Monday, February 16, 2009


I wrestled competitively for five years. I quit after my freshman year of high school, picked up the guitar, and began writing songs.

Before and during a wrestling match, I'd create a great pressure over myself. I'd never meet my expectations, even when I won, and the release I felt after the match had ended would often break me into tears. Which was endlessly embarrassing for a teenager.

I later realized that the pressure was created by my eliminating all distractions but the opponent. And then I'd still have to center my energy toward him in order to invade him, inflict pain, and force submission.

This is the reason I didn't enjoy competing. But I still loved practice for another reason -- pushing myself beyond exhaustion. The temperature of the wrestling room was always set above 110 degrees (to facilitate weight loss) and would only increase when 20 to 30 men sparred and trained throughout a 2 hour practice. After wind sprints and sparring, after 50 takedowns and 50 escapes, 200 push-ups and 200 crunches, my body was rubber; but I felt euphoric as the sweat pooled beneath me -- knowing that I'd given my all.

Competition was too much for me and I finally quit. The pressure disappeared after I quit wrestling and started writing songs. I thought it was because I had traded conflict for harmony, but instead, it was because I'd finally eliminated the last distraction, the opponent. Now I was alone with the conflict.

I was ecstatic to discover that the energy needed to pierce through the dissonance, to gain the clarity necessary to write creatively, required greater endurance, training, and dedication than wrestling practice. My favorite aspect of competitive sport had returned, heightened.

Without an opponent, I could never win. But after the coffee cups and the grief, after the red eyes and sleepless nights, after the cramped hands and disheveled hair, after the broken soul, after my mind turned into rubber and the pages gathered around my feet, I would again feel euphoric when I made something true on paper.


  1. I like that line: "Now I was alone with the conflict."

    I've had that kind of euphoria after doing yoga at the Funky Door in SF. The room was nearly unbearable hot and after an hour and a half of forcing my body to do things I didn't know it could do, I felt a great release of stress and anxiety. A moment of clarity occurred. It was a beautiful thing.

  2. This is really insightful and can relate to so many people on many different levels. I didn't realize Gwen pointed out the same line, but I just looked over and noticed she did.

    "Now I was alone with the conflict."

    This is my favorite line of the whole blog and also sums it up. Having the conflict and no specific "opponent" can make what we do unbearable at times. But your last paragraph sums up why it's all worth it and the great feeling that comes with sticking it out.

    Great blog!

  3. Nice. Very true, too. I can relate, as you know.Is there a new Screaming Amoeba release pending???

  4. Fuck. This is perfect.

    Concentrated, solid, not an extra syllable, it cuts deep and true.


  5. Would you be interested in devloping this further? Right now, it is an awesome blog post, both personal and poignant, but it could also evolve into a moving and unsentimental (not saying that it is; i am pretty sure your following me) personal essay. I think there is an opportunity to share the detials of actual events--the tensional of an actual match, the pathos of writing a song--and give us a fuller look at your underbelly.

  6. I agree with Steven, this is already an incredibly deep blog and like Mrs. G said can easily relate to other people. But I would also love to hear how you would depict an actual fight in words because i know the imagery you could use would be great and thrilling.

    I really like this one.