An absorbing account of achievement by a one-legged college athlete who beat the odds and won the 2010-2011 NCAA individual wrestling championship.
In 2012, Robles, who is now an inspirational speaker, was awarded the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance and was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. The author attributes much of his success to the encouragement he received from his mother, who was 16 and unmarried when he was born with one leg. “There is nothing wrong with you,” she told him constantly, a sentiment that has stuck with him. With assistance from Murphy (co-author: The Happiness of Pursuit: A Father's Courage, a Son's Love and Life's Steepest Climb, 2011, etc.), Robles describes his determination in the face of defeat, beginning in elementary school when he stood up to bullies. He played flag football but gravitated to wrestling where he could use his overall body strength more effectively. In middle school, he joined the wrestling team, and a supportive coach helped him develop an individual wrestling style (dropping “down low on the mat” where, he explains, he “was much more dangerous”). Despite his disability, with the help of crutches, he was able to keep up with the rigorously brutal training regimen that was required. Wrestling is a vigorous sport, requiring the exertion of almost every muscle in the body, and it demands mental as well as physical discipline in order to successfully counter an opponent's moves. Robles also describes his experiences with the politics of college athletics.
An inspiring, eye-opening introduction to a sport not to be confused with commercial wrestling.