2024 – Awardee – Gracie Blake – Green Canyon HS

Mar 26, 2024

Wrestling through the pain.

As a senior, this was my last year to wrestle on the girl’s wrestling team. I was doing everything I could to be in my best health so that I could go for first place at state. Two weeks before state, I started experiencing severe pain in my left foot. I tried to work through it. I was wearing a boot outside of practice and then taping my feet in practice. I made it through Divisionals wrestling by heating my foot and taking medicine. I ended up taking second, which set me up really well for state. However, it took a downward turn when we got there. I tried wrestling but couldn’t stand up. I ended up going to the ER after the first match, ending my four years of folk style wrestling. It was very hard to have to end wrestling without placing. I had worked so hard to get where I was. About 2 hours after I got back to the event center from the ER, I got the hard news that my friend had committed suicide. Two horrible things, just hours from each other. I cried hard on my friends shoulder as he held me. I called my Coach who was also my Mom. She came and found me, hugged me and talked to me. My friends and family really helped me in this hard time. I sat and told my friends fun wrestling stories. I reviewed my favorite wrestling matches and thought about how much fun I had, and how well I did being injured. I watched and supported my teammates and helped them through their losses and cheered them on through their wins. To cope with my friend, I had to journal. I journaled all my favorite memories and I told stories about him to others. I would also cope by doing crafts. I found if I could keep my hands busy, I could keep my mind off of it. Another thing I did was read books or listen to podcasts. I tried to get my brain to focus on something else. To go to sleep, I would listen to sleep stories on Spotify. Something that was very hard for me was making sure I did not seclude myself. When I am mentally not in the best place I tend to overthink and be on my own. So I work hard to be around others, especially friends and family. I can joke with them and make things lighthearted, but then I can also have hard conversations about what I am struggling with and get support. It is now a month later, and it is less hard. Sometimes I need to fall asleep to stories, but for the most part I am okay. My friends and family really helped me to be okay through these tough times. Although his death was hard, it has helped me to see the importance of the relationships in my life. I have gotten closer with many of my friends through game nights, I have grown closer to my siblings, and I have learned to not take the small moments for granted. You have friends and support, you just have to be willing to let others know you are struggling.

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