By Sue Wambolt, Contributing Writer
A fall volleyball player, Crothers said that she was looking for something different to do in the winter, aiming for an activity that would be a good workout and fun at the same time.
“Once I decided to wrestle,” said Crothers, “it was all I could think about throughout volleyball season, I was so excited for it. I just had this unexplainable gut feeling that wrestling would be a perfect fit for me, and it definitely is.”
When Crothers, the older of two daughters, first told her parents about her plans to join the all-boys wrestling team, they thought she was kidding. After they realized that she was serious, they didn’t know what to think of it. This was something they had never expected. After learning more about the sport and hearing others say how great it was that Sarah was wrestling, though, they began to accept the fact that what she was doing was something very out of the ordinary. Now they are her biggest fans.
As for the coaches, Crothers said that right away, they accepted her joining the team.
“They were a little hesitant at first since this is their first year coaching at Algonquin and they didn’t bargain on having a girl on the team, but they have always been accepting of me and they treat me like I’m part of the team,” Crothers said. “They are really amazing coaches to have.”
The reaction that Crothers has received from opponents (all male) is not always enthusiastic, some making it very clear that they do not want to wrestle a girl.
“I don’t blame them for being intimidated by wrestling a girl, but all I ask is to be treated like an equal to them. I’d much rather lose badly then have them go easy on me just because I’m a girl. At first I didn’t understand why anyone would have a problem with it, then I realized that I didn’t even want to have to wrestle a girl (I never have wrestled a girl). It's just a different experience that coaches can’t really prepare them for at practice,” said Crothers.
As for her teammates, Crothers said that she is treated equal to her male counterparts. As a matter of fact, she feels like the boys treat her better than they treat one another. She added that they make her smile every day.
“I keep up with them every day at practice and I don’t even notice I’m the only girl most of the time,” she added.
Crothers is not apprehensive to wrestle against her male opponents. Any hesitation she has, she said, melts away once she gets on the mat and starts wrestling.
“It's an indescribable and incredible feeling. Everything disappears around me and the only thing I am thinking about is wrestling my opponent to the best of my abilities,” she said, adding, ” It's exhilarating!”
To any female friend who inquires about joining the wrestling team, Crothers says to “go for it!” While practices can be extremely hard and tiring, and there are times when it is very physically and mentally exhausting, she said without hesitation that it is worth it. Crothers has no doubt that she will be back on the mats next winter and is planning to do some off-season wrestling so she can come back better than ever.