. I learned how to overcome bullying and hate. I became stronger. Running 10 miles, there would be few times, I’d carry a small log on my shoulder walk forward and back on the football field couple of times. Man, I loved being an athlete and proud of my cauliflower ears. Driving over to Portland for the prestigious wrestling club called Peninsula wrestling club and train there for two, three hours twice a week with state’s best wrestlers–even after wrestling practice at high school. Good times!

Too bad that I did not try out for Deaf Olympics.

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-JT

Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.

My Cauliflower Ears Story

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Wrestling tournament. Semi-finals. 1994. Me on the Top Right.

Be of good cheer about death and know this as a truth, that no evil can happen to a good man, either in lie or after death.”-Socrates 

I am sitting on a chair staring at computer monitor and write in pain. I live with the stigma for the rest of my life until my life is expired. Last night and this early morning, I’ve gotten two death threats or even wishing that I would die of a massive heart attack through e-mails and have my body thrown in the woods and eat up by the coyotes. The problem is that the haters do not know my life very well. I continue to become target by those people and their other friends.

I’ve survived a massive heart attack. In fact, I overcame couple of heart attacks and dealt with death for ten minutes. No one can ever take that away from me. I lived in a country on 400 acres and I’ve seen coyotes many times and we grow to respect each other. Coyotes and I’ve shared strong bonds as well as sharing the same language before.

When I joined wrestling squad for the first time when I was 12 years old, it was the best thing ever happened to me fighting demons out of my life. Surviving home problems and escaping from there was a perfect excuse to do it. The story of my cauliflower ears fails through human observation. The visual of the growing cauliflower is extremely slow at the same time, the pain becomes bigger and I choose to wrestle so I can erase my pain away, and the evolution of cauliflower begins to surface in my sophomore year.

Every year I wrestle to seek the answer to wash my mistakes away. During my ear surgery to reduce the swelling of my ears, the doctor asked me to hold the towel and sit tight while the doctor put a knife to open up my ear to begin the procedure to heal my ears. The forgotten blood has splattered all over on the wall; my father was hiding his face into his book while sitting in the same room I was in. My father was reading Dean Koontz’s book.

Although it has been visually ignored at times at home, my cauliflower ears do have a story. I was the talent of being a survivor. Even with cauliflower ears. I contend, instead, that it has everything to deal with neglect at home. Have I type something wrong? Either way I was born with talent or I am not. Either I have the gift or I do not. Actually, whether or not that I have talent do not really matter if I am a survivor. Many might disagree, but I contend that it certainly will not be the deciding factor in society.

In fact, sometimes having a cauliflower ear can be detrimental to a survivor. What you are not born with, you learn. While dealing with a cauliflower ear itself, it cannot be learned and the skills I to propel forward in this society that can be learned. In reality, it is the skills I develop, not the talent that I have would make the difference between the series of stories through oppression or build strength the way I want it to be. Is that no more than a fair credibility? One of the most positive things about sporting a cauliflower ear is that the ear mold for my hearing aids does not fit anymore.

I do not have to deal with headaches anymore. At home and school, the people with authority rather hack a dart than recognizing a problem. It amazes how much I was exploited into “battery” economics. I shall benefit nothing from my digital amplification as I point out headaches, but no words.

Along with my cauliflower ears, I dream in death, I dream in warnings and I dream in pursuit of happiness. The cars are passing in blinks, when I am trying to walk peacefully on the harshest roads and yet, I get questioned with a bottle that shakes for vengeance. Stress is often invisible in quad of important human oppression; I face death all the time even through attempted vengeance couple of times and I stand strong for a purpose. My mental life is always active and acute, both in private and public. I would never let anyone interfere with my life progress.

Umberto Eco in his book, The Name of Rose argues that: “Learning is not like a coin, which remains physically whole even through the most infamous transactions; it is, rather, like a very handsome dress, which is worn through use and ostentation.”

To show whether I do have a private mental life that no one else could peek inside it.

Stories of my cauliflower ears are the adversity that is forgotten in the strictest principles of English language, therefore strengthening my views and undermines my stories completely. The objection of a term I begin to recognize in my life through consequentialism, a procedure that leads to join of forgotten people.

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As President Lincoln and philosopher Plato as they were great wrestlers with cauliflowerears, I am in a position to know that their mind and can effectively annotate the life experiences of oppression. Doing this will be the “value added” that takes it out of being failed reports from people at home and school, and gives me a real ownership and rights to my life and prevents anyone includes Deaf people who wished that I’d die of massive heart claiming it as theirs.

I refuse to forget many incidents and things because I experienced them all before my life that was robbed by their lies. I was given many nuances of literature, and was told to accept bullying in analyzing my life. If all of my cauliflower ears makes from my assistance to my strength to better my life each day, I honor my presence to a cauliflower ear and make it a success one day by overcoming adversity.

Go ahead and applause. Yes, applause! I will not applause for anyone who send me an e-mail wishing that I would die of a massive heart attack or even die and leave my body to become rotten and have the coyotes eat me up.Will you applause for that kind of effort, too?

The death wishes comes from Deaf people, some of them are well known. I refuse to give up. No one ever knows my struggles what I’ve gone through. That is why I’m much stronger than you really think of me. You all do not know my pain. You all do not know my stories without listening my side. You all do not ever undermine  or mock my struggles. Go ahead and say the most evil things about me all you want.

A quote from movie, John Wick, that applies with my life, “In that moment, I received some semblance of hope. An opportunity to grieve unalone.” 

-JT

Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.

References: http://www.mixedmartialarts.com/news/Ancient-Roman-statue-of-fighter-shows-cauliflower-ear-being-drained

https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/3138328-il-nome-della-rosa?page=3