This question is asked by every above average athlete whoever aspired to be great. Maybe they don’t have the physical or mental gifts to be elite, but they show up every day and work their tail off to be 1 second faster, score 1 more point, get one more win. You don’t have to be a superstar to ask yourself this question. Who am I?? You must wake up, look in the mirror and make a choice. When you learn to answer parts of this question correctly, your decision- making process becomes clearer, your ability to persevere becomes one of your strongest tools. Do I run or sleep? Do I go get an extra lift in or watch TV? Do I take a break or make myself work up a sweat? As soon as you find the answer to these questions, you will answer It the same throughout life. Whether you win or lose, 1st place or last, through good times and bad. It must be the choice that it’s going to make you a better athlete and henceforth a better person.
For Brianna Duncan, a senior, stand-out wrestler for the Woodlands College Park Cavaliers has been asking herself this question since she stepped on the mat back in 7th grade. Following in her older brothers Brandon and Bryant’s footsteps, Brianna (Bri) jumped right in. It was in her blood. Everything Bri did, she did with a maximum effort and total commitment. This was instilled in her at a young age, working in the family-owned restaurant (Jason’s Deli). Her mom and dad, who are the rocks in her life, taught her the meaning of hard work as they led by example. They taught her how to be kind to people and the meaning of accountability.
As we all know, wrestling is a tough sport, it is a process that takes years of training and practice to get good, let alone great. Bri, was not unlike a lot of other wrestlers getting started. She was familiar with the sport as she had been watching her older brothers for years. She was athletic, having played soccer, basketball, and baseball. And, she had the work ethic to be good, possibly even great!! She joined a small club in The Woodlands in 7th grade, coached by her future high school coach Eric Spjut. Although she picked it up quickly, she still took the bumps and bruises that anyfirst-year wrestler would take. Her record that year looked no different than any other beginning wrestlers would. Lots of losing, and not a whole lot of winning. Fortunately, Bri was able to answer a part of “The Question”. Who am I? The answer led her back to mat for Round 2. Things got a little bit better, a few more moves, she got a little tougher, she was in a little better shape. This all equaled a few more wins and Bri’s full-time commitment to the sport. After year two, she now had the wrestling bug. It then became a year-round activity for her.
One of the dreams of any serious high school wrestler, is to stand atop the podium at the Berry Center in February. You lie awake each night and think about every wrestler you need to beat and how you will beat them. You think about matches you have lost and how you will prevent this from happening again. It is a daily dream every day for four years. For most wrestlers, every year you get a little better, a little stronger, and a little closer to your dream. Maybe freshman year you don’t make it out of districts, sophomore year you squeak out of the region and make the “big dance” but go two and out. Junior year you make it all the way to the podium losing a tough semi-finals match. You are there, you are so close, you have analyzed track wrestling to death, every conceivable way (I know there are others out there). You know there is only one way to the top of that podium come February and it includes grinding away every day. Winning and pinning your way through the season to eventually stand atop and bring home that state title you have been yearning to achieve.