Column as I See’em

One last thank you


Photo contributed by Nathan Smith

Over the past few days, I have gone through almost every emotion. The thought of not being able to ever achieve my life- long dream and goal has left me with a feeling of emptiness and a hole in my heart.
After placing seventh at the IHSAA state tournament last season as a junior, I knew I only had one more chance to get to the top of the podium and fulfill the goal I had set for myself ever since I was a kid. However, last Saturday, I came up just short of that. Securing myself a third place finish at the IHSAA state tournament, and finishing my senior season 50-1 is not what I envisioned for the end of my season. However, that is not to say I am not happy and proud of all my accomplishments as a Card.
Throughout my time at SHS and my wrestling career, I have been given the opportunity to be able to accomplish things that I will forever remember and be proud of. The records I have set here and the things I have done are impressive, but I would have never been able to achieve anything without the help of the amazing people in my life.
My dad, Greg Smith, has done everything for me. He has given me every opportunity to be successful that I could have ever asked for. The time, money and love he has gifted me has allowed me to not only be a good wrestler, but it showed me what can truly happen when I set my mind to something and put everything into it.
I will forever be grateful for the things my dad has done for me. Without him, I do not think it would have been possible for me to be as successful as I have been, and I know I would not be the person I am today.
The bond we have made over the many years of practices, long car rides, tournaments and conversations about my wrestling are the kind of memories I will always cherish.
Wrestling might be a combat sport that I will eventually leave, but the lessons I have learned and the habits I have built because of this sport are something I will always carry with me. Hard work, sportsmanship, friendships, commitment and dedication are just some of the many things that this amazing sport has taught me.
I am so thankful for all of my coaches, teammates and every single person that I have had the privilege of being around. One such coach, Nick Skinner, has been in my corner from the moment he took over the SHS wrestling program five years ago.
I can remember him telling me as a 75- pound middle schooler that he would be my coach the next year when I arrived at the high school. What I didn’t know at the time was that over those years, he would become like a second father to me.
He, like my father and many others, did everything he possibly could have done in order to put me in a position to succeed. The moments we have shared over the past few days have shown me just how much he truly cares about me.
Walking in on him crying after my loss in the semifinals this weekend, and hearing him apologize to me for not doing everything in his power to help me achieve my goals, even though he did, showed me that he truly thinks of me as his own. That is something I care a lot more about than any state medal.
My wrestling journey is not over, seeing as I am going to continue my athletic career in college, but my time competing in a SHS singlet is. I would just like to give one more thank you to everyone. People who come up to me and tell me they enjoyed watching me, my practice partners over the past 12 years, the families and connections I have had the pleasure of making and everyone else who has played any part in my life, thank you.