Hopewell Wrestler Garet Jordan: The Good Stubborn
By DANIEL PARKER
Aug 16, 2017, 15:29
Left Garet Jordan stands next to his fellow wrestler Ethen Hill.
It was hard for the other athletes on the Blue Devils team to be complacent around former Blue Devils Wrestler Garet Jordan, team captain of the Hopewell team for four years. He had been in a car accident, and despite some serious injuries worked his way back to the mat. He had strained shoulder muscles from a match, went through physical therapy and got back to the mat. The former Blue Devils Wrestler was the good stubborn and even when he was out, he stuck in helping his fellow teammates.
“He’s stubborn in a good way – it takes a certain amount of stubbornness with any kind of endurance sport,” said Blue Devils Coach Rich Halas. “You are putting your body through things it doesn’t want to go through.”
The passenger side window was bowed out from the impact of Jordan slamming forward, after the car hit a tree and bounced back onto the road. Jordan yelled ‘WOAH’ when he saw the car he was in was drifting towards a sign on the side of the road. The driver over-corrected and the car swerved off the road, cleared a ditch and BANG!
At 55 mph the car hit a tree and bounced back onto the road. Jordan and the other passengers immediately got out while the engine was smoking. With glass in his hair, the HHS student was walking around on the scene when Emergency Medical Technicians arrived.
“I was joking when they came to the scene, and I was talking the whole time asking if the tree was O.K.,” Jordan recalled.
He told the medical professional that he thought he was bullet proof until tonight when he was put on the stretcher. The EMT replied, “you don’t know how many times I’ve heard that before.” When he arrived at the hospital the ramifications of the accident hit him: what about wrestling, Jordan thought. He was diagnosed with a concussion and for two weeks had to stay home. When he was back in school the lingering affects of the crash were still there.
“I know I had flunked one test and then I got myself together, but I couldn’t remember anything during the test,” he explained. “Everybody was saying I looked spacey, that I slurred my speech when I came back.”
Jordan was back on the mat wrestling after a month with an 8 to 2 record. It was senior night for Prince George High School, and the star spots man was on the mat with a sizable lead over his opponent. The Blue Devils Wrestlers had beaten him before and he was on his way to beat him again. Jordan went to throw his opponent down but his rival corrected and threw him to the ground.
“I yelled shoulder, shoulder,” Jordan remembered.
The match stopped. When an injury takes place, a 2-minute break is required. A doctor clears the injured athlete than a trainer steps in and does an assessment. Jordan passed the tests, but Coach Halas could tell Jordan wasn’t himself. The Blue Devils Coach had to make a call: does he pull his athlete out of his last match or does he put him back in?
“He had such a significant lead, I knew it was important to him. I also knew it would be his last match of the season,” Halas looked back on trying to make the right decision. “If he showed he was getting worse I would have to stop it right there. It was a very difficult choice ... It’s horrible to be pulled from a match that you’re winning.”
The Blue Devils wrestler was put back in and he won the match, but his season was over.
Now he was in physical therapy lamenting over his injury. What went wrong? That was the question and former Blue Devils Wrestler Jordan wanted to find the answer.
So he sat with his father in the basement and dissected the video of his match at Prince George High School. Something had to be wrong; a mistake caused his injury that ended his junior year season at least that’s what Jordan thought at the time. He replayed the footage from the match 18 times: pausing, rewinding, replaying and putting the tape in slow motion.
“I had to explain myself to somebody, but my Dad told me ‘you did everything you could,’ he was giving me uplifting words,” the Virginia Commonwealth University student said. “I was being critical of myself because it was an obsession, I kept asking myself if I did everything right why did this happen?”
As Jordan put it, he was knocked down, he got up and then he was knocked out. First a car accident and then an injury, he was frustrated with physical therapy wanting to get back on the mat.
“It’s very easy for kids to walk away and give up,” said Halas. “I went through an eerily similar experience myself my senior year when I had a broken sternum. It’s awful when you want nothing more to compete and you can’t; it’s easy to throw yourself a pity party and stay at home.”
But Jordan didn’t buckle instead his stubbornness kicked in. He refused to wear the sling given to him by a doctor. Coach Halas told him that wearing the sling would have sped up the process and that the wrestler was walking a fine line between being tough and being stupid.
He was expected to be in therapy for three months but didn’t go during the last three weeks. At his last appointment he was doing deep climb pushups and different extensions. The remainder of his physical therapy was optional.
“It was an agitating humbling experience. I let the spotlight shine on other people,” said Jordan. “I decided to start really figuring out what really mattered.”
Jordan worked with the other wrestlers on the team while he recovered and began to work on things besides wrestling like his relationships.
When senior year swung around he was hungry to back on the mat and prove himself. Things were different though.
When he lost his region match against another wrestler and his senior year came to an end: 27 to 5. Jordan, who is studying mechanical engineering at VCU, wasn’t the hot head from his previous years, he didn’t slam his hand on the mat after a loss and he didn’t throw his head gear across the room. He exhibited good sportsmanship and maturity.
“I’m much more proud of the way he’s able to walk away from a loss and understand what he’s accomplished,” said Coach Halas. “I’m more proud of someone that can do that than someone who can win all the time.”
For Jordan it wasn’t what he accomplished that made him proud. When asked, he listed off the accomplishments of his fellow Hopewell wrestlers.
Hopewell’s Trenton Davis, who during his freshman year made it to the state level.
Hunter Cowden a Hopewell Wrestler that had trouble making the varsity team but will be team captain this year.
“My proudest moments weren’t my own they were when I helped teammates,” said Jordan. “I was more proud of them than myself.”