Wisconsin Wrestler With a Surprising and Inspirational Story
Carlos Garcia is one of the best wrestlers in Wisconsin. He became a city conference champion as a sophomore, despite lacking something that people take for granted every day.
"A lot of people thought that I was insane. That a blind person could even step on the mat, let alone wrestle."
Carlos was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer as a baby completely losing his vision at 2 years old.
"I told myself I'd give it a week. After the week I really liked it. The coaches were very supportive, my teammates were very supportive of me so I really liked it and I got into it a lot more," Carlos said.
His friends and family were supportive but Carlos knows expectations weren't exactly sky high going into his first match.
"I felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest so I wasn't really paying attention to anybody."
Assistant Coach Michael Lawton remembers the reaction during that match. "He was guided out by the referee to the middle of the mat. People were asking his teammates 'Is that guy blind? What's going on with that guy?' And they said 'Yeah, that's Carlos.' So pretty quickly everyone was watching that match unfold. Carlos gets a pin, they raise his hand and everyone erupts in cheers."
Carlos also remembers that day. "I was like oh that's great. If I hadn't had such a quick heartbeat I would've loved it especially because they raise your hand. That's the best moment for me, when they raise your hand and the crowd is all cheering."
The medals are just one of the many things Carlos takes away from each match. Wrestling has given him a championship mentality on, and off, the mat.
"It really helps you pursue your goals and realize well I'm in a bad situation here but it can turn at any moment. It really helps me look at the broader picture rather than just the moment. I might be down 10 points but if I throw this guy I can pin him and win the match. That's how I look at life now."