Jerry was trying to convince his friend, Steve, to join the wrestling team. “You would be a natural at it,” Jerry said. “You’re quick and you’re smart. Besides, we don’t really have anyone in your weight class.”
“But I am going to be a sophomore, and I have never wrestled before,” Steve replied. “I would be going up against guys that are older and have wrestled most of their lives.”
“I think that wrestling is not as much about skill and experience as it is about getting inside your opponent’s head,” Jerry said.
“What do you mean?” Steve asked.
“It’s all a game of intimidation,” Jerry replied.
“Look at me,” Steve said. “Do I look intimidating?”
“It’s not really how a person looks,” Jerry replied. “It’s more in how they act.”
That really intrigued Steve. He had already shown talent in football, and the thought of taking on the challenge of wrestling fascinated him. But the thought of playing mind games with an opponent made it irresistible.
Steve showed up at practice, and Coach was happy to have him add some depths to the middle weights. And even though Jerry weighed quite a bit more, Steve and Jerry worked out together so Jerry could coach Steve on the finer points of the mental game.
When it came time for the first match of the season, Steve and Jerry had things all worked out. Jerry already had a reputation as a tough wrestler, and was well known by the opposing team. When they went to warm up on the mat, Jerry and Steve made it look like Steve was really whipping him. The two knew it was working as the opposing team members were pointing at them and whispering among themselves.
When they finished with their warm up, Jerry walked over to the opposing team and went to the wrestler Steve would be wrestling. “Hey. Be careful wrestling him,” Jerry said, pointing to Steve. “He can be a bit dangerous.”
“What do you mean?” Steve’s opponent asked.
Jerry leaned close, glanced around nervously, and spoke in a whisper as if he was afraid someone might hear him. “Look, I shouldn’t be telling you this. But he was recently released from lockup for beating up a bunch of guys.”
“Really?” Steve’s opponent asked.
Jerry nodded. “Yeah. Don’t let his size fool you. He’s mean. I hear there were six of them, and he took the whole bunch.”
“Thanks for telling me,” Steve’s opponent said.