Delaware Valley Regional High School
wrestler Bobby Stevely shows power of perseverance
The Express-Times, by Brad Wilson
March 09, 2010
After Bobby Stevely lost in the 125-pound final of the NJSIAA individual wrestling tournament here Sunday, a reporter asked the Delaware Valley senior, “How does a wrestler who doesn’t even qualify for states his junior year make it to the state final the next year?”
A little earlier in the day, a longtime Garden State mat fanatic had commented: “Stevely in the finals! Can you believe that?”
Yes, actually I could — because I’d heard the answer to both queries the night before after Stevely’s semifinal win and the night before that after his quarterfinal victory.
“Bobby made a complete and total commitment in the offseason,” Terriers’ coach Andy Fitz said. “He did everything there was to do in the offseason. He lifted his tail off, lifted religiously.”
Stevely may only weigh 125 pounds or so but about 99.99997-percent of that is muscle. Looking at his cut, ripped physique, you could imagine Charles Atlas experiencing an attack of sheer jealousy.
Asked if he looked so powerful last year at this time, Stevely smiled and shook his head.
“Nothing like it,” he said. “I lifted three or four times a week between the end of last season and the beginning of this season. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. If I hadn’t lifted like that, some of my moves where I have been able to overpower people wouldn’t have worked.”
Add in wrestling 60-70 bouts in the not-quite-well-named “offseason” and the picture becomes quite clear: Stevely found a way, willed a way, to become better. He knew there are no shortcuts along the road to Atlantic City, and he’s shown how others can take the same path.
“Bobby’s success sends a message about perseverance and sticking with it,” Fitz said.
You bet it does.
Stevely’s story also shows why wrestling can be, at its best, the most democratic of sports.
You don’t need to be 6-foot-10. You don’t need to be 300 pounds. You don’t have to do the 40 in 4.6 seconds, have perfect hand-eye coordination, or be able to jump high or long to succeed, even dominate, on the mat.
Sure, being a good natural athlete helps. But mental toughness, dedication, work ethic, commitment, passion, pushing on to that last set of reps even though your legs ache and shoulders hurt and you’d rather be on the couch with the TV on — they all matter a lot more.
They are how North Hunterdon’s Jack Delia went from 4-18 as a freshman to 37-1 and the state finals as a junior. They are how Stevely lived his lifelong dream of making a state final.
Those kinds of tools are available to anybody. You just have to pick them up and use them.
And when you do, this, in Stevely’s words, is the reward available:
“When I walked on the floor during the parade of champions, I knew I had met my goal, I had placed. But it didn’t hit me that I was in the state final until I had warmed up and ran out for my match — ‘Oh my God, this is it, they announced my name, I must be here; I have been wrestling all my life and this was the biggest dream I had ever had and I was here.’ Honestly, at that moment, whether I won or lost, I would have been happy either way, just being there.”
Bobby Stevely didn’t win his state final. But he won the fight to get there — and he showed how others can too.
Wrestling & Football
Check out the great article from the Courier News about wrestling and football working together in NJ high schools.
<-----Click on “Wrestling / Football” to read.