6 Minutes Wrestling with Life
In every loss there is a lesson that you need to learn, and one by one when you learn the lessons they will all come together to make you a man.
The reward that you seek, may not be the reward that you receive... More
When the toughest challenge of his life struck, JohnA Passaro understood.
He had been bitter. He had stayed away from wrestling – no participating, coaching or even following what was going on in the sport. After all, he had spent six years doing far more than he was asked. And then his dreams of county and state glory ended when he was injured and didn’t make the podium at the Suffolk County tournament for William Floyd High School.
“I remember putting everything I had into it – total dedication, total discipline,” Passaro said. “If it was an hour and a half practice, I stayed for two and a half. If we were supposed to a run a mile, I ran three. My goals were to win leagues, win counties and win states. I damaged some ribs in the league tournament as a senior and didn’t even place at Counties. I lost to a kid who I teched earlier in the year. I couldn’t believe it. I asked myself what the heck I did everything for. I hated wrestling for a while; I probably avoided it for 17 years or so. I wanted no part of it. I felt like it wasn’t worth it – I did everything I should do and felt like I got nothing out of it. Of course, I was wrong.”
While he slowly changed his mind and got back into the sport with sons Maverick and Travis, it was when his daughter Jess was suddenly rushed to the hospital with a brain injury in 2009 that he realized wrestling gave him the tools he needed to face a foe more powerful than ever before.
“I never realized what wrestling meant to me until I had adversity,” Passaro said. “It just kicks in and you go into wrestling mode. You block everything out, you figure out what the obstacles are and figure out how you will overcome each one. There are setbacks and you work harder. You work as hard as you think is possible and then you have to work harder again. It’s about constantly moving forward and not listening to the noise around you. The biggest thing about wrestling is that you always reach a point when you’re on the mat with someone better than you. You have to find a way to win anyway. Life is the same way. There are things bigger than you; my family was faced with an opponent much bigger than us. You still have to come up with a plan to win. You realize you have the ability to take yourself to levels you never thought possible.”
In his book, Passaro brings it all to life, telling the tale of what can happen when a family believes and sacrifices, even in the face of unlikely odds. It details the battle Jess and the Passaro family had (and have) in dealing with significant illness and talks about the trials and triumphs of sons Maverick and Travis, both All-State grapplers in New York.
We don’t want to give away too much because the book is worth reading. It pulls no punches and will move, touch and inspire. You’ll feel the power of the story.