The Wire Actor Gbenga Akinnagbe recently revealed how being involved in wrestling permanently altered his life course for the better.
I grew up angry, living in a volatile home in Gaithersburg, Md. By the time I was 15, I had spent most of my school years in programs for troubled youth and I was fast on my way to becoming a thug. I wanted to return to a normal school, and I had failed on two earlier chances.
– Akinnagbe writes in his new york times article.
The popular students played on those teams, and many had known and played with one another since kindergarten. I had never been properly socialized and I felt like an outsider.
That first day of practice, my life changed.
I had never even seen a wrestling match, but I immediately starting dominating my opponents at 171 pounds. I didn’t have any skill, but I was pound for pound the strongest athlete on the team. Wrestling seemed instinctive to me. I also learned quickly.
Wrestling is one of the world’s oldest sports, practiced by the ancient Nubian, Greek and Indian cultures, among others. All it requires is two people with the slightest bit of survival instinct.
For seven minutes, the opponents use every muscle and every bone to dismantle each other. Strength counts, but most matches are won on leverage and will.
After joining the team, my grades improved. I started to open up to others and I made friends. Wrestling taught me discipline and how to control my anger. Most important, it taught me that I was master of my own destiny.
Gbenga Akinnagbe joins a long line of people whose lives changed thanks to grappling. You can read the entire excellent article here.
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