Twice in a Lifetime
What Happens When Things Don’t Go According to Plan
Dear michael saminsky,
Winning the Lowell Holiday Tournament my junior year of high school was a once in a lifetime experience for me, but I didn’t appreciate it at the time because I expected it to win it twice.
Instead I lost 9–4 in the semifinals to Ryan O’Boyle from Central Catholic. I came back and took third, but that loss meant that winning the year before suddenly was and always would be a once in a lifetime experience. The worst part was that I had beaten Ryan O’Boyle at the same tournament the year before 15–0.
That loss lit a fire that stayed with me the rest of the season.
I felt it on New Years Day 2010 when I was the first person waiting outside the YMCA for it to open so I could get a workout. I felt it every night doing push ups, pull ups, and stance motion before bed, and I felt it everyday at lunch when I emptied two packets of instant oatmeal into the Aluminum Containers by the salad bar in the cafeteria.
Two months after the Lowell Holiday Tournament, Ryan O’Boyle and I met again in the All-State Finals. I won 5–4, and in that moment winning All-States became a twice in a lifetime experience.
Going into the season, I expected to win both Lowell and All-States for a second time. But if I had to pick between winning Lowell or All-States, I would pick All-States every time. I‘ll never know if I would have still won All-States had I not lost at Lowell. I like to think I needed that loss and would not have won at the end of the season without it.
Wrestling seasons bring once in a lifetime experiences every year, but some of them only reveal themselves to be so after the fact. Other times, once in a lifetime turns to twice. Expectations can be violated or preserved, but both outcomes usually mark a good story.