As September looms closer and closer and Summer edges further and further away, I am reminded about my move to Calgary and the path I have been steadily marching on ever since I showed up to this beautiful city. Eight years ago I moved to Calgary and was thrown immediately into an intense training environment unlike anything I had ever experienced. It was the Fall of 2007 and the senior women's team was gearing up for the 2008 Olympic Trials. The coaches wanted so fresh energy in the room and I was asked to step in (whilst engaging in Frosh Week at U of C) and be an extra body. The following months I quickly adapted to an entirely new level of intensity in the wrestling room and despite not scoring a point for the first couple months I learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed the process. I didn't attend the trials but I was there on that journey and I remember vividly waking up at 3am that following August to watch my teammate Carol Huynh win a gold medal.
Fast Forward>> Four years later and this time it was Fall 2011. I was finishing up my Degree of Kinesiology and prepping for my own chance to step up and represent Canada at the Olympic Games. I was still young at the time and was ranked 4th in Canada going into the trials. I was familiar with the process but this time I was experiencing it with a heightened level of pressure and personal expectation. It was an interesting experience with wrestling one of my main competitors in the room everyday. Surprisingly, despite the violent intimacy of our sport we kept things civil and pushed one another towards greatness. I came up short at the 2011 Olympic Trials but was honoured to be selected as a training partner and I travelled to London and soaked up every second of my Olympic experience knowing that this opportunity will come again and four years which seemed like an eternity at the time would pass by in the blink of an eye.
And so, over the last four years it has passed by, my memories are organized into sporadic spurts of time, moments of joy and the occasional but most deeply resonating moments of struggle. Especially this past year.
But it seems that September is now slowly creeping upon us and we will once again start this crusade towards December 4th,the Canadian Olympic Team Wrestling Trials. Only one person goes per weight class and from this perspective another four years now seems like a long time to wait. It is just over three months until I step onto the mats and I am more excited than ever about this last leg of the journey.
So many things have changed over the past eight years but the team I will go through this journey with remains the same and (although I'm now slightly more mature and less prone to making bad life choices) I remain my crazy, going after it with everything I got self.
Today in the spirit of this reflection I will end with the quote, "the only time you should look back is to see how far you've come".
Erica Wiebe is a Canadian freestyle wrestler and Bachelor of Arts student at the University of Calgary. Her passion for wrestling and writing combine in the words of this blog, sprinkled with a strong opinion on certain matters and a hint of feminist thrown in for good measure.