(This is a guest post from Cody Garcia, the Head Wrestling Coach at Baker University. Cody is starting his second year at the helm of the Baker University Wrestling program. In his first year at Baker, he led the team to their best ever finish of 6th in the Nation. He also coached 2 individual National Champions in the process. As a wrestler, Cody was a 4-time All-American, 3-time National Finalist, and 2-time National Champion. He was also a 4-time Academic All-American and a member of 4 Team National Championships at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Cody is simply one of the best college coaches in the Nation and is impacting everyone in his path in a positive manner. His passion is a bright light and beacon of hope for all to follow. -Coach P)
Ignite Your Passion
“Start a fire in my soul, fan the flame and make it grow….”
A while back, there was a discussion about wrestling and the question of if it was fun and, for that matter, if it was even supposed to be fun. Fun is a strange and loaded word. A lot of things can be “fun”. Scooter hockey in elementary? Sign me up. Handball with the guys? I’m in. Are these things fun? Absolutely, but you don’t see many individuals committing their lives to becoming great at it. I do happen to think wrestling is fun. The process of becoming a great wrestler, though, can be better described as enjoyable. Coach Denney (my legendary College Coach) would often say it as well, “…it’s not always fun, but you have to enjoy it.” It’s love. There will be days you have to go on commitment, but ultimately, you do have to enjoy the process and love what you do. Back to this later….
Anything that is worthwhile in life will be demanding. Wrestlers are passionate about wrestling. Why? We are passionate because it is consuming; it is a lifestyle. Passion is created by the investment in your goals and forged by your commitment to them. Be it your faith, family, job, school, sports; have a consuming desire to represent greatness in all things you do. Only then can you fulfill your purpose and make your impact. Embrace that you are called to rise above mediocrity and the vulnerability that may come with that. Expectations should never be limitations. Non-committal attitudes drive me crazy. Why are people scared of failure? When you sell yourself short by not committing to your ability, your wins are still losses and regrets will eventually outweigh your potential fears of failure. So go big and be passionate.
“Let it burn so brightly, that everyone around can see….”
Each year we do personal mantras. Deciding what you’re about and how you want to represent it can be a challenging thing. For an 18-year-old, that’s a daunting task. You are finding your path. You have to develop and define your brand. It’s crucial. For me, it comes down to how I intend to serve this group and serve things greater than myself. My mantra for the last 2 years has been “burn bright”.
It goes back to passion. Be so passionate in what you do, and how you do it, that it illuminates the sky. The hotter the flame burns, the more brilliant and radiant the light will be. It’s a burning desire to represent greatness. It is an understanding that you may use more energy to light the way, but shedding light on potential and being a beacon of hope is a privilege and will always be worth it.
It can be dark out. Distractions are constantly around you. Even as I am very intentional in separating from them, I am very aware of them. Society seems to be more tolerant of the distractions anymore. I do think that those in the darkness are intrigued by the light, though. That is exciting to me. It’s hope. We always need hope. There is a lot of fog in the air, but the light will direct you. Let your light shine and believe you can make a difference. Know your light and protect it.
Protect your Flame
Back to the beginning… A wrestler told his coach “It’s not fun anymore”. Is it supposed to be? I don’t know if it matters either way. It’s passion. It’s about love and enjoyment. As I said, it’s all these things forged by commitment.
Most likely, this person was no longer devoted to the craft and its process. You don’t fall out of love with things overnight. At some point, they became complacent in their purpose and too caught up with outcomes. They became selfish and believed that the relationship owed them. They viewed it as a sacrifice and that they were missing out. They didn’t protect their flame.
You protect your flame by keeping it bright. Continue to fuel it daily and fix your eyes on what matters. It is about focusing on the right things, surrounding yourself with great people, and constantly aligning and adjusting to keep your flame in sight.
You protect your flame by knowing the environment and knowing your flame. This is something we talk about within the group. If you’ve struggled with “distractions” and you feel like you’re not ready to be around those distractions, it’s probably not smart to go somewhere that is dark and windy. That’s okay. Build your flame up to the point where someday you have the confidence to enter the dark and pull people out of darkness with your light.
Again, anything worthwhile is demanding. It has to challenge you to change you. We’re not only talking about wrestling. It never really is, but realizing that wrestling gives you the mindset to attack anything that comes your way. It’s easy to talk yourself out of loving something, but instead, choose to be invested in your purpose and motivated by your opportunity to be a difference maker.
Coach Cody Garcia