The Coach Who Changed My Life
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The Coach Who Changed My Life

"I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth." -Lou Gehrig

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The Coach Who Changed My Life
Frank Dlugopolski

no, Life works in mysterious ways. Whether by sheer luck or simply intertwined fate, we all have that one person who enters our life and changes it in ways that we cannot possibly have foreseen. I met this man when I was just seven years old; my very first wrestling coach: Wilbur Borrero.

I remember attending my first wrestling camp nearly 12 years ago, which was being held at my future high school. Meeting him for the first time was like meeting a giant from my viewpoint. He had silvery grey hair, a nearly bone-crushing handshake, and a booming voice that echoed off the walls like a thunderstorm. To be honest, I was a little scared of him at first. But, as the practice rolled on, I decided that his bark was worse than his bite. Across the span of just three days, his instruction took me from a curious spectator, to a fanatic participant.

Coach wanted me to start on the varsity team right away. At first I was shocked and didn't know what to think. But, I decided that there must be a reason for his confidence and I accepted his challenge.

In youth wrestling, I usually made good jumps in skill each year. In high school, coach Borrero transformed and refined my abilities to take me from a wrestler with potential, to a wrestler who could contend for a state championship. In this time, he taught me how to work hard, make sacrifice, and lead a team.

Coach Borrero has a marvelous ability to integrate fun into an otherwise grueling practice. He makes you want to work hard and become not just the best wrestler you can, but also the best person as well. His philosophy advocates "family first, education second, and sports third." This principle has stuck with me since the very first time I heard it all those years ago. Across the time that he trained me, our relationship grew closer and tighter. By the end of my senior year, he had become like a second father to me. I came to value and respect everything about the man who I had come to revere.

Coach Borreo's training prepared me for not only my opponents on the mat, but also the opponents and obstacles I will face throughout my life. And I will be eternally grateful for everything he has done for me. He's been there for me at some of my highest and lowest points, he's been there to give me a laugh, and of course he's always been there to kick my ass when need be.

As I age, I aspire to be everything that he is, and hope to continue to make him proud. Without his help, I could not have become the athlete and man that I am today. Thank you coach Borrero. Thank you for changing my life.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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