The Tournament

Essay by alexandro_420High School, 10th gradeB+, May 2006

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I'm next. My stomach growls with hunger and the sharp, stabbing hunger pangs are now almost unbearable. As one of my opponents steps onto the scale, I examine his physique. "He doesn't look that strong", I tell myself. In reality, I secretly hope he doesn't make weight. My clothes are off as I step on the scale. "One eighty-seven point four", says the referee as he writes my weight down. The room is frigid and I rush to put clothes back on after weighing in.

The disgusting smell of locker room fades and is replaced by the fresh, lemony scent of mat cleaner. The basketball court has been transformed into a wrestling arena. There are six mats on which there will be 12 wrestlers wrestling simultaneously in less than an hour. I sit down to eat a short distance from my teammates, close enough to be recognized as part of the team, but distant enough to attempt to have peace.

Their chatter annoys me and makes me even more nervous. The only voice I wish to hear is the calm soothing voice of my coach. He always has the right words to calm me down. I'm almost shaking from nervousness as I eat my peanut butter sandwich. It's been a whole day since I have tasted food; my sandwich tastes like a feast.

Once again, I'm next. There is about a minute left in the match before mine, and then my opponent and I will wrestle on this mat. The salty taste of my own blood is in my mouth and my body is exhausted from my last five matches. My arms feel like they have been pounded by baseball bats. There are matches going on all around me. The bright lights, the loud hollering of parents, fans, and...