Wolf Pride Lax

TENACITY

tenacity-large

Virtue of the Week

TENACITY – the strength to grip onto a goal and refuse to give it up.

 

NOT REGULAR AT ALL

Anthony Robles came into the world with one leg. But that didn’t make him different. Not to Anthony’s parents. He was born the way he was born. Missing a leg? That wasn’t different. That was life. And so the Robles family adjusted to their oldest son’s life by having him fitted with an elaborate prosthetic that allowed him to walk despite being born without a hip bone on his right side.

His father, Ron Robles, was into power lifting and had a weight set in the garage, and Anthony wanted to lift weights, too. Ron said no, Anthony, you’re too young. It wasn’t the leg — it was his age. So one day Ron was resting between sets when he heard someone breathing heavily. It was Anthony, on the floor, doing pushups. Today he can do pushups until he loses count. When you are born without a leg, you compensate with your arms, which become like legs. They become thicker, stronger, that a regular kid’s arms.

But then, what’s a “regular” kid, anyway? Anthony was a regular kid. He played football with kids his age, and he tagged along with the older kids. And so there was Anthony in the eighth grade, tagging along with an older cousin on the high school wrestling team, when he hopped onto the mat and started rolling with a team member.

And right then it became apparent that Anthony Robles wasn’t regular at all. He was different: He was gifted, almost supernaturally so, at wrestling. All those supposed weaknesses that come from missing a leg, well, those became strengths on the mat. Hi upper body was enormous for his size. So was his strength. And his grip? “That kid has a super grip,” Judy Robles says. “He’s always had that. Once he latches on, he’s not letting you go.”

“That’s what I love about wresting — whatever your strengths are, you build your style around those. The best wrestler wins. Whoever works harder and wants it more is going to win. Everybody’s going to lose once in a while, it’s just going to happen, but this is a sport where anybody has a chance.”

The first time Robles participated in organized wrestling was his freshman year of high school in Mesa, AZ. He finished sixth in the city. As a sophomore he was sixth in the state. He won titles as a junior and senior, going a combined 96-0, and capped his high school career with the 112-pound title at the 2006 High School Senior Nationals and earned a scholarship to Arizona State.

RoblesAnthony Robles is as unconventional as it gets. He bench presses 300 pounds, enormous for someone who weighs 125. That would be like an NFL linebacker benching 600 pounds. Impossible. Robles can do 50 pull ups on command, and he can flip upside down and walk on his hands back and forth across the wrestling mat.

And he can do greater things. A woman approached Robles as he was hanging out with his parents after a match. This woman, this stranger, was crying — and because she knew ahead of time she would be crying, she had a hand-written note already prepared. Robles read the note and excused himself, going up into the crowd to speak for several minutes with a teenage boy. When he came back, he handed his parents the note.

“It said (the woman’s) son had been fighting cancer and had to have his leg amputated,” Judy Robles says. “Anthony had inspired him to wrestle.”

In Robles’ final year of eligibility, he went undefeated, going 36-0 on the year, becoming a three-time Pac-10 champion defeating Jason Lara from Oregon State in the final, and a national champion, defeating the defending 125 pound NCAA Champion, Iowa’s Matt McDonough 7-1 in the final. For his efforts, Robles was voted the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler.

The 5’8″ Robles concluded his Arizona State wrestling career with a record of 122-23, a three-time Pac-10 wrestling champion as well as a three-time All-American. Robles ranks 8th for most match wins by an Arizona State wrestler.

THINK ABOUT THIS

What is the “disability” of our team, like Anthony’s missing leg?

How can we make this our strength?

 

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