He was a man of flesh and blood,
he wasn’t made of rock.
Angel, devil, child - - - a man of ordinary stock.
But somehow he was different - - - true athletes always are,
for though he cursed, and bled, and sweat, he prided in the scar.
They told him to win like a man, no matter what the cost;
so many times he ventured forth; so many times he lost.
And when they turned around, and said, “it’s ok, son you tried,”
he clenched his headgear in his fist, and like a man, he cried.
But from his tears came anger: then, when it ceased to spin,
he rose again, determined that the next time, he would win.
His trembling body strengthened; his heart soared in the sky,
and his darkened soul stood flaming with the fire in his eye.
And so he worked relentlessly; he struggled and he strained.
His conscience whipped him mercilessly for every ounce he gained.
He ran on legs like pistons; his muscled arms grew sore;
he’d tell himself, “I have to,” then ask himself, “what for?”
And then, at last, the reckoning: the final hour was here.
His stomach lightened dangerously, his muscles tensed with fear.
Weak-kneed, he shook the challenger’s hand - - - and then, as one
his instincts gave him power, and his body did the rest.
It suddenly was ended. His body seemed to scatter.
A crowd was cheering somewhere, but to him, it didn’t matter.
One thought was gleaming in his brain - - - a thought that made him smile:
he’d given all he had, and that’s what made it all worthwhile.
He stood and faced his teammates, with pride instead of shame.
He knew not that he’d won or lost, but that he’d played the game.
And some call him the wrestler, and some call him a man,
but he called himself a winner, and the ref held up his hand.