Carl Sandburg senior and 2x State Champion Rudy Yates recently reflected on his high school career while writing a paper for his Contemporary Literature Class.
I believe you must fall down in order to be able to get back up and become stronger.
Throughout a person’s lifetime, they will be challenged with many complex, ugly, and quite ridiculous problems. The human race has been knocked down in many ways, and every time has been able to get up and become stronger. Americans, Jews, the Irish, those who had to live with the guilt from Germany, and many more have been mentally and physically crushed but have taken the steps forward necessary for a better future.
I don’t think for a second that I’m comparable to those types of milestones, but I definitely have overcome something monumental in my own world. Throughout middle school, I was a good wrestler, but never great. I would go to multiple national tournaments and come back with a silver or bronze every time. It would be a pretty normal day at the Yates house for me to shadow wrestle and watch wrestling just to see how I can get over the hump.
With freshman year fast approaching upon my heels, I knew that it was time for an even greater sense of urgency. I went from doing two practices a day, to three, and from having one off day, to zero. I was training like a madman seven days a week and praying every night that it would pay off. I became so hungry to win, from all the times I had came up short, that I was fearless on the mat. If it came down to it, I was prepared to rip the other guy’s arm off for a W.
This attitude helped to propel me towards a career i can definitely be proud of. In high school (so far), I have won two State Championships and have placed down state all three times I have gone. I have broken two technical-fall records now and am building upon them, so that nobody can ever catch me. I am currently ranked number three in the country at 126 pounds and will not stop until I am the best in the country. I have been knocked down emotionally and physically in high school, from taking 4th place my sophomore year, to being called a “fag” or even “overrated” by certain high school coaches. These experiences have only made me stronger, and if it weren’t for these to knock me down, who knows if i would’ve ever been able to get back up stronger.
Now I keep my head up and look forward to one last ride at the state tournament. Tears will likely be flowing, all due to the love of this fantastic sport.
Broken IHSA records by Rudy Yates
IHSA Class 3A single season Technical Falls – 28 (previous was 27)
IHSA Career Technical Falls – 64 (previous was 64)