WIN ARTICLE #134 The Right Life Altering Decision is Best for You and Others!


The Right Life Altering Decision is Best for You and Others!
By; Ben Peterson

There are countless decisions made during the life of every human being. Some decisions are made on a daily basis that really don’t take much thought. Yet every pattern of life has a beginning decision and the repeated decision to continue or change to another habit. Many of these habits are far from earth-shattering or life-altering in themselves, but they become important when carried out over time. They become important when they are lived out. Like brushing your teeth every day that brings life long dental health our decisions of youth can become major life changers.

Let me mention some of the key decisions that have altered the live of my brother John and then over time the life of many others. John’s choices directed his wrestling career as a competitor and coach. Some of these decisions were thought out and evaluated for some time. Others were made more quickly. But when lived out they altered a lot of things from that point on.

1. John’s decision to trust Christ as his Savior at a Billy Graham Crusade when he was 12 years old was a life changer. It altered John’s direction and purpose in life. Within two years his spiritual stability and focus challenged me to make a similar choice. From then on we understood each other on a greater plane than just living life. Our desires were now similar on more than one level.

2. We started wrestling in high school and because of John’s freshman football injury we started on the same day. That decision directed our lives on a sixteen-year journey often together.

3. John’s determination to be a state wrestling champion his senior year of high school was a very significant decision. But his disappointing failure to qualify for state put him in a tailspin for six months. However, his work and commitment had a huge effect on me. He patterned an aggressive, intense way of training that was still doable for me. I decided to follow his lead and committed myself to train to win the next years Wisconsin State Wrestling Championship. I failed also, but not until the championship finals. This helped open doors for much bigger things.

4. John was hesitant and doubtful at first, but nonetheless with time, he showed commitment and made the decision to be a University of Wisconsin Stout Blue Devil wrestler. With some success he soon was committed to four years of college wrestling.

5. When John and I chose to attend US National Wrestling Team training camps it was not earth-shattering decisions. We were checking things out because it would improve our college potential of winning National Championships. Also this choice made it very likely that we would be getting beat badly by the best US wrestlers, but we were willing to take the chance.

6. John’s decision to train with Dan Gable the year before the Munich Olympics was huge. Not a lot of people knew John or thought he was capable of being a part of Olympic competition. To some it looked like John was not quite ready to get on with his career and with life. In my mind I was toying with an Olympic Trials attempt the next spring even before John did. But, his daily training and talking with Gable caused him to set his jaw in determination to do all he could to be ready for Munich. It then became easier for me to do the same. That decision was thought about and slowly became all consuming to both of us. Eventually it became a relentless motivation.

7. A year after the 1972 Munich Olympics John would make a decision that caught me off guard. I am sure he talked with me about it, so I should not have been surprised. Today I think I was too tied up with my own desires to be an architect. I loved seeing things built. Developing ideas and

putting them into reality has always been exciting to me. My thought was that surely John must also be excited to get on with his career.

During the 1971 Pan American training camp John clearly remembers hearing 1960 Olympic Champion Shelby Wilson speak of his faith in Christ. Sitting on the edge of the swimming pool, as several wrestlers relaxed from a hard workout, Shelby spoke about his personal faith in Christ. John still recalls the smile on Shelby’s face. What impressed John was the ease at which Shelby spoke of Christ and that the wrestlers listened.

At the same training camp, John was introduced to the Athletes in Action team (AIA). A few of their members had qualified and were training as the top American freestylers. John repeatedly worked out with AIA team members Bob Anderson and Nick Corello and met Jean Davis who would be on two Olympic Teams with us. AIA is part of Campus Crusade (today CRU) which works at most American campuses to give the Gospel of Christ to University students. AIA was developed as a means to give the Gospel to athletes. The AIA men encouraged both of us on numerous occasions. They simply but directly spoke of their faith in Christ. John wanted to express his faith to others as well.

In the summer of 1973 John made the life altering decision to join Athletes in Action as a competitor. A year later he would be the coach of the East AIA Team as well as a competitor. For seven years this position provided John an outstanding way to keep training for his own competition on the US National Teams. His coaching and speaking brought him directly in front of thousands of wrestlers, coaches and fans. Repeatedly people have thanked me for encouraging them at past wrestling events. But as we discuss the occasion I have to say it was John that they heard, it was John who taught them wrestling and it was John who pointed them to faith in Jesus. John and AIA have been significant factors in building wrestlers and coaches throughout America and the world over the past four decades.

I urge all wrestlers and all those connected with wrestling to seek to make wise thoughtful decisions and then do your best to carry out those good decisions. You will need to reaffirm your decision over and over. As you do so you will be opening incredible doors for yourself and for others. Don’t be afraid to evaluate important decisions. But then get after accomplishing those decisions. May many more young wrestlers make “life altering” choices that build our future wrestlers.

Find other articles and the book called “ROAD TO GOLD” by Ben at: Today Ben & John Peterson run Camp of Champs Wrestling Camps. Contact them at: PO Box 222 Watertown, WI 53094 920-918-0542

Asics USA Wrestling The Competitor
USA Wrestling
National Wrestling Hall of Fame
"As a head wrestling coach and parent I would strongly recommend Ben Peterson's Camp of Champs. Coach Jim Gruenwald is amazing with the kids and may be one of the greatest clinicians in wrestling today. We plan on attending year after year!"
... Eric Swensen

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2022 Camp of Champs, Inc. All rights reserved Admin