Adeline Gray: Want to Feel Like a Badass? There’s a Sport for That.

March 11 - Sarah Ashlock

FIRST THOUGHT: Monotasking

Do you ever feel like in the span of seconds, your mind has jumped from one thought to the next? This mind frenzy can either be really good—as in cracking-Morse-code good—or it can be really bad, as in feeling like you’re losing your freaking marbles. I’ve been feeling plenty of the latter. I’m here to say I’ve got no advice for you. (Well, nothing you haven’t heard before.) But I will share that I’m trying out a little experiment: Whenever I recognize that my thoughts or emotions are spiraling, I’m going to pick up a book and read. No folding laundry while watching TV or flipping through Safari tabs, but instead, monotasking. Try it with me, y’all.


Monotasking is nothing new; in fact, it’s a pretty old concept. I imagine the pilgrims churning butter and focusing completely on the butter and what is butter and why does it take so long to churn and, gee whiz, I hope Pa found something during his hunting trip! I digress. Another focused activity besides churnin’? Sports. Today, we’re talking about one in particular: wrestling. Back in 1994, there were just 804 female high school wrestlers, and now, there are 16,562. Get it, girls.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Adeline Gray, American Professional Wrestler

Ideas—both ingenious and dangerous—catch on. Something tells me that the gigantic leap to female wrestlers in the five digits has to do with a girl who knows a girl who knows a girl who wrestles. All it takes is to know that someone like you is out there doing it for you to feel confident in doing it, too. Adeline Gray is one of those women.

Adeline is a 2016 Olympian and four-time world champion. That means she’s tied for the most wins among American women in history. If the only thing you can think of when you hear the word “wrestling” is sweaty high school boys, think again.

Wrestling is in Adeline’s blood. The sport goes back a couple generations on her father’s side, and Adeline joined her uncle’s wrestling team at just six years old. One thing’s for sure: If you’re driven and committed, it can be a worthwhile, gratifying interest and career.

On New Year’s Eve last year, Adeline penned an article for Wrestling Insider News magazine in which she offered some wise women for girls. Forget what you see in the media, what a supposed “perfect” body might look like, she says. Instead, appreciate your body for what it does and can do. Adeline believes wrestling is one of the ideal sports for girls, as it allows all body types.

Good coaches and supportive schools have a big influence on the influx of girls getting interested in the sport. From recruiting girls in pairs (so they have a friend in the practice room) to setting clothing expectations and maintaining a positive and equal atmosphere, there are plenty of ways to include more girls and women on the mat.

Part of what Adeline gained through wrestling and what she hopes other girls will also achieve isn’t a badass physique or gold medals; it’s confidence. That’s what Adeline says will help you no matter what life throws at you, whether you’re a stateswoman, a mother or a corporate boss lady. Adeline continues to use her training to reach new heights, like becoming the first female wrestler to create her own limited edition wrestling shoe. Not bad, Gray, not bad.


Adeline Gray said:

"More than anything, wrestling taught me that if you put forth some hard work, you can have success. That is such a life truth of mine - anything you put time, energy and effort into can lead to some really positive things in your life."

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