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see And that is what we saw this weekend, well Thursday night to be precise, when the most improbable of stars stepped up to the Bakersfield stage and announced his presence. An emphatic victory over the only California wrestler at 220 pounds carrying a national ranking.”

senior | edison

Making An Upset

can i buy gabapentin over the counter in spain In the seminal Netflix documentary, Making A Murderer, filmmakers brought to light the case of Steven Avery. A man once convicted of a sexual assault he didn’t commit, he found himself the subject of a new criminal case: a murder. The gist of the story is that the county, in hopes to discredit Avery, and subsequently his civil case against them, has framed Avery and set him up for yet another crime he didn’t commit. In essence, their actions have “made” or created a murderer.

prasugrel tablets 10mg price To do something like that, pull a project like that together, you would need the right people in the right places with the right knowledge and the right know-how to best utilize those different people and their access to those resources (time, place, and knowledge). Then you would need the right person to act as the vehicle where the implementation of those things coming together can, in reality, play out with effectiveness. In the case of a defendant, he needs to be a person whose guilt would be believable. In the case of Steven Avery, he was such a man.

When it comes to creating a title contender – one that must vanquish the best in the state – many of those same elements must coincide in such fashion that, in that given moment, victory is not only possible but manifest. And that is what we saw this weekend (well Thursday night to be precise) when the most improbable of stars stepped up to the Bakersfield stage and announced his presence: an emphatic victory over the only California wrestler at 220 pounds carrying a national ranking. It was supposed to be Victor Jaquez’s time. His title. Ended. Abruptly. The culprit, Kwabena Watson. Guilty.

From the outside looking in, Watson’s season – ultimately culminating in an 8th place finish – may not have been readily predictable. His school, Edison, isn’t a known wrestling powerhouse. At all. In a Central Valley region of CA, where dominance in wrestling is about as regular as the sunrise, Edison (nee the Fresno city area itself) is not part of that dominance. Clovis schools like Buchanan and Clovis rule the day. Others to the south, like Selma, and to some extent Dinuba, are also very competitive annually. Edison High? Not so much.

THE RIGHT TIME

For one reason or another the CA state finals haven’t been kind to Jaquez. In 2018, then a junior, the Bellarmine Prep star got pinned in the 2nd round by an unranked opponent. He battled back for 3rd. It was the kind of performance that combines high expectations with early adversity while ultimately resulting in impressive determination. Also the sort of thing someone like me would assume would propel a senior season to, if nothing else, not repeat the journey. You live, learn, then apply.

Instead, what seems to have happened was a season full of rather easy wins got Jaquez right back to that #1 spot in the state. His first two matches at Bakersfield went about as smoothly as one would expect: 2 pins, under a minute each. However, that sort of ease can create complacency and when facing someone your equal, or superior athletically, one you can’t just manhandle, do those thoughts of last year creep in? The same source of a season’s long motivation quickly turns to familiar doubt and history has a chance of being made. Against you.

Of course that requires this opponent to recognize the moment when it’s there and to seize upon it. Many times, teams or athletes are close to pulling off improbable wins only to sort of ‘remember who they are’ and fall oh so short. That isn’t Watson. That wouldn’t be this time.

In our conversation, he described his growing confidence as the match went on. “I had him near the edge and started to turn him. They stopped it because we went out of bounds, but I knew I could do it. It was all mental.” A mentality of competitiveness, of survival, forged not just on the mat, not just on the football field where he is even more accomplished, but in the Fresno neighborhood within which he grew up. He’s now thriving.

THE RIGHT PLACE

The Bakersfield stage is like no other for wrestlers in the state. From the size of the facility, to the number of people in attendance, to the stakes that each match carries. The history of the CA state championships here isn’t long, but it is surely a place whose tunnels are paved with broken dreams, varnished by scattered tears. Mike Tyson once said that everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. Replace punched in the mouth with turned to their back.

Many in the crowd gave passing attention to the match as it went underway. With 10 mats going at once, it’s difficult during tournaments to gauge the collective energy and where it is directed. I would guess most thought this particular one required less attention as it would be over soon. Only it wasn’t.

As Watson took Jaquez to the 2nd period, more people started to clamor at the unlikely extension of it. As the battle raged on, it became more apparent that something special was in the works. More and more started to divert their gaze, their cheers, from whichever of the other 9 matches they were watching, to this one. This rising tide. The moment we all wanted, delivered by the hero we all deserved. Edison deserved. With an 8th place finish, Watson became the 2nd state medalist from the school in about a decade.

And for that brief moment when the cheering swelled and the referee’s hand slapped the mat, the energy pushing Watson through that wall – whatever that is – that does hinder many an upset hopeful, for one Thursday night in February, Kwabena Watson made Bakersfield his.

THE RIGHT PERSON

To build up, train, and prepare an athlete for the most arduous tasks, like beating a state ranked #1, coaches need those athletes to be coachable. They need more than simply the desire to achieve, they need the attitude to soak up lessons like a sponge and the discipline to stay the course through the most turbulent times.

That discipline for Watson comes through his lifetime of playing sports, but I would also credit his interest in the guitar. I come from a family of musicians, and within that group are numerous guitar players. I have given it my best shot on multiple occasions. I might blame my short, stubby fingers, along with a lack of dexterity – with my ring finger in particular – as reasons why I struggled to pick up. It never struck me as an “easy” skill to develop – even for those who are good at it. Hours. And hours. I throw it against the wall and go do something else. Others, like Watson, find the precision appealing, comforting. He sticks with it. Discipline.

Success in sports is often about repetition. Drilling. Over and over. Over and over. It’s not for everyone, success. Earning a scholarship to play football at Arizona is not for everyone. Sure, some will say they want that. Most of them say so without understanding the amount of work required. Has to be an easier way. There always is. But that’s not Kwabena’s way, easy. His is dedicated, determined, and unwavering. His is a journey for moments, battles, victories. Easy is weak. He wants more. He’s built for more. This. He’s built for.

The sponge for his coaches’ instruction, the reflection of his family’s faith. Faith in him, in each other, in the greatness at his feet and that is still out there. Hanging. Ready to be plucked.

I’m not sure Kwabena Sr. knew just how his son’s career would unfold when he introduced him to the wrestling mat nearly ten years ago, but he has to be pleased with the results. Pleased with the man he has become. The giants he has slayed and the ones, oblivious, yet to be conquered. Wildcat nation can be assured, Watson is not just coming for the victory, he’s running for it. It’s what he’s made of.

4 thoughts on “Kwabena Watson”

  1. Orlando Balladarez

    I have twin boys that also wrestle and played football kwabena for the last 10 yrs and I’ve seen first hand the this kid grow up to be great young man and leader and without a doubt theirs nothing he can’t accomplish in life. #TIGERS4LIFE #ECITY

  2. Outstanding young man! And even better nephew! I am so proud of you and what you have accomplished. Your journey is not over but just starting, we are in front of you leading, on the side of you hand in hand, and in back of you pushing, we will make it!….. TEAM WATSON! Love you Nephew.

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