“Congratulations, you made it to states. I am so proud of you. I knew you wouldn’t let me down, Kash! ” exclaimed Coach Henderson to me. I always dreamed of being a state champ, but I never thought I would make it this far. This was a big step for me. I had not lost a single wrestling match. I won some tournaments that no other salem wrestler had won in decades. “Go home and rest. you have a lot of work ahead of you. ” I arrived outside my home at five in the afternoon. The winter air felt calm for once, this Saturday. However, when I walked inside I had an eerie feeling.
There was strangely no noise in the house, except the water faucet dripping. Immediately, I shut the water off. That’s when in the utter silence I heard a small scratching noise coming from behind the fridge. Although I was sore, I tried to move the fridge to inspect the sound. The fridge was like a boulder to me. I finally got it to budge. The noise was in the wall. I started to peel away at the paint. It came off in small, white bits. The flakes danced as they fluttered to the ground. Under the paint I saw a small crack. The noise got louder and louder.
Suddenly. he noise stopped and something jumped up at me. A small voice spoke, “Good luck! ” I was dizzy then I blacked out. When I awoke, it was 5:25 PM. I was only out for 10 minutes. Then I checked my phone, it was Sunday! Nothing on my body hurt. I felt normal, but what happened to me? What was that thing? I decided to see a doctor. He did all of his exams. The blood pressure cup squeezing my arm like a hand. The lights in my eyes were like the morning sunshine. The doctor sighed. That can’t be a good sign, I thought to myself. He looked at me slowly and said, “You are as healthy as ever.
Nothing is wrong at all. I can’t explain what happened to you. ” That’s all I needed to hear. My body is good enough to go back to practice. I hope. Practice started the next day. Three days until I have to compete against the best kids in the state. We started practice the way we usually do, we run around the second floor of my school for four miles. when I was almost done with the run I was two laps ahead of the second fastest kid. Then during my final lap, my legs stopped working, I collapsed, and my lungs felt like they were burning. I consistently win the run; I haven’t lost in two years.
What is going on? “What the hell is wrong with you? ” Henderson screamed, “ You are supposed to be leading this team! ” “I-I- I’m sorry. I don’t know what’s goin’ on. ” “Well, you got three days to figure it out. So, get your ass up! ” He walked away. I’ve never seen him so angry. The next time I was in lead of the run I felt the same paralysis. Before, it could affect me I slowed down to second place. The feeling was gone. My body felt healthy again. It’s almost like I’m not allowed to win. Later, we went down to the wrestling room and we played King of the Mat.
This is a game in which one must consistently win in order to stay in the center and keep wrestling, until no one else is left to beat. This was my favorite game to play during practice because I would always win. I made it all the way through the lineup. Only one kid left, Nate, the smallest kid on the team. I was smiling because I was ready to win. My legs froze up. Mobility was beyond me, once again. He immediately took me down quicker than I’ve been taken down. My coach was pissed, “Are you kidding me, Kash? ” I was at a loss of words. While running out of the room, tears flowed. It was a waterfall down my face.
I screamed and screamed. I ran outside. The winter air was cold. The sweat from practice began to freeze and stung my back, arms, and legs. I didn’t care. I heard my coach calling for me from inside. I didn’t move. He came up to me, “You seem to have a mental block. An inner demon per say. You must be afraid of losing this opportunity. ” “I am but, I don’t know what’s going on. Every time I am close to winning I just freeze. ” “Well maybe it’s cuz’ you sit in the cold winter weather. ” We both laughed “Go home. Rest up. You don’t have to practice tomorrow. ” The day finally arrived. I was finally here.
Michigan High School State Wrestling Tournament. The Palace of Auburn Hills was beautifully decorated with many wrestling mats sprawled across the floor. The video they play began. It was a highlight video of past state tournaments. I saw my coach in the video. He inspired me to get here today. I let go of the tight grip on my wrestling bag. Thump. It hit the ground. I removed my sweatshirt and began to warm up. I felt confident as I caught short glimpses of my competition. The sound of the building was a blur of hundreds of wrestlers, hundreds of coaches, and thousands of viewers. The National Anthem began to play.
The room fell silent. I knew this was the last calm moment I would feel all for the rest of the tournament. TWEET! The first match began. There was no reason to be nervous for this kid. He was from Churchill and I beat him earlier in the season fairly easily. The match was over in thirty seconds. I quickly pinned him. There was no way I was going to let some little inner demon hurt me. My second match was a little tougher. I saw this kid wrestle last year; he took 5th place. By the third period, I was winning this match by 13 points. Twenty-five seconds left. The clock was ticking down.
The seconds seemed longer than they usually do. Three seconds left and my body froze again. This kid took me down, He could not gain back enough points to beat me. The referee blew his whistle. By some miracle I had won. My next few matches were very similar. I was barely winning, but I would freeze up right before the final whistle. After my semi-finals match I ran to the locker room. I examined myself in the mirror. My body was fine but my blood vessels were very dilated and I could feel the blood course through them. There was something else too. Something unnatural. The mirror looked back at me.
My eyes seemed lighter than usual. They were almost hazel. Not the regular brown they usually are. When I tried getting a closer look, my eyes became bloodshot. “What the hell? ” I questioned as I backed off from the mirror. I heard a strange noise. Then a voice, “Try all you want, but your despair fuels me. It keeps me alive. ” “Who is that? ” “I’m in your head, Kash! I’ve never had such a glorious host. Your losses are most exquisite. ” The voice was hissing, slimy almost. It was familiar. That’s when I ran to my coach, “Please, help me. I have an,” I would sound silly if I told him the truth, “a mental block.
Henderson told me to close my eyes then said calmly, “Listen, you have to clear your head. Think of only two things. Your ultimate goal and why you want to reach that goal. ” I did as he said. Then suddenly, I ran to the bathroom. I had an urge to vomit. I gagged. It hurt my empty stomach. Dry heathing is the worst. I gagged again. Then on the third attempt. This palm sized creature came out of my mouth. It looked like the thing that attacked me last week. It had devilish horns, sharp teeth, it was a dark grey color, and hairless. I flushed it down the toilet chuckling to myself. “Please! NO!
I NEED YOU! PLEA-” it was gone. At last, I regained my composure. The finals had begun. I felt refreshed. I felt like a new person. My weight class was called to the center mat. This was it. This was my time. I am mentally and physically free. The crowd roared. Henderson smiled. The inner demon was gone. I always dreamed of being a state champ, but I never thought I would make it this far. This was a big step for me. I had not lost a single wrestling match. I won some tournaments that no other salem wrestler had won in decades, including this one. I felt like Alexander the Great as I conquered The Palace.