From the desk of Dr. Tuin, THS Principal
January 14, 2022
As our dimly lit cafeteria transformed into a wrestling arena, our male and female athletes took their turns warming up for a league match nestled in the middle of the week. Because of our current COVID situation, both teams gathered without spectators in the relatively small space. Coaches and athletes went about their business preparing for matches slated for the evening. One after another Tiller wrestlers took the mat against their opponent, and in most cases left the mat victorious. Sometimes the match was decided by forfeit due to the lack of an opponent, another noticeable impact of the pandemic. In other cases, our athletes won by a pin or by points. Wrestling is a gritty sport that requires full investment from athletes, not only physically, but emotionally. With the limitations of the current times, it is amazing that our athletes were able to show up so significantly. It is a testament to Coach Seals and his athletes.
Of all the matches I watched on Wednesday, there was one that drew me in closer than any other. The athlete, Victor Sanchez, had earned a spot on the varsity roster, partly out of attrition. Victor has competed for four years in cross county, wrestling, and track. His stature, while fit, is rather small compared to others. Victor doesn’t possess some of the natural abilities apparent in other athletes making a name for themselves in various sports. He also chose to compete in three sports that don’t receive a lot of attention or notoriety. None of that seems to matter to Victor. He shows up, participates, and offers a steady investment of energy and emotional effort. His smile and positive nature permeates his demeanor.
As Victor took the mat on Wednesday evening, his usual smile was noticeably absent as he stepped onto the mat. He showed focus and determination from the first whistle. The ref picked up on his intentionality and warned the other wrestler early in the match for stalling. Over the next 6 minutes, Victor battled against a bigger, longer opponent, often finding himself behind in the score. His commitment to keeping fit and in good condition paid off as his persistence earned him a one-point victory by the end of the third period. As Victor left the mat, it was as if he understood the sacredness of the moment. He may never get another opportunity to wrestle at Tustin High School again due to the season winding down. But for that moment, he experienced facing a formidable opponent and persevering.
Victor’s match somehow seemed related to this week in particular. COVID continues to remain impactful with some students and staff missing school. High School can sometimes be a grind anyway with all there is to do and learn, but the pandemic continued to offer extraordinary challenges, some of it physical, but often mental. I was proud of our students and staff this week for persevering through it all. Like Victor, many showed up to do their best despite challenges and obstacles. It wasn’t a particularly easy week to be a Tiller, but it was still a great week to be a Tiller. Go Tillers!
Dr. Jon Tuin
Tustin High School Principal
A BI-WEEKLY NEWSLETTER ABOUT CURRENT HAPPENINGS IN COUNSELING, BROUGHT TO YOU BY YOUR THS COUNSELORS