Push Through, Have Faith
By Bill X. Barron – RMN Events Writer
Three years ago, on November 6, 2014, Paul Garcia visited a friend in a Colorado hospital a day before competing in the RMN Monster Match. Paul loves their opening light show and “everything that is unique” about RMN. But for him this annual Halloween weekend trip now has a special meaning. His friend passed not long after Paul’s bedside visit; thus, while wrestling for Robert that day, he had his best showing ever in this event. Yet the awards have never been about him; each year since, Paul visits Robert’s mom, leaving these mementos with her, reaffirming that her son’s life lives on through the spirit of this special young man.
Even those who know Paul well may be surprised by this action, as Paul seeks no fame or Facebook recognition. When Paul told his favorite athlete, Marlon Lucky, that he wanted to be just like him, Lucky admonished: “Don’t try to be like me or anyone else. Be better and always be yourself.” Thus, Paul now aspires to “be my own role model.” In the future Paul sees himself as a coach and an official, but for now he follows his mother Celeste’s lead in being “a fan of any kid who goes out for the sport.” She continues: “Wrestling all takes place in a contained moment: some break, others come back stronger. Because they wrestle, we celebrate our opponents even when they beat us.”
This July while training for the Cadet Nationals, Paul heard echoes of his mother, as well as a similar doctrine from his Scottsbluff, Nebraska club coach, Brian Adams. Coach Adams “tells me how it is. If I am doing a move wrong, he tells me.” He’s also a “life coach” who taught Paul “the difference between being hurt and being injured. Last summer I hurt my knee while preparing for Fargo. When I was feeling sorry for myself, his message to me was to push through it. I still competed and learned to have faith in myself.”
As much as wrestling is a physical endeavor, Paul appreciates that “mentality is everything. Wrestling has matured me at an earlier age. It has taught me that if I do not maintain my focus, I can break. Wrestling has taught me to push through; nothing else teaches you that like this sport. I look forward to RMN Events because I always meet and compete against different kids, experience different cultures, and encounter new techniques. Wrestling needs to be fun. Always be a good sport. Never underestimate your opponent.”
Despite his competitive nature, what his father Michael values most in Paul is that “he is very caring about his teammates, encouraging those who might otherwise quit.” Instead of hanging out with the better athletes, “Paul is always with the kids who are struggling.” In fact, due to his leadership, many youth wrestlers have followed the now freshman Paul to be part of their 3rd-ranked Scottsbluff (NE) High School team.
Mom Celeste serves as weekday chaperone who delivers him for an early 6 am conditioning workout, then picks him up at 7-8 pm after the afternoon technique practice. Just as importantly, she is a longtime admirer of Paul’s quiet heart. Not only does “Paul takes time to work in a soup kitchen,” but he also “buys shoes each year for those wrestlers who cannot afford their own.” While he pursues excellence on the mat, Paul also maintains a 3.8 GPA while enrolled in all honors classes. Often that means that homework takes priority over socializing with friends while at the team hotel. Maturity is not just another buzz word for Paul.
While he is now committed to working harder than his opponents, Paul began the sport ten years ago not at all like the physical specimen he is today. For those who believe success comes naturally, Paul is evidence of the sport’s character: nothing and no one ever defeats you, if you only allow it or him to make you even stronger. With Paul, while his wrestling takes place in a 28-foot circle – his selfless perimeter of influence extends to friends, teammates, and the surrounding community where his unmistakable impact is the true measure of the role model he has already become.
Paul Garcia-NE (L), in Lee Pamulak National Duals Iowa
Paul Garcia-NE refereeing at one of the local tournaments. Some of the best mat time ... just having fun.
Paul Garcia-NE, High School Triangular #113 (Gothenburg, Lexington and Scottsbluff)
Rocky Mountain National Duals 2016, Paul Garcia NE vs. Max Black CO. That weekend he wrestled for the Jr High POWA (his team way from home) and with Nebraska Blue High School Team.
Wizard Duals. Head Coach James Miller; Assistant Coach Brian Adams and son Colton (4X Nebraska State Champ) watching Paul Garcia (Scottsbluff, NE) pin his opponent.