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Wrestling to glorify God

Senior wrestler shares how his faith expands through wrestling

VICTORY%3A+Competing+for+the+Rebel+wrestling+team%2C+senior+Sam+Hansen+wins+his+match+against+an+opponent+from+Lebanon.+While+Hansen+has+found+much+of+his+success+from+wrestling%2C+he+attributes+his+achievements+to+a+strong+faith+life.%0A%0A
VICTORY: Competing for the Rebel wrestling team, senior Sam Hansen wins his match against an opponent from Lebanon. While Hansen has found much of his success from wrestling, he attributes his achievements to a strong faith life.

VICTORY: Competing for the Rebel wrestling team, senior Sam Hansen wins his match against an opponent from Lebanon. While Hansen has found much of his success from wrestling, he attributes his achievements to a strong faith life.

VICTORY: Competing for the Rebel wrestling team, senior Sam Hansen wins his match against an opponent from Lebanon. While Hansen has found much of his success from wrestling, he attributes his achievements to a strong faith life.

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Time is running out, and the match is not looking up for the Rebel wrestler. Sweat is dripping down his face as people in the stands rise to their feet. Only a few seconds remain when the Rebel wrestler is pinned, bringing a sense of defeat that washes over the wrestler.

For senior Sam Hansen, when this feeling arises, he looks to God to help him back up. Hansen knows that God is watching over him and recognizes all of his hard work and dedication.

Hansen is the type of person who puts his faith before everything; he wrestles to glorify God. Hansen has been wrestling for Roncalli for four years, is a member of the band, serves as student council co-president, and acts as a peer mentor in the A Promise to Keep program. With all of these commitments, Hansen spends his free time training extremely hard to be the best.

Hansen, along with the rest of the Rebel wrestlers, spends his time at practices running, shuffling around and attempting to do handstands as he begins to warm up. The actual practice involves repeating different moves for two to five minutes a piece and then moving on to what the team calls “live wrestling”, where they practice those moves on each other.

The team works hard in the wrestling room so they can put that effort onto the mats in a match.

With wrestling being such a violent sport, a question arises: How can a young man can take a sport that involves pinning his opponent to the ground and transform it into a way to glorify God?

Overall it’s not violence–it’s control,” Hansen said. “You have to shake hands after the match. I always pray before my matches, and I do the sign of the cross. I place all my trust in God to take away all my worries, so I am able to focus on my event.”

Being able to put his trust solely in God helps Hansen while competing on the wrestling mat or going through the motions of life.  To Hansen, prayer helps ease his minds before a match. But the hardest part, he said, is looking toward God after a match, especially when the results are not in his favor.

Some athletes say they want to glorify God,” Sam’s dad, Mr. Joe Hansen said, “but when things don’t go their way, they lose it or throw a fit.  Sam has always had this sincere desire to please God through his effort, and not necessarily through victories.  That is what I enjoy most–watching his deep love of God being shown through his effort and attitude.”

Hansen plans to take his wrestling career to college next year. The sport is an enormous part of his life, and he has dedicated his high school career to training and hard work.  Because of this, one would only assume that Hansen would want to take that hard work to the collegiate level.

However, Hansen also plans to firmly look into the call of the priesthood when he enters college.

“I’m at a point where I’m looking at the priesthood,” Hansen said, “but I also want the college experience. I’m going to major in finance, so if I don’t become a priest, I’ll have a solid degree, but I’ll be able to use [that major] for the priesthood [if I do].”

Along with training for wrestling, preparing for college and being involved in many extracurriculars, Sam has dedicated part of his time to attend Eucharistic adoration once a week. He says that one of his goals is to go weekly and to open up his experience to anyone that wants to come with him.

“I like to [attend adoration] more with other people,” Hansen said, “but it is a very loose [setup].”

Hansen has posted numerous pictures on social media, sharing when he is going to adoration and inviting others to join. His last meeting was on Friday, December 8 at Our Lady of Greenwood parish.

For Hansen, this is just one component of his faith life, just one component of his wrestling success, and just one component of his plans for the future.  Hansen has a knack for tying everything together, and he’s made that clear through his simultaneous involvement in many extracurricular activities, especially wrestling.

As he makes plans for college, Hansen hopes to make both wrestling and faith a priority.  To him, one without the other is something that he’s just unaccustomed to–they will always be working on each other, leading Hansen to a successful and faith-filled life.

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