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What does determination and will look like? Reflecting on one eight-year-olds strength and success.

March 26, 2023 will be a day I remember for the rest of my life. My grandson, MJ, an eight year old wrestler, Demonstrated a strength and determination often seen in professional athletes.

MJ was competing in the OAC Grade School State Championship for the second year. This year he moved to a higher division and weight class.

I soon realized on the first day how much more challenging this group of young athletes was from last year in Division I. Don’t get me wrong, it was tough last year, but this year they are older, stronger, more determined, and have tremendous willpower.

His day one was 1-1. Because of that one loss, he moved to the bottom of the bracket leading into the second day. He needed to win the next five matches to get to third place.

Everyone there cheering him on knew he could do it because of his determination and athletic ability in the sport. Into the second match of the day, we saw him go down. His father and papa were off their coaching chairs and to him.

Later we learned his shoulder twisted around, and he yelled like he never had before with an injury. His father looked into his eyes and said, “son it’s okay to stop.” He went on to tell him he was a winner no matter what in his eyes.

This is when he dug deep into his soul and found the will and determination to tell his father,” no, I can do this.” With tears in his eyes throughout his match, he won. He went on to win the next three matches to get into the finals and took third place.

You always hear about these young athletes’ will, strength, and determination, but seeing it in person (and for it to be your grandson) takes on a fresh look.

Athletes of all ages are exceptional. They have an unspoken natural talent, and there is no stopping them when it is a passion.

Check out IMG Academy’s top 12 things all successful athletes demonstrate. I believe every one of these traits holds in every athlete, no matter what age.

Photo Credits: Author, Candy Collins

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