Beating the Boys: My Journey as a Girl Wrestler by Rosey Hernandez As one of the wrestlers featured in Girls Pinning Boys: a History and Evolution of High School Wrestling, I am deeply humbled by the attention that the match has received and the impact that the lessons learned have had on other girl wrestlers. …
All of the other wrestlers looked so much stronger and experienced than I was. My mindset was “just don’t get pinned”. I didn’t even allow myself the chance to think I had a possibility at winning. My matches came up and although I lost all of them that day(besides a forfeit with one of my opponents not showing up). I walked off the mats with the biggest smile on my face. I had my first real taste of the sport and I couldn’t wait to go again, to try something different, and to get better.
On our very first tournament, we were coached by two of our friends on the boy’s JV team. It felt like we weren’t important enough to even have a coach in our corner. The next week we were asked to clean the boy’s mats because the “girls had to do it.” I had no problem doing so, but it felt wrong. We couldn’t even have a practice without being looked at disgustingly and we had to help clean. I wanted to quit so bad because I didn’t feel welcomed. Just fighting to be on the team, was mentally and emotionally draining.
My father took me to compete in tournaments very often as a little kid. Usually I would beat all the boys and stand on top of the podium. Winning made me proud and I always smiled with my CrAzY socks on.
Soon after that I was on my small high school’s wrestling team. Being a wrestler in a school that’s all about basketball wasn’t easy. The team got smaller and smaller. Some days I would walk into the practice room and have to wrestle someone many weight classes above me. That’s all we had.