Hatter Pride: DHS Grad Recalls 'How Danbury Wrestling Defined My Life'

DANBURY, Conn. — Ryan Peterson, head coach of the Danbury Wrestling elementary team, is recruiting new members.

Danbury Wrestling is recruiting elementary school students for its program.
Danbury Wrestling is recruiting elementary school students for its program. Photo Credit: Contributed

Zach Tepper, a 2013 Danbury High grad, wrote the following piece about how Danbury Wrestling defined his life.

"It’s difficult to describe what a significant influence Danbury Wrestling has had on my life. It would be an understatement to say that it merely shaped my life; in fact, it has defined it.

"I began wrestling in the first grade at the age of 6, I am now 22 years old and although my wrestling career only just came to an end this past year with college graduation, I look back on my experience as a part of Danbury Wrestling with nothing but appreciation.

"Danbury Wrestling is full of coaches who inspire children to grow morally, to understand the difference between physical and mental barriers and to push beyond these barriers to form a stronger sense of self efficiency. I will never forget the moment I looked up to Coach Jeff Jennings, with tears streaming down my face, after being tossed around for the entire first period of a match. He looked at me and he knew I wanted to quit. He squatted down on one knee and looked me square in the eyes and said, 'You did not train this hard to let him throw you around like that, and you did not train this hard to just quit. Do you want to win?' Up to this point in my 8-year-old life, I had never felt more like an adult. I wiped away my tears, nodded to Coach Jennings and walked back onto that mat determined to win that match.

"Never before had I swallowed my apprehension and pushed past an imposing mental barrier and my mentality in the face of challenge has forever been strengthened. I, along with hundreds of other Danbury Youth Wrestlers, have an amazing coaching staff to thank for that.

"Danbury Wrestling is also full of other athletes who became unfaltering friends and the closest thing to second family to me. Wrestlers share a bond forged through hard work and mutual sacrifice; two wrestlers share an unmatched level of appreciation for one another and a network of others who feel the same way. The best friends that I have ever had are still the wrestlers I grew up with. We shed blood, sweat and tears together. I may not have seen some of them for years, but I can count on them and they can count on me. We are family to this day.

"Finally, wrestling as a sport fosters a different type of worker. I would suggest that there is no other sport for a young athlete that breeds a more disciplined work-ethic. The Forbes’ article 'Why Wrestlers Make the Best Employees' expands on this point. “Once you have wrestled, everything else in life is easy” – Dan Gable.

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