By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
FARMERSVILLE – The No Child Left Behind wrestling program in Farmersville is gaining momentum both on and off the mat. Juan Jimenez, one of the founding coaches, placed third in the Open Division and Jo’el Avila placed eighth in the Children’s Division respectively at a Greco-Roman tournament earlier in the month.
While, recognition on the mat is great, Jimenez is more concerned on the life lessons he is teaching his students through the sport of wrestling. In a similar way that was done for him.
Jimenez was raised in a household where the family budget was limited at best, but that did not deter him from pursuing his desire to complete in wrestling. Coaches and relatives helped with the expenses to purchase his wrestling cards and tournament entrance fees. The ability to compete had a drastic impact on the direction of his life. He is certain had he not competed, he would have ended up on the streets.
“I grew up remembering everything that was done for me and I wanted to pay it back, but on a bigger scale,” Jimenez said.
Jimenez began the program three years ago with the focus of helping every kid who had a desire to wrestle realize that dream. Through sponsorships such as VF Outdoor Distribution, and the generosity of Team KO for the use of their facility, the program is able to provide the only one-hundred percent free wrestling program in the county. The program provides wrestling cards, shoes, and uniforms. Coaches even give rides to students to and from practices.
The only thing the wrestlers are responsible for is tournament fees.
While in the past it has been difficult to get wrestlers to return the program, Jimenez has managed to entice wrestlers from last year to come out again.
The majority of the ages range from elementary to middle school. This year they also had a couple high school wrestlers.
“They absorb everything I tell them,” Jimenez said. “We try and make some positive changes before they are too set in their ways.”