My Journey is Finally Over
My Wrestling Journey Is Over In Serbia
I placed 2nd in the Veterans World Freestyle Wrestling Championships in Belgrade, Serbia. I lost to Russia with a position that I should not have been caught with. You can't make mistakes at this level of competition or you get beat. I fell short again, but I'm happy to bring home a silver medal. It's tough to accept the loss, but I must move on with my life. It's not the color of medal that I must look at, but the journey that I've gone through to bring a medal home.
My wife Carrie, my high school coach Mr. Koury, and friend Wes Herrera were with me. I didn't take my daughter Chloe because of the dangerous things happening around the world. It has been an exciting journey for not just me, but for everyone who has been part of helping me accomplish my dream of representing my city, state and country.
My boss Marla Woolsey Hobbs has been instrumental in helping me stay focused. She has given me space and time to finish this unbelievable journey. Tim Hobbs kept me going when times were tough and things weren't going as planned. Every staff member at Marshall Ranch has kept me focused, especially my secretaries. Linda and Joan, you are amazing people. Shelley and Fred Bates helped raise money for me through their church. It's all of you who have given me faith in completing what I started over a year ago. The pressure to finish was overwhelming at times, but all of you helped me stay focused in one way or another. Thanks for the support.
This wouldn't have been possible without three great doctors. Dr. Robert Saide who always kept me healthy, my surgeon Dr. James Davidson who did two great surgeries on my shoulders and my physical therapist, Dr. Paul Nelson who made me work hard and recover over the last four years. I couldn't have done it without these guys. Canyon Orthopaedic Surgeons is the best.
This has affected so many people, especially my family. It's difficult for everyone to understand the pressures that go into training. My brother Ruben and Nephew Gabriel have been in the wrestling room helping me stay focused at every practice. They have seen me do this for many months. They motivated me in a silent way by just watching me workout. They didn't have to say anything to me. They just gave me reassurance by just being there. My father watched a couple of workouts before he passed away in January 2014. He knew what I was going through and I appreciate his faith in me. He and my mother got to see me in the front row seat from heaven.
Davita Solter, Steve Gillette and every teacher I've ever had were on my mind every day during my workouts. I know it sounds crazy, but all my teachers gave me a sense of direction when I was running at 4:30 A.M. every morning. I kept my eye on the prize because of what I've been taught by each and every one of them. It's my teachers who deserve the credit of making me believe in myself and the possibilities of what an education can do. If any teacher has questioned themselves about affecting a student in a positive way, I'm living proof that they have. They believed in me and I just listened to what they taught me. They gave me the ability to dream. I can't tell you how much I appreciate each and every one of my teachers. Thanks for your support!
The City of Peoria has always been important to me. It's my home and this will never change. Carlo Leone and Tony Rivero helped me out this year. Thanks for your financial support and belief in me. These two city council members, community organizations and people from our city and state have always helped me if I needed it. I thank each and every one of you for your prayers and financial support.
Every person who donated money to help me finish my journey to Belgrade, Serbia is appreciated very much. I have received hundreds of emails wishing me luck and giving me financial support in finishing my dream. It's all of you that I must say boosted my morale when times were hard. Every penny helped me and my wife get to the World Championships and I will never forget this fact.
A special thanks goes out to the following people:
Every Marshall Ranch Teacher, Every Ira. A. Murphy Teacher, Every person who came out to the fundraisers, Tim and Rachel Haverluck, Dany and Becky Seymore, Katherine Baskett, Armando and Mary Macias, Aaron and Carol Parish, Miguel A. Badillo Jr, Brian Heuett, Gabriel and Kathleen Chagolla, Eddie Chagolla, Mario and Sokie Chagolla Sr., Joy Chagolla, Sarah Chagolla, City of Peoria-Carlo Leone & Tony Rivero, Sean Seymore, Tracy Scaccia, Davita Solter, Ellen Marin, Lyle and Ellyn Wright, John. B. Whitten, Linda Komada, Daniel Esparza, Pat Burckhard, Jose Esparza, Sonia and Dale Lee, Mary Whitten, Lyle Tolifson, Marla and Tim Hobbs, Bob Crosswhite, Linda and Robert Calderon, Troy Mackay, Michael and Allison Mcintosh, Susan Baron, Irene Salazar, The O'Dell Family, Eto and John Mulcahy, Suzanne and Paul Gilbert, Robert Carey, Paula Bradbury, Gail and Nick Svor, Robert Schunpp and Jill Lantz, Tim and Janet Gilsdorf, Tyree Dillard, Eileen and Dennis Delamater, Glenn Charles, Sue Robinson, Ed Simpson, Wilma Bondeson, Violet Hawk, Ruben Lerma, Jackie Mutchler, Amanda Pribyl Knowles, Robert Carey, Paige and Cody Wilson, Pilar Quezada, Shawn and Shane Marshall, Butler Family Dental, Eric Gardner, Jan and Mike Hennessy, Jan and Manuel Delgado, Tom MacKenzie, The Original Hamburger Works Wes Herrera, Melissa Higdon, Vicki Copeland, Joan and James Compas, Steve Gillette, Amy Rosen, Carolyn McClendon, Gustavo Ortega, Cari Casteel, Cindy Meyer, Amy Pileggi, Amanda Gavette, Christine Wiley, Nadine Yuhasz, Jeff Tenney, Rita's Italian Ice, Olga Ford and Family, Tracy Wright, Lorisa Pombo, Don Wilson and Rick Penny from CCV, Rae Conelley, Thomas and Linda Rains, Aaron Franklin Ballpark Pizza & Subs, Lora Wood, Nancy and Don Chapman, Chad Smith, Kristen White, Rhonda Moffatt, Chad Denney, Tom Flanigan, and Becky Patton.
Thanks to Lee Sanderson from Starting Lineup for helping me with ALL my workout gear and U.S.A. wrestling uniform. You have always been supportive and believed in what I was doing since day one.
Thanks to Tim, Rachel and Taylor Haverluck for keeping my website organized and up to date. You have been with me since the beginning. Thanks for always helping me with whatever I needed on my website. You were always so positive and eager to help. Taylor, I'm so proud of you. You have grown up and are making your parents proud. :)
Thanks to Pablo Rios from Arizona Sports Prep 360 who put me on the radio to spread the news. You interviewed me in 2009 and again in 2014. I appreciate your support and the belief in me. You always did a positive story on my journey. The questions you asked me gave people a great insight on what I was trying to do in my life.
Thanks to Aaron Hancock from Arizona.Wrestling.Com for putting the information on his website. No one else from Arizona/USA Wrestling has ever contacted me to help me or congratulate me for my journey. Aaron, I believe you're the voice of Arizona Wrestling right now and I thank you for your support.
Thanks to the following businesses for their support:
Rita's Italian Ice----5940 W. Union Hills Dr. Glendale, AZ 85308
The Original Hamburger Works----2801 N. 15th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85007
Yogurtini----5870 W. Thunderbird Rd. Glendale, AZ 85306
Ballpark Pizza & Subs----7615 W. Thunderbird Rd. Peoria, AZ 85381
Sole Sports----18583 N. 59th Ave Suite 112 Glendale, AZ 85308
Exhale Bikes---2814 W. Bell Rd. #1475, Phoenix AZ 85053
Thanks to my training partners (Mike Difeclice, Tanner Wright and Monique Flores) for helping me get ready for my journey. It was countless hours of working out when no one else wanted to. You were steady and focused when you worked out with me. I hope I helped you gain some knowledge about wrestling and the dedication it takes to win in such a tough sport. It takes a lot of concentration, time and patience to improve in the sport of wrestling. It's a lonely sport that most people will never understand. David Garcia, Ruben Chagolla, Gabriel Chagolla, Tracy Wright and Elmer Cobos, were the other coaches in the room giving me support. Thanks for the belief you had in me. Also, a big thank you goes out to Phil Camacho and Paul Bower for letting me workout at Peoria High School. My wrestling career started in this room. Thanks for your support.
Every former Peoria High School/Sunrise Mountain High School graduate who supported me verbally on Facebook and other areas of our community, I want to thank personally. Thanks for spreading the word about me fulfilling my dream. I will always be grateful! Becky Patton helped out by getting the message out to our community. I owe you a lot for your help!
Thanks to Brandi Aguilar from Ortho Arizona for helping my story get out to the public. You kept my story alive in Arizona. Thanks to Dustin Sheffield and Natalie Little for creating a video of my journey. It gave people a different view about me and my past history. Thanks to Richard Prange from Channel 12 news for doing the first story on me this year. A big thanks goes out to Connie Sexton and Darrell Jackson for doing stories in the Arizona Republic and Peoria Times newspapers about me. You gave people an insight of my journey and struggles that I had in my life. Thanks to Heidi Chapp for inviting me to meet military veterans for support in my journey.
Thanks to Mr. Koury my high school wrestling coach who is like my second father. He has guided me in the right direction my whole life. He has given me the ability to learn new technique and how to use it correctly. He has never wavered in his belief in me. Without his help and guidance I wouldn't be here today. It was a blessing having you in Serbia with me. I didn't take off my shoes and retire out of respect for you. I'm not sure what the next plan is, but I'm sure you will be there to support me.
Wes and Pat Herrera, I truly thank you for all your support. Wes, you decided to go to Serbia for this adventure and take pictures of my journey. You saw it all happen! Thanks for always standing by my side in good and bad times in my career.
Alex Ortiz, I appreciate the wrestling shoes and encouragement you have given me throughout my coaching career. I'm happy that you were part of our coaching staff during the successful years at Peoria. I'm not sure if I will be healthy enough to help your son in the years to come, but God will provide.
Thanks to Sue and Jerry Howe for just being there for me. Sue, you flew out to Las Vegas to watch me win my National Championship. It meant a lot to me. Thanks for all your support.
Gabriel Chagolla, thanks for just understanding my dream. Some people didn't believe I could wrestle at my age, but I did. You of all people have actually lived through the tough workouts that I have given to former wrestlers. Thanks for keeping me focused even when I was down mentally. Monique is a tough kid that will go places in her life. I hope she remembers the experience of just working out the right way. She has a bright future ahead of her.
Thanks to Carol and Aaron Parish, for helping us with Chloe when we were gone to Serbia. I know that you want me to stop competing, but God has a plan for me. I don't know what my next adventure will be, but I believe you will support my decision. Thanks for being good parents to your daughters. I LOVE YOU!
Thanks to everyone who has supported me throughout this dream. You have given me the strength to finish things up. Thanks for your support. A big thanks to all those people who came to watch me train on a daily basis. The Calderons (Linda & Roberto) were the biggest fans. They came to every workout for the last 6 weeks of my training. Brian Little, Michelle Schoen, Jeff Schoen, Katie Hubbard, Kim Stanfield, Rosemarie Figueroa, Marla Hobbs, Tim Hobbs, Linda Komada, Alyssa Komada, Janet Gilsdorf, Tim Gilsdorf, James Compas, Sonja Lee, Dale Lee, Mike McIntosh, Tony Bracciale, Wes Herrera, Alex Ortiz, Eddie Chagolla, Carrie Chagolla, Miguel Badillo, Davita Solter, Ellen Marin, Heidi Chapp, Pam Randel, Aaron Parish, Brandy McIntosh, James McIntosh and Armando Macias were also there to support me through some workouts. If I have forgotten anyone, I'm sorry. I owe so many people for being part of my success in life.
A special thanks to my wife Carrie and daughter Chloe. Carrie you have seen me go through some tough workouts. You have seen me sweat and even cry at times because of the journey. You have even seen me get beat by some of the best. Thanks for the emotional support. I believe everything pays off for those who believe. Chloe you have continued to inspire me to finish up the goal. I hope you have learned that anything is possible in this world. I want you to remember that GANAS is more important than talent or ability. Without desire you have no determination to be successful. I hope you will read this later in life and understand what dedication is all about. Remember that you can do anything in life... if you want it bad enough. You just have to believe it can be done. I love both of you with all my heart. Thanks for giving me space when I needed it. My workouts took a lot out of me during this journey. I tried very hard for it to not affect our time together. Without you this wouldn't have been possible. You supported me everyday. You now understand the dedication it takes to accomplish what most people think is impossible. You helped me finish up my dream of wrestling again. May God continue to bless our family.
"Six minutes of pain...is worth a life time of glory."
Sam Chagolla 2014 Silver Medalist Veterans Freestyle Wrestling World Championships