I had a chance to spend a little time with the Zamora family last summer at the Moses Lake Wrestling Golf Tournament and I got to thinking about something Pete told me.
A bunch of Zamoras have come through the Chiefs’ wrestling room, but Pete (1995-98) was the first in the family to win a state championship (115 pounds).
“Wrestling teaches us to be better humans,” Pete said. “It’s a sport that’s taught me a lot in life. There’s times in your life when you’re going to get knocked down and it’s how you come back after that that matters. That’s what wrestling taught me, how to come back like a champion.”
The Chiefs wrestling community, the Moses Lake community for that matter, has gone through some tough times the past couple of summers with the deaths of Clayton Clark and more recently Thomas Hamm.
No parent should have to outlive their children, so I can’t imagine what the families are dealing with as they try to move forward with their lives. As I watched the community begin the healing process with a candlelight vigil for Thomas last month, like the one held for Clayton the summer before, I got to thinking maybe we could continue that at the golf fundraiser for the Chiefs wrestling program.
The Moses Lake Wrestling Golf Fundraiser is Aug. 5 at the Links at Moses Pointe Golf Course. Knowing from personal experience, before you can let it go, you have to let it out, and this would be a good chance to gather in support of the families one more time.
Even if you’re not a golfer, show up anyway, like they did by the hundreds for the candlelight walk. Even if you weren’t particularly close to Thomas or Clayton, they went to your school, they’re from your community, they represented your town with honor and courage.
The golf tournament is a fundraiser for the wrestling team, but we could also raise awareness to things far more important than sports. How do we improve the lines of communication? How do we tell ‘em it’s OK not to be OK. How do we encourage young people to reach out when life gets too heavy? We can use this gathering to make a difference in other arenas.
Joey Zamora Jr., a two-time 4A state runner-up and a captain on the state champion 1985 team, is a pastor at Worldwide Christian Center down in Pasco these days. Maybe Joey could share a few words, not so much as a former wrestler and coach, but as a man of God. Sometimes it’s easier to relate to someone outside of your family or circle of friends.
Even if your kid doesn’t wrestle or you didn’t know these two young men, a show of community support in times like this can go a long way to helping a community with its grieving process.
We will forever remember Clayton and Thomas, maybe this golf fundraiser is a way to show that. Maybe we could set up a Clark/Hamm scholarship fund with some of the money, giving some kid a chance to get some mat time during the summer. Not everybody has the financial backing to wrestle year-round or the ability to buy the best gear. A Clark/Hamm scholarship might be a good way to keep the memory going in a good way, that they didn’t leave this world without making an impact.
Maybe we could put those water dispenser jugs out and everybody could throw $5 bucks in. Everybody has $5 bucks, that’s a pack of smokes, a couple of gallons of gas, a Big Mac and fries. We could turn that extra money into the Clark/Hamm scholarship, figure out some way to continue to make a difference even when your heart is breaking.
Yeah, the golfers will golf to raise money for Chiefs wrestling, but I see this as a great way to continue the healing process and a chance for the community, not just the wrestling community, to come together as one and let the friends and family know that we care far beyond the circle.
I don’t know Pete that well, but I was touched by his words.
“Wrestling teaches us to be better humans,” he said. “It’s a sport that’s taught me a lot in life. There’s times in your life when you’re going to get knocked down and it’s how you come back after that that matters. That’s what wrestling taught me, how to come back like a champion.”
Rodney Harwood is a sports writer with the Columbia Basin Herald and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org