Feb. WIN Article #98 Make Your Work Important


It’s a Big Deal to Them - It Better Be To Me!
By Ben Peterson #98
Recently I attended a high school Sectional Tournament here in Wisconsin where 8 wrestlers in each of 14 weight classes were competing to see which 3 would have the privilege of going to the State Tournament. Each athlete poured themselves into situation after situation to score and be the winner. Some matches eliminated 1 of the 2 competitors and other matches determined how they would be seeded at States in Madison.
Raw emotions are often seen as competitors give it all they have, only to find it was not enough. The winners show their elation in similar extremes. It is indeed a heart wrenching event for the competitors, coaches, family members and all who watch.
It was my job to give out the awards to all the state qualifiers at that particular Sectional, and I saw a lot of stretched emotions. The champions were mostly showing elated smiles. Second and third place finishers displayed strained and mixed smiles, happy to be going to state but clearly hoping to have placed higher. I talked to the place winners after giving them their awards, encouraging them and wishing them the best as they headed to State the next week. Even then, emotions of pride and nervousness were expressed
As I took in these extremes, it was my privilege to get acquainted with Mark Zahn, Athletic Director at Seymour high School. We talked briefly between awards as we watched the winners in each weight class be finalized. I commented about the repeated dividing lines that were being made. He expressed concern that all his workers and officials should be doing their best. I commented to him that the tournament seemed to be going smoothly.
Then Mr. Zahn told me a story of how as a young teacher he learned to make his work very important. With his permission, I tell the story here. Laura was in her third year of his French classes. As a child she had suffered from a brain tumor. With treatment it had gone into remission for those years. But now it was back and was slowly taking her health away. The class was preparing for a two week trip to France. The class goal was to travel during the coming summer. Mr. Zahn made preparations for doctors in France in case they were needed and travel assistance was prepared for her.
As Laura’s weakness progressed she had to limit her classes, coming only to her French and English classes. Her intense interest in the class and learning French challenged Mr. Zahn as a teacher. “This class is very important to this student. It better be very important to me also! My teaching changed! No longer was I working for myself, but for the students!” That reality sobered and motivated him back then and continues to remind him to do his best no matter what task he is doing in his work at Seymour High School.
Laura continued to attend class even when she became so weak others needed to lift her arm up onto the desk to write. Then one day she came and said she would not be able to join the rest of the students on the trip to France. Shortly, the cancer would take her life. But the memory of her spirit continues to drive a teacher to make things very important at his school because it is about the students not him as the teacher.
So what about a wrestling tournament? What is so important about the work done there besides the wrestlers who work so hard to win? Yes, it is important to them! But aren’t the rest of us fans or helpers able to make a difference in such big events?
The mats, the gym, warm-up areas and everything about the facility is important because a life altering event is taking place in, on, and around it. Weighins with accurate equipment and clear appropriate formats are important because it is important to the wrestlers. Food is important to the wrestlers so tournament concessions are important. The score is of huge importance to the wrestlers, so accurate quality score clocks and score keepers are vital. Officials must be at their best because life changing results can come from almost any match. Team pride, equipment, and unity can motivate a wrestler. Therefore, a team is important. Good coaching can instruct, direct, and inspire, so the mood and comments of a coach are vital. The interest and attendance of family and friends can help make the highs enjoyable and the lows more bearable.
The outcome of matches are huge to young wrestlers. The wrestlers give their all to reach a goal. It is important to them. Therefore every thing we do around them is important.
I do not write this to encourage us to become critical of the errors or limitations of the above important areas mentioned. But I do write this to remind all of us who play a supplementary part of any event that it is very important to someone. And I write this to remind you wrestlers to be thankful and express your thanks to all who worked and will work to make your important day/event a big deal.
And I urge each of us wrestlers and workers to plan and work ahead of time and prepare in any way we can to be more ready for the next Big Events! The more we can prepare with excellence ahead of time, the more likely it will be a fitting Big Deal for those wrestlers who give their all.
You can find other articles by Ben at these web sites: www.campofchamps.org & www.TheCompetitor.org Today Ben & John run Camp of Champs Wrestling Camps. Contact them at: PO Box 222 Watertown, WI 53094; 800-505-5099 or ben@campofchamps.org

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