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    Being Physical and Keeping Myself Healthy Essay

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    As I think about on where I’ve been and where I am in my short life, I’m only nineteen , I find that my main focus has been to take care of myself physically. I find it hard to believe that I actually competed in a physic building competition, especially a coed one. Out on a stage with a couple dozen chiseled chested men in board shorts, and sculpted bikini clad women. All essentially strangers to me. There I was taking a step here, a twist there, flexing my abs and biceps. Doing this somewhat strange dance of vanity with a smile on my face and eye contact with the 10 peeping eyes of the judges peering up at me.

    I think the reason I got into a physique competition was because of bodily injuries playing contact sports It was about 3 years ago, during my high school days that I woke up with a startle, as a bathroom door that was pulled closed to hard. As I peered around my darkened room, I was unsure of exactly where I was. Then I heard my Mom yelling, “get up Mitchell, you have a wrestling match this morning! ” I sighed, rolled deep under my blankets into a cocoon of warmth, and remembered the cold rough surface of the wrestling match that I hoped to avoid having the back of my shoulders come into contact with.

    Being a wrestler wasn’t a dream for me, but a way to keep fit in the off-football season, so out of my cocoon I flew on my way to the shower. After a guilt free breakfast since I had my weigh -in the night before, we hit the road. We pulled into the parking lot of Nebraska City High School, the morning snow crunching beneath the buss’s tires as we came to a stop. We piled out of the car, carrying armfuls of the necessary items to bring inside a gym for most of the day. Things like food, beverages, reading material and of course phone chargers. My parents wished me luck and I marched my way through the echoing chamber of the gym.

    The announcer sounding like a McDonalds drive-thru order taker,where you only understand about half of what was said. My team claimed an area on the bleachers and then we hit the mats to warm-up, I soon began stretching myself into a pretzel. Amongst the organized madness of coaches yelling, whistles blowing and people flailing about in every which direction, my teammates and I figured out our matches. Soon after the announcer calls out “weight class 132 Mitchell, mat 4”. I shake my opponents hand and the referee blew the whistle, it was on then. As I am accessing my opponent he quickly moved in on me, taking the first shot.

    I sprawled. I cross faced him delivering pain and also a message to not shoot on me. After I broke him down, I worked a cradle on him to put him into a pinning position. I held it as tightly as I could, and shortly after, the referee’s hands slapped the mat to signal that the match was over. I went back and shook hands with him again. It was an awesome feeling to win my first match of the day in less than a minute. I hear applause and loud screeching screams from friends and family I decided that I really liked wrestling and would work on excelling in it.

    I was pumped up for my remaining match’s. The following two took a much greater effort, but I was able to win those matches as well. After those victories I was moving on to compete for the first place medal. I was mentally psyched and feeling pretty macho. Again, my name was called out, with seemingly more emphasis by the announcer. Quickly moving into position I felt like a predator readying myself for an easy meal as I sized up my prey. The whistle shrilled and off we went. Circling each other, looking for an opening I faked a move to the left and quickly pounced on his right leg.

    Pulling him out and down from behind his knee I landed on top of him and worked my arms into position to pull his legs up with his back and shoulders going against the stale smelling mat. My hand slipped off him and suddenly he arched up, freed himself and spun to his left while getting back to his feet. I sprang back up and we were once again facing each other. How quickly my ego shrunk away from me as we once again circled each other. He leapt at me pulling my right arm down and quickly came behind, encircling both arms to slam me down. I pushed down on his hands breaking free of his grasp.

    As I was striding forward his arms slid down my thigh and he grabbed hold of my knee, twisting my leg to pull me down. At that moment I felt a wrenching pain and heard a popping type sound and in a split second I was down. With my role suddenly reversed as the injured prey, I struggled physically and emotionally to this sad turn of events. Within seconds I was pinned. Feeling utterly useless I was able to limp off the mat, hoping that I would be okay. The enthusiasm I had earlier for wrestling no turned into contempt. Although able to walk, it was very uncomfortable despite the ice pack the athletic trainer.

    Hobbling over to gather my gym bag I was greeted by my folks and their somber looks. The “you did great Mitch” and “don’t worry everything will be okay” did nothing to lift my spirits, I just wanted to get home, take a shower and crawl back into my cocoon, wishing I had never gotten out of it this morning. On waking Monday morning, my left knee was killing me. Unable to extend my knee as it was locked in place I told my Mom it was more than a bad sprain. Fortunately, she is a registered nurse, so after a phone call we pulled on our coats and off we went for what I thought was to be an x-ray.

    Well it turned out to be an MRI. Having never experienced one, I was told I would basically be put inside a tube. What I actually discovered was that I was put in what seemed to be a virtual reality game with crazy loud gunfire, tanks and other weapons of mass destruction cycling 360 degrees around me. Okay, maybe was not quite that bad but it was bizarre sounding. Following my magnetic adventure, we met with the orthopedic surgeon that afternoon. “Well, Mitchell the good news is we will not have to amputate” says Dr. Brown with a laugh.

    As I roll my eyes at my Mom he goes on, “it is a bucket handle tear, so you will need surgery”. Upon hearing that, I felt even more bummed out. “The good news is, I do these repairs all the time and you will be back manhandling on the mat in no time at all” said Dr. Brown, again laughing. After successful surgery, I could walk normally after a couple weeks. Performing self instructed rehab I worked on strengthening my knee. Although I felt ready to tussle again, the wrestling season ended before I could get back. So with wrestling behind me, I did spring track for football conditioning.

    At long last football began. Early morning workouts in the weight-room. slamming locker doors, clicking of cleats across the sidewalk leading to the gridiron and two a day practices. I was back in my favorite sport, even if it felt like going through hell during practices. As an outside linebacker my job like everyone on defense was simple, go to wherever the ball traveled and take down whomever had it. Some days I felt like superman on the field, taking giant leaps in a single bound and running as fast as a bullet. But one day I failed to stop a speeding train as I collided with what seemed like David’s Goliath.

    Blind sided by the kick returners blocker, his helmet cracked like a bolt of lightning as it made contact with mine. With the universe spinning around as I wobbled back to the sideline it was obvious something was not right. The athletic trainer made his assessment “how many fingers you see Mitchell ? ” My answer made him call my parents for a ride home with instructions to take a concussion test in the morning. The concussion test was positive and I was out of practice and missed two games. The remainder of that season was uneventful, no other injuries, my knee felt okay, although it did throb on occasions.

    The next football season, concussions seemed to be all you heard about in the news. The school implemented mandatory baseline assessments and all I heard from my parents was to be careful during practice and games. Being careful in football is about leading into a hit with your shoulders and not your head. What I can’t control is other players not being careful and more often than not they are usually being stupendously careless. This was the case as I received another concussion by Goliath’s cousin who decided to nail me after a blown whistle. This time I was sidelined for four weeks, essentially the season was over.

    I thought, that’s okay, I’ll be ready for my senior year. If anything I showed perseverance, even if it meant ignoring common sense. That off-season I worked out everyday at school and after at my gym. My teammates respected my tenacity and the effort I put forth in my training. As one of the smaller players and having two previous concussions, my teammates looked up to me for help in getting ready for our final season. I had my own training regimen and was working on improved fundamentals day by day to get better for football. I wore a path from my time inside the weight room and had the best preseason practices ever.

    The last preseason practice is an all team scrimmage that accumulates with a watermelon feed. The following week will be the first varsity game of my senior year. The practice field is full of different squads, the stands full of parents trying to pick out their sons, My squad made some good plays impressing the coaches. I was making my fair share of tackles. I’m feeling good, a light breeze keeping me cool and the next play is called. The center snaps the ball, the quarterback fakes a hand off to the right and then throws a short screen pass to the running back.

    My eyes immediately lock onto him. I cut up the field, and am coming at a right angle to him saying to myself, “gotcha” when I’m hit with an illegal block to my back. This sends me forward head in to the shoulder of another blocker who pancakes me. I’m dazed and I’m pissed! This is a scrimmage, we’re teammates and we’re not suppose to cause injuries. The two lug heads apologize while helping me up. I assure the coach I’m fine as I walk off and the next squad takes the field, but I actually feel queasy and I keep this to myself. It is my senior year after all.

    I played through the rest of the scrimmage, but I can not remember anything after that hit i had took. The next thing I knew I was lying flat on my living room floor not recalling even coming home. At this point my head is in agonizing pain, I think it is going to explode there is so much pressure. My mother helps me up as I am screaming in pain. She rushes me to the emergency and they suspect a concussion. In addition to the examination and my history of previous concussion I am given a cat scan. Luckily it comes back normal. The doctor advises me to have a concussion examination to compare to my baseline.

    On Monday morning I have one taken with my primary doctor and fail it big time. I make an executive decision and decide to quit football. I realize football is just temporary and I know the lifelong repercussions that concussions cause for your brain. “That’s a good choice young man” says the doctor. “Yeah” I reply, “I should have done it sooner”. As we head to the car, the disappointment I feel in myself is almost painful. The self pity is frustrating. The next day as I walk past teammates and others with my helmet and pads, all eyes are on me as I head into the coaches office.

    I told him about the hard hit and my visit to the ER and hand him a note from the doctor. He tells me I should have gone to the trainer first. “Coach” I say, “I am going to have to quit, the risk does not meet the reward anymore. ” He understands and shakes my hand. Coach lets me know that I am still part of the team and wants me to come to the sidelines every game, I pass it down. I hold my jersey close to me one last time and then hand it in, football is now just another part of my past. The first 3 weeks of school was tough, especially not going to football practice.

    Football had been a part of me since starting with flag football at the YMCA in grade school. More than just playing the game, I also enjoyed the conditioning and keeping fit aspect of it. While my former teammates hit the school weight room each morning I decided to workout at my gym each day. Since my football days were behind me, it was time to move on. With the injuries I sustained during wrestling and football, I decided to focus just on my personal training efforts. I really enjoyed weightlifting and had developed good technique through the years by trying to develop myself as a better athlete physically.

    An obvious benefit in addition to increasing physical strength is the development of the physique. It requires a lifestyle change in and out of the gym to meet one’s physique improvement goals. The sport of bodybuilding requires a very strong discipline of body and mind. Many people, especially other athletes don’t think that it should be considered a sport. However, professionals have shown that the training required to develop muscle with exercise, weights and diet requires as much and often more effort than those in traditional sports.

    I personally began training for my personal beliefs in health and fitness and never considered entering a competition until I met a competitor at my gym. His name was Mike Johnson son, a natural bodybuilder and host of pro qualifying competitions. Mike informed me of a show he was hosting and then got to talking all about natural bodybuilding. He told me it would be a journey and if i really wanted to do something like this I would have to stay dedicated and focused. After a few days of thinking about it I met Mike back at the gym and told him it is something new that I would like to try.

    There I took my first step into a new journey, and my life would forever change, and probably for the better. Sports is an important aspect of life, it teaches you camaraderie, how to get along with others, perseverance, leadership and responsibility. The reasons someone chooses a particular sport to play can be varied, but typically comes with what your friends are doing, and then on your ability. When I first signed up for wrestling and football I never imagined myself on a stage competing in a men’s physique competition.

    In addition to the weights, exercise and diet I actually had an instructor teaching me methods of stage presence. How to smile, make eye contact, position limbs and make a proper entrance, correct turns and good exit off the stage. My first competition in the Max Classic last June was a changing moment as it showed me that my passion for athletics and competition was still with me. During wrestling and football you would see and hear the fans but you never felt like you were being watched like I did during physique competition. This added another dimension to competing that I enjoy.

    From a torn meniscus and multiple concussions to the loss of playing varsity football my senior year, I learned that adversity can lead to other unexplored paths. Lessons of resourcefulness, self discipline and discovery come in many directions. I may not have been the great athlete I wanted to be during high school but because of high school athletics I was able to find a passion for fitness, creating a stronger body and mind in all, striving every single day to become the strongest version of myself. I hope in the future I can use my passion of health and fitness to help others.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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