As you know my relationship to my chosen sport of freestyle wrestling is so emotionally fraught that I wrote a whole performance art show about it. You might have wondered if any increased success in competition might have tamped down my various crises of selfhood and legitimacy. Well fear not! Turns out every little nudge I make into the higher levels of wrestling brings with it new layers of comitragic awkwardness.
After a first place at 2018 Australian Nationals, a second place Oceania Championships in Guam, and a third place at 2019 Nationals, I got invited to the 2019 Olympic Training Camp. I got to train and spar with the Australian wrestlers most likely to qualify for the next Olympics, completing ten sessions across six days, and if that’s sounds like I might have been slightly out of my depth YOU WOULD BE RIGHT. Enjoy the below photo of me trying my best to display good Active Listening Face while struggling to understand what was comfortably understood by most of the room.
My fitness held up fine and I definitely learned a heap of great stuff, but also it turns out that the world of elite athletics has a lot in common with high school. By which I mean a status hierarchy quickly appears (in fairness a fairly meritorious one) and anxiousness leads me to do clumsy stuff if front of everyone. I had a great and punishing time and left me desperate to keep going with the whole thing. So like, very much of a piece with my whole thing here.