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Written by Rifat Ahmed
Raymond Adamkiewicz, one of Townsend Harris’s physical education teachers and former wrestling coaches, has left behind him an astonishing career as a wrestler.
Originally a soccer player, Mr. A was introduced to wrestling as a junior in high school by his older brother’s friends who had attempted to recruit him. Although his mom was clearly against his participation, Mr. A. decided to join the team anyway. Fortunately, he enjoyed the competitive nature and comradery of the team, ultimately causing him to stick through it as much as he could. Mr. A’s “late start” in wrestling did not hinder his success at all; He placed first and second in the city in his St. Peters Boys High School career, and qualified for Division III nationals while attending Hunter College.
Many of the struggles that Mr. A faced as an athlete are similar to what the Harrisites face today, with the main struggle being the balance of schoolwork while participating on a team. He regards weight management as one of his largest struggles in college. As a low body-fat individual, it was difficult for him to maintain his weight or cut down to a lower weight class. Despite such obstacles, Mr. A’s love for the sport and team remained prominent, defining his team as “a brotherhood of friends that you have for an eternity.”
THHS did not have a wrestling team initially. However, Ms. Nix had given Mr. A an opportunity to coach knowing that he wrestled in college before. At the time, Beat the Streets, a non profit wrestling organization, was up and coming, with the goal of trying to improve and increase the number of teams. Today, Beat the Streets works with all schools in an attempt to create wrestling programs and improve the lives of students in NYC.
It is well known that Mr. A no longer coaches the wrestling teams of THHS. However, this is not permanent. Mr. A. states that he is on a “coaching hiatus.” Several reasons for his temporary leave include other business pursuits, changes in student demographics and interest, and the over exhaustion from coaching for 18 years. Though many students are unfamiliar with Mr. A as a coach, he “instills the same discipline among students.” Coaching has worked hand in hand with Mr. A’s teaching career.
“I would not recommend this sport to just anyone” claims Mr. A. He feels that wrestling requires an athlete’s will to endure the competitiveness and long hours of practice, and is not suitable for the weak-minded. Not only that, the person must be motivated and dedicated to their team.
Overall, wrestling has made profound changes in Mr. A’s life. He concludes, “Wrestling has taught me to redirect my anger and improve the values of myself and those I coach.” His arduous wrestling career has defined Mr. A for life.