Archive for June 25, 2011


One of the highlights of the year for me is always graduation.  It is a day when all the drama of the past melts away into celebration and joy.  Suddenly any stunts any of my former wrestlers and students have pulled doesn’t matter anymore, because I am reminded of why I do this…they did it!

You guys graduated on Wednesday evening.  I witnessed six stellar young men walk across the stage: Matt, Dylan, Marc, Mark, Nico, and Jamey.  I can honestly say–and I know it sounds cliche’ and cheezy, but its true–that I will miss each and every one of you.

I have to laugh at myself, for the evening wasn’t exactly picture perfect.  I managed to get lost…twice…on the way to…yes…the stadium.  I was 20 minutes late, and I was so rushed when I went to grab your graduation cards that I neglected to actually write a note and sign them!  This led to me having to write the notes for a few of your cards right in front of your parents.  I was so flustered that I started out the notes for Matt’s card with, “you’re weird.”  Nice.  This was not my finest hour.  Come to think of it, I have had many hours as a coach that fall into that category.

So I want to share my heart now with you.  Take two:

Dylan, I’m looking forward to hearing good things from you in the next few years.  I’ve raved before about your extraordinary athlethic talents, but what I haven’t commented on much is that you are actually a pretty bright guy.  I was talking with Mr. Sorrell the other day, and he mentioned how much he enjoyed your exchanges with classmates in the open Socratic discussions in his class.  I was not surprised.  You can go toe to toe with the best of em.  A mind like yours is powerful…wield it responsibly, using it to defend the good, the true, and the beautiful.

Mr. Beller

Matt, the thing I’ll always remember about you is your toughness.  You pushed through sickness, pain, and a lot of cutting weight the last few years, and that has earned you my respect.  Time and time again you put the good of the team ahead of your personal comfort.  You’ve never been one to complain about any of that.  That is rare.  And: I think you owe me a re-match.  Whoever was reffing that match and told you that you scored must have been blind.  🙂

Mark Herrera and Matt Grovom

Marc, you’ve got this silent intensity about you.  You’ve got the heart of a lion and the stubborness of a mule, and I mean that in a good way.  Both those things in combination can be a great benefit to you and to others in your life if used wisely.  A 4.0 your senior year!  Wow!  You’re quite the scholar, bud, and that is easy to miss about you because you don’t really make a big deal of it.  Be sure to stay humble like that, stay intense, stay stubborn.  Nothing worth having in life comes easy, and it takes a little intensity and stubborness to lay a hold of it.

Nico, keep smiling!  I really mean what I’ve told you a few times: I really wish we had you as a freshman.  The amount you’ve grown in just two years is astonishing.  Think: you almost went to CIF this year!  That’s astonishing given the fact that just last year you had never wrestled at all.  Even when I was grumpy, it was hard to stay that way when faced with your smile.

Mark, your easygoing manner is the positive quality I’ll remember about you.  You seemed to let stress roll off you without much ado, and I wish I was like that.  I will also always remember when you were ill for the Mission Viejo match, yet you wrestled anyway, scoring a pin for the team.  See?  Wasn’t that bad, was it?  🙂  Your whole family has been great.  Jaime, please do stop by next year during our home matches, just in case I can’t figure out the speaker system again, and I need someone to plug and unplug it for me (for those who missed that…yeah, I was going nuts trying to figure out how to get the sound system to work, and yes, all I needed to do was simply plug it in.  Jaime took one look at me, and figured it out.)

Jamey, you’ve given six years of your life to wrestling, wrestled a lot of live with your brothers, wrestled live with me on your own time pre-season your senior year, and even flown a thousand miles away during summer in search of the best training.    You don’t know it now, but those trials have forged character in you that will come in handy for a lifetime.  My bet is that you are going to be pretty successful in whatever you choose to do.

Fellas, never forget the lessons you learned while wrestling.  They are legion, and will lead you right.  Stop by any time, for there is always an open door for friends.

Your friend,