“One on one aspect of it. There’s nothing like grinding with just one other guy on a mat,” says Eric Peissig of Menomonie.
Unlike most sports, wrestling is mono y mono, making one solely responsible for earning the win or the loss.
“It doesn’t get a whole lot of attention because it’s such a hard sport and there aren’t many people that are physically or mentally capable of doing it," adds Peissig.
It’s a match between both body and mind, equally testing ones physical condition and spirit.
"Physically, you have to be strong, you have to be able to do the moves. And then mentally you have to stay tough like don’t break," says youth wrestler Mason Phillips. "It builds good character because doing those things makes you like a good person.”
Brothers Jordan and Josh Crass, who wrestled for the University of Wisconsin, started the Weigh In Club in Eau Claire, attracting athletes from all over Western Wisconsin who understand that even through the off season the grind must continue.
“You hear people saying let’s shoot some hoops or throw a football around but you don’t hear people just say, let’s go hit some double legs,” says UW-Eau Claire wrestler, Ryan Seidler.
“You just gotta keep a positive attitude, coming into practice," says youth wrestler Micah Johnson. It’s gotta be fun because if you don’t like it and you don’t think it’s fun, you’re not gonna be good at it.”
It’s sweat-filled rooms like these where techniques are learned, mentalities are strengthened and champions are made, that keep the sport alive.
“Seeing all the hard work you put into it pay off, just that feeling makes it all worth it," says Seidler.
“That I’ve gotten better and come back the next time trying to get better again," adds Phillips.
“Never give up and never be satisfied with your performance,” comments Johnson.