During my school years, I loved playing sports. I played tee ball and some minor league baseball in the local youth leagues. I tried basketball for a few years and learned all that running did not go well with asthma. When I was attending Barboursville Middle School, I decided to branch out and try some new sports.
I tried a different sport every season of the school year. I played football in the fall, wrestled in the winter, and ran track in the spring. Out of all three, wrestling was the best. The great appeal of wrestling to me was that moment of triumph at the end of the match when you could hold your head high after beating the other guy. Losing was never very much fun, but it was a small price to pay for the moments when you did win.
My wrestling coach was Larry Lafone. He was a coach worth remembering. He truly cared about his team. If one of us got hurt, even if he didn’t particularly like us, he was there to help. He was dedicated to both the sport and the team. He would not be satisfied until he had the best out of each and every one of us on the team.
Coach could be rough and you usually did not leave practice without at least feeling like you were going to throw up. He knew what it took to win and he showed each of us until we got it right. After we would step off the mat victorious, then we knew that every bit of the sweat and blood we had shed had been well worth it.
I got first place in my first match that year and held a winning record throughout the year. I wrestled again my first year of high school and could tell right away that I missed my old middle school coach. I lost well over half my matches that second year. I could not stay focused any more without hearing Coach Lafone yelling what to do from the side. Wrestling was never the same.