Wrestling

Allendale Falcon Wrestling Blog

Jun 23 2014

Improbable…Remarkable…A Miracle?

Glenn Geurink's Story


Glenn GeurinkGlenn’s story begins in a quaint, close knit West Michigan town with a population of 17,000.  Born to two loving parents and the youngest of four children, Glenn came into high school with a solid family foundation supporting him. As is typical of a young teenager attending high school in Michigan during the winter months, he was looking for something to do on those cold and dreary days after school. 

 

Previously Glenn had played some rocket football, a little baseball and basketball during his middle school years. Being 6’ 1” and weighing approximately 190 lbs. his freshman year, it seemed only natural that basketball should be his first choice. He had experience, decent athletic ability, he was taller than most his age and, by all accounts, he was still going through a growth spurt. 

 

Then one day, after a week of team tryouts, Glenn was told by the basketball coach that he was being cut. It’s fair to say that a lot of people would be angry, hurt or feel sorry for themselves had they been in Glenn’s shoes and had just been informed that they were no longer needed. Especially in a sport that they seemed to be so overwhelmingly suited for. Glenn walked away somewhat confused, but harbored no hard feelings. When asked as to what went through his head when he was given the news of being cut, he stated, 

 

“Now what do I do during the winter? I mean, I was looking forward to an after school activity.”

 

Glenn walked away from basketball puzzled but bearing no hard feelings. Then in a subsequent conversation with a friend, the friend suggested that Glenn should give wrestling a try. Without any previous consideration regarding wrestling as an after school activity and having no previous wrestling experience, Glenn responded with an amused and long drawn out,

 

“Okay.” 

 

 Not knowing what to expect, Glenn showed up at wrestling practice armed with only the knowledge his friend had given him in the previous discussion. During the daily team meeting, Glenn made it known to the team that he wanted to wrestle. Upon learning that Glenn had been cut from the basketball team and that wrestling was his second choice, the head coach responded with a question,

 

“Glenn are you going to stay here and wrestle for this whole year and commit yourself or are just going to try it and then quit?”

 

Glenn responded that he was going to wrestle for the whole year and that he would work hard and do the best that he possibly could. Little did he realize just how hard the work was going to be. Having never been in a wrestling room before, it was more than somewhat of a shock when introduced to the vigorous tempo of drilling, the seemingly endless techniques used in different situations, the setups and the task of teaching his body a thing called muscle memory. Glenn’s head was swimming, he was becoming overwhelmed. 

 

And then Glenn was introduced during live goes, to his primary workout partner for the rest of the season. A senior named Jared, who was a returning two time state placer and future state champion.  Reflecting back, Glenn stated that he was totally unaware of just how hard the practices were and that it didn’t help getting beat on every day by the future 171 lb. state champion. More than once he asked himself this question,

 

 “Why did I pick this sport?” 

 

As difficult as it was, Glenn stuck with it. His parents had taught him about commitment and determination. So as the season progressed Glenn stayed in Jared’s circle, he worked with numerous coaches on technique and he drilled tirelessly. Roadwork, lifting and wrestling became his new way of life. One-on-one competition and team was the new norm and as the season played out he found something. 

 

Glenn discovered something far greater than just a sport to do on dreary winter afternoons. He discovered within himself an inner strength, a strength that he would be able to call upon anytime as his future life required. He discovered the brotherhood that lives within and encompasses the wrestling room. He had found his true self.

 

Glenn finished that first year campaign with a record of 28 wins and 17 losses. In his last ten matches of the season he posted a very respectable record of 9 wins and 1 loss. 

 

The off-season came and went with Glenn continuing to work hard while honing his new found craft. November eventually rolled around and wrestling started back up. Soon after, Glenn broke into the varsity line-up as a heavyweight and from that point forward he would never relinquished that varsity position for the rest of his high school career. 

 

Glenn was now winning on a regular basis and becoming known as an imposing opponent to other heavyweights. The formula of hard work, dedication, determination and heart had proven to be true and by the end of that sophomore season he had qualified for individual regionals and amassed an impressive record of 36 wins and 10 losses. His goals were now to go undefeated in his future seasons and win a state championship along the way. The world seemed to be his oyster. Then his father became seriously ill. 

 

During the summer between Glenn’s sophomore and junior seasons, his father was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. To say the family was devastated would have been an understatement. Yet there was hope in that the cancer was discovered early enough and through aggressive treatment it could be cured. After all, Glenn’s father was a mountain of a man, a man of great character and strength. Surely he was one who could face this down and beat it. As time passed, wrestling served to keep Glenn busy and with the help of his teammates and coaching staff, he kept working hard and was able to stay focused on his future goals.

 

For the months that followed, the various treatments seemed to have worked and Glenn’s father was given a clean bill of health, the cancer had gone into remission. The wrestling team in the meantime, rallied around Glenn and supported him and his family in anyway they could. As for Glenn, he went forward, kept practicing and competing that junior season, confident that the father that he loved so very much would come through this. 

 

Midway through that fateful season, the cancer returned with a vengeance. Once again, a dark cloud had descended upon the family. Yet through it all, Glenn’s father battled on through the necessary medical procedures, showing an incredible inner strength. When it got to the point when he was in decline and unable to attend Glenn‘s matches, he would later council and support his youngest son with talks about wrestling as well as what was going on in Glenn’s life. Aside from his battles in the squared circle, Glenn was always well aware of the battle in which his father was engaged.  

 

Inspiration can come to someone in many different forms. Who would have thought that watching a parent going through a life and death struggle could inspire? Glenn would later rationalize that subconsciously he was witnessing a lesson of great inner strength. If his father continued to try and scale the mountain before him, why wouldn’t he?

 

The both of them fought on that junior season. The wrestling room had turned into a kind of oasis for Glenn as he crossed his own private desert of despair, watching his father’s condition worsen. He worked even harder, gathering and losing himself within the brotherhood of the wrestling room. 

 

In spite of the direction that his life was taking him outside of the wrestling room and off the mat, Glenn put together a 37 -7 season and placed 5th at the individual state championships. It was an accomplishment that both he and his father shared during their private conversations.

 

Winter turned into spring and spring turned in to summer. While it seemed everyone else was enjoying the warmth of sunshine, there was still a dark cloud hanging over the family. Glenn stayed within his 

off-season workout regimen, maintaining a semblance of balance while hoping and praying for a miracle. Then Glenn’s mountain got even steeper.

 

Glenn’s father passed away that summer. It is said that no matter how one might think they are prepared for the loss of a loved one, you never really are. Well intentioned and consoling words seem to ring hollow in the moment. 

 

It is also said that grieving is a personal process that has no time limit, nor one “right” way to do it. It is accepted that in order to go forward and get on with life one must go through this process. Glenn once again had another challenge, he had to find a way to heal.

 

When asked how wrestling had played a part in all of this, Glenn responded that he was able to keep busy and call upon that inner strength he had found in those early days of his wrestling career. He felt that wrestling was more about family than any other sport. With the support he received from his team, while daunting, it played a key role in helping him through his grieving process. 

 

As time went by, Glenn came to accept his father’s death and embrace the lessons learned. While still always aware of the void that was left in his heart, Glenn felt a new sense of hope as his senior season got underway.  

 

Ranked number two in the state power rankings as his season kicked off, Glenn methodically dispatched his opponents, racking up win after win. Then, after an early team tournament, an exhibition match was made with the number one ranked heavyweight in the state. For two periods, the match was close. By the third period, Glenn was taking control and wearing his opponent down. In the end, it was Glenn who prevailed, the winner by fall. 

 

 Soon after, the new state power rankings were out and it was Glenn sitting atop at number one. Tournaments followed tournaments, duals followed duals and at the end of the regular season, Glenn was undefeated. His heart, dedication, strength and technique were playing havoc on the state’s heavyweight divisions, making short work of anyone put in front of him. 

 

As the individual state championship tournament got underway, Glenn cut a swath through individual districts and regionals, remaining undefeated and maintaining his number one ranking going into the state finals.

 

As the state finals got underway, Glenn once again didn’t disappoint, winning his first three matches either by fall or shutting out his opponent. Glenn had almost reached the top of his mountain.

 

For those who go through intense challenges and crisis after crises, the Lord will never give you more than you can handle. It does not matter what it is. If you cannot handle it, you will not learn from it. One more challenge was ahead for Glenn.

 

That challenge turned out to be a 7-6 tie breaker loss in the state finals, finishing his senior season at 

46-1. Again, some would be distraught, devastated and feeling sorry for themselves. 

 

Glenn never complained, he made no excuses and handled the loss with a great sense of class. The lessons learned from the day of being cut from the basketball team, to stepping off the state finals podium, turned out to be his mountain.  

 

Glenn learned many lessons during his personal journey into manhood, where he overcame life’s obstacles both on the mat and at home. He learned about the true meaning of family, of team and the parallel of how similar life and wrestling are. He learned that inner strength is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. He learned about love and dedication as he learned to overcome.  

 

Through it all, wrestling served as his vehicle of self discovery. Glenn would later remark that he would not be the person he is today without it. He has some advise to anyone who might be considering wrestling:

 

“Yes definitely consider wrestling, but be prepared, as it takes a lot out of you and requires a lot out of you. To be successful, one doesn’t just try wrestling, you must be committed, be extremely dedicated and pour a lot of time and energy into it. But in the end, it’s worth it.”

 

As to the title of the story, you will have to decide.

 

 

 

-SevenMinutes

 




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