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|U.S. Nationals champion Glenn Garrison hoping persistence, positive approach pays off|
By Michelle Thilges USA Wrestling
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Glenn Garrison's family always compliments him on his matches at tournaments, win or lose. Even if it wasn't a great performance, his family is always saying how well he did and how he did his best.
That is what his family says. Except for his wife, Joey.
"If I wrestle badly, she will say, 'Whatever. You didn't do this. You didn't do that.' She will tell you like it is," Garrison said.
This is different for Garrison, because before they were together, Joey didn't know much about the sport.
"She understands the mental dynamics of wrestling," he said. "She can tell if I'm holding back, if I'm scared, if I'm aggressive or if I'm too aggressive."
Although Garrison said his wife understands the mental aspect of the sport, that is what Garrison is working on; being mentally prepared for every match.
Before wrestling at the U.S. Nationals in April, where Garrison took first place at 66 kg/145.5 lbs., he went through each possible opponent and envisioned the match. Garrison said the purpose of doing that is to prepare for each opponent's specific techniques and how he might counter them.
"I sometimes know who I will be facing the next day. I think about how the match might go. You can't make the match too easy in your head. You have to fight and make it realistic. If I imagine something that is too easy, that defeats the purpose," he said.
Garrison is on the road to making his fourth National Team. He has never been ranked No. 1, but looks to change that this season. He will have to go up against the favorite at his weight class, Harry Lester. Lester didn't wrestle at Nationals, but is expected to compete at the U.S. World Team Trials on June 9-10 in Las Vegas.
The last time the two wrestled was at the World Team Trials two years ago. Lester won the best-of-3 series two matches to one.
"I am aware of everything he does. I feel confident competing against him. I have a game plan and I'm sticking to it," Garrison said. "I'm not going to hold back at the World Team Trials."
National Greco-Roman Coach Steve Faser said Garrison has proven he can win and be in the No. 1 spot.
"Glenn Garrison has been in the hunt for many years," Fraser said. "He is a very talented and athletic athlete who has a great work ethic. This weight class has always been a very strong weight class for the U.S. Glenn has always been one of the guys that could win it all. This year he did just that. He put all his talent and skills together and showed the USA that he is for real."
The 33-year-old wrestler said the one of best things he did for his career was joining the Army in 2001. He has recently re-enlisted for another three years, and plans to continue wrestling through that time. Garrison said if he feels like he does now in three years, he will continue wrestling after that.
"I am young enough to keep wrestling and wrestle with these young guys, but old enough to know that end of the road is on its way," he said.
Garrison plans to teach in high school when he is finished with wrestling. He would also like to coach wrestling.
In everything Garrison does, his family is behind him all the way. His two step-children, Halsey, 22, and Jordan, 17, have grown up with Garrison since they were 14 and 9. Garrison also has a grandson, Gage, who will be 2 in a month.
"The kids always praise me when I do well. But they are also like their mother in the ways they tell me how I did if I get beat," he said.
Garrison recalls one time when he was in a tournament and taking control of his opponent to lift him. Through all the noise, Garrison heard Jordan's voice providing encouragement.
"I could hear Jordan yelling, 'Lift him Glenn.' That gave me a burst of energy and I won," Garrison said.
Garrison's careers has had its share of highs and lows.
"There have been so many matches that I have lost that I shouldn't have," he said. "My career has always gone up and down and it is frustrating for me and my coaches. I have been trying hard these last six months to accept responsibility for my plans and goals. Once I accomplish that, I will be at the height of my career, and wrestling at full potential."
For now, Garrison is looking to keep focused on the present tasks at hand.
"My wife says I always wear rose-colored glasses. I see the world through positive glasses," he said. "I focus on the positives in life."