Gray: Wrestling can be life-changing for girls

Updated: December 31, 2018

By Adeline Gray

(The following column appeared in the December issue of WIN Magazine. Click here to subscribe or call 888-305-0606.)

Calling all females, those who will become the next generation of leaders, we want you. I have a path that will strengthen your bodies and souls. Join me and become a wrestler, create a better you. 

As we speak, there are thousands of girls learning that they matter, that they can write their own path to success through their own hard work. They are having their college paid for and experiencing the world as they better themselves. The future will need strong, confident females. And yes, I have a way for you to achieve this: “Daughters of America”, wrestle!    

Forget the photos in magazines, learn at a young age what it means to appreciate what a healthy body can do and appreciate your body. For wrestling is one of the few sports where all body types are allowed, cherished and accepted. From the petite gymnast to the girl with size, we need you. 

Learn what a healthy body can accomplish and cherish these muscles that burn calories and that exercise leads to fitness and a sexy, beautiful body. Instill in yourself the desire to be strong and through strength comes beauty inside and out. 

Wrestling is the toughest thing you will ever do. You will train beyond your limits, be schooled on how to learn from your defeats and push yourself in a match further than you ever deemed possible. And for all of your hard work, I promise you will become a better person, a stronger person, and a person who knows that from hard work you can achieve success. 

You will have confidence and with confidence you can become anything you want: corporate trailblazer, professional athlete, model, mom, stateswoman, teacher, or a future leader. And don’t forget you get to have fun while you become a better you.   

I believe wrestling should be part of everyone’s childhood, for even if my sport is not for you, it will guide you in the future. You have to be someone who is willing to learn to be brave and to become coachable, resilient and an athlete. 

My younger sister never wanted to wrestle and I never thought to ask her. She was a bigger girl and was a girly girl who did not like getting dirty and was more of a soft soul. Sure she was competitive, but she was fine leaving the unpaved path of women’s wrestling and stuck to traditional female sports. I saw her athleticism, her strength, her determination and power take her to reach her goals of playing soccer at the Air Force Academy (USAFA) and graduating and becoming a pilot. 

While there, she took a combative class and won her division, beating all the other talent in the room. I will never forget the phone call when she told me she had won and how she knew way more wrestling and was better than she thought. 

I told her of course she was superior; she had been going to practices and tournaments since she was born to watch me. I had demonstrated moves on her to show my mom and dad what I had learned since she was able to walk. 

Wrestling was in her blood. My dad wrestled, my grandpa wrestled and wrestling was a big part of her life. She said to me, “I wish I had tried to wrestle.” It broke my heart because I go around and advocate for young girls to wrestle and I never pushed my sister enough to try. My sister is amazing and inspires me because she is reaching new heights in her career as an Air Force officer; she would have been a great wrestler.

     I have a call to action for all the people who know a young lady who looks like they could be a good wrestler. Invite them, encourage them, and help them find a place where they can learn to love the sport. 

And I have a bigger challenge: find two more young ladies who may not appear to be a “good fit” for wrestling and believe in them, give them a chance to be strong and to prove to you they can succeed. 

So join me and through wrestling you will become a better you, a stronger you, a more confident you, the you of your future dreams. For I believe in you, I stand before you and promise you that wrestling has given me a life beyond my dreams. And after wrestling, I will use these same skills to continue to be strong, in body and soul, and push my dreams even higher.

(Follow four-time World champ Adeline Gray on Instagram and Twitter @AdelineGray.)  

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