My First Personal Statement

By Michael Hines

“Michael! You need to score early,” my wrestling coach yells. My coach is right. Not only does scoring the first point early give me a mental edge, but scoring the first point of the match would give me a strategical advantage.

The opposing coach yells, my peers cheer, and I realize this match is in front of that girl watching in the front row. Clearing my mind of these distractions is imperative — I must focus only on myself and my opponent.

Battling for position, I gain an advantage. My opponent backs toward the boundary. With the advantage I have, I make a move. I lower my stance, reaching for my opponent’s leg. We head out of bounds. Scoring would be impossible that close to the boundary, but the referee is now on my “side”. Any close call or the next time my opponent appears to be “stalling”, the referee will award me points.

The impatient look of my coach in the corner of the mat reminds me that I need to score quickly. The second period starts. I’m in bottom position. Launching to my feet, I nail the escape and take the lead. After fighting for position, reacting, and focusing, I manage to work an angle on my opponent which I use to get a great leg attack for a takedown — two points. My plan works; my opponent is unable to get an escape point before the period ends.

Scoring points and winning matches in wrestling has not come easily to me. The first two or three years, I was an awful wrestler. However, the culture and competition of wrestling pulled me into its grasp. There is a challenge involved with wrestling that I have never experienced. I have learned what devotion, sacrifice, and commitment mean through wrestling. There is an addicting feeling when I walk off the mat, my body drained, with an underdog victory that came because of the values wrestling has taught me and the challenges that I overcame.

Although winning is enjoyable, there is more to wrestling. The sport requires a lifestyle change. I stay on a strict diet for months in order to keep my weight down. This only becomes more difficult when I practice seven days a week — sometimes drilling the same move for two hours in a practice. Composure is key. I must put losses behind me and keep outworking my opponents to win the next match. Often, a practice at school is followed by an extra workout with other wrestlers on the other side of Columbus. Working smarter — by working with multiple drilling partners — and harder is very important to success in the sport.

Discipline, dedication, and determination are three of the important values that wrestling has instilled in me. The embodiment of these values will lead to success throughout my life. The discipline wrestling has taught me is what causes me to study every night rather than give in to the temptation of playing video games. The dedication wrestling has taught me causes me to study immediately after practice each day. The determination wrestling has taught me causes me to continue to achieve academic success in spite of small setbacks. The life-changing values wrestling has instilled in me prepare me for success in all future endeavors.

No matter where I go in life, I will use these skills to be successful. Whether I am raising a family or researching for a dissertation, I know that I will fuel the passion to reach my life goals by staying disciplined, dedicating myself to achieving my goals, and staying determined.


My Second Personal Statement

by Michael Hines

Most people do not “get” wrestling unless they have done it themselves or have a family member or close friend that wrestles. To most people, wrestling is a bunch of sweaty guys in leotards rolling around on a mat. They wonder why we put ourselves through such difficult practices and ask why we cut so much weight. To me, wrestling is the greatest challenge I have put myself through and it stimulates how I think.

During my junior year, I cut twelve pounds per week. I would wake up the day after a tournament after essentially binge eating the night before and read “127 lbs” on the scale. The day before I had weighed 115 lbs. This is one of the most difficult things I have put myself through.

There are times when I wanted to quit wrestling. In the middle of January, when the discipline I have put into cutting weight becomes more difficult to endure and I may be in a rut in my matches, I have thought about quitting. Wrestling has taught me that enduring these difficulties is very rewarding and gives a sense of accomplishment above all else I have experienced. The sport has taught me to be accountable. I would not be able to hold my head high if I did not work my hardest for the sake of myself, my teammates, my family, and my coaches. Wrestling has shown me what hard work means. When I walk off that mat for the final time, I will know that I have put every ounce of energy into the sport to improve myself, whether I reach my goals or not. I know that I will be able to be proud of whatever I achieve because the sport has taught me more than many things in my life.

The skills I have acquitted from wrestling have translated to other facets of my life. I have learned to be efficient with the limited time I have. I can juggle multiple pressures and thoughts at once. I am able to silence my own doubts.

My dedication to wrestling and the values I have learned from the sport will carry me to lifetime success. When I sit down and work through a difficult calculus problem, physics concept, or English essay, I receive the same feeling from overcoming obstacles as I do when I walk off the wrestling mat with a win. The dedication, teamwork, hard work, and focus wrestling has taught me will allow me to be successful anywhere I go.


Michael Hines is a senior at Olentangy Organce High School who began wrestling in the seventh grade. After a month of practice, Michael fell in love with the sport and decided to commit to wrestling year round. His sophomore year he was a match away from qualifying for the Ohio state tournament, and he has wrestled twice on the Ohio national team that competes at Fargo. He is a 4x varsity letter and was elected team captain as a senior. Michael hopes to study nuclear engineering at MIT.

Originally published at wrestlingstories.org.

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