Blue Chip Wrestling is a full service wrestling product company located in Kansas City, Missouri. The company was started in 2001 as part of Blue Chip Athletic. We have an in-house art department and printing facility that creates custom wrestling apparel and wrestling singlets. We carry all of the major wrestling brands including, but not limited to, Nike Wrestling, Under Armour Wrestling, Adidas Wrestling, ASICS, Brute, Cliff Keen Wrestling, Matman Wrestling and Kennedy Industries.
Our products include youth wrestling singlets, adult wrestling singlets, custom wrestling singlets, sublimated wrestling singlets, youth and adult wrestling headgear, youth and adult wrestling kneepads, college wrestling apparel, wrestling accessories and cleaning supplies, wrestling mat tape, Nike Wrestling Shoes, Under Armour Wrestling Apparel, ASICS and Adidas wrestling shoes, wrestling t-shirts and wrestling bags.
This is the story of my life-changing moment.
On a cold February night fourteen years ago I was in a dark place. I came home to a cluttered apartment and a stack of unopened mail after working one in a long string of 80+ hour weeks. I opened the door, threw down my bags, and slumped into a chair, exhausted and burned out.
I knew at that moment that something just had to change.
From the outside, it looked like everything was going great. I had a good paying job. I wore a suit to work and traveled to Fortune 500 companies all across the country. I was quickly “climbing the corporate ladder,” whatever that meant.
I was filling in the blanks of what I had been taught success was supposed to mean, but there was a piece missing. For me, it was a critical piece. Everything felt wrong.
What made the difference?
As far back as I can remember, I had followed my passion and had a clear goal in mind. Competitive sports – specifically Wrestling – gave me the structure and discipline I needed to grow and mature. Every day I sprang from bed, knowing that in some way I’d be living my passion.
That passion became the reason I exhausted myself in practice every day. The reason I replayed matches countless times in my head. The reason I pushed myself to improve at every opportunity.
After I got my degree I returned to the sport that had shown me the way, taking over the coaching duties for a small school in Kansas. I wasn’t suiting up for battle, but I was returning the gift that a handful of excellent coaches gave to me. The gift of patient instruction. The gift of guidance and leadership. The gift that allowed me to see my potential.
So what happened to take me from there to that cold dark night of emptiness and exhaustion?
The road (unfortunately) more travelled
As you probably know, the life of a coach isn’t a glamorous one. For every moment spent in the spotlight celebrating with a champion, there are years of hard work, often thankless work. I was distracted – no big surprise - by a good paying job and the promise of a hefty paycheck.
I thought I could put my passion on hold and still be fulfilled. Boy, was I wrong.
I put on the suit and tie, boarded the airplane, and accepted the congratulations of my well-meaning friends. We all thought that life was changing for the better, and went eagerly out into the world.
At first it was glamorous and exciting. But it didn’t take long before the shine came off and that little voice in my head kept telling me – louder and louder with each passing day – that something was missing.
The plan returns
Shortly after I collapsed into that chair on the cold February night, dreading the arrival of Monday morning, I found a tattered and dog-eared copy of a business plan I wrote in college. It was full of a young man’s energy, and it made me remember the passion that fueled me for so long.
The plan described an athletic apparel and equipment company, focused on providing an awesome customer experience – inspired by the lackluster experience I’d had as both an athlete and a coach.
That plan – that one moment – reignited my passion and reminded me of how I’d felt as a competitor and a coach. I went to work immediately that night, scribbling notes in the margin and making lists of people to call – including my old College Coach who gave me a resounding “Hell yes!”
It didn’t get easier from there on out, not by a long shot. Getting started, we had a lot of weeks that made my 80 hour weeks in a suit look like a vacation. We answered phones, made deliveries, cleaned toilets, and never knew from one week to the next if we would be able to keep the lights on.
But the difference was the passion was back. When we made a delivery to an excited team or had a coach send us pictures of their new gear, it gave me that feeling that I remembered from so long ago. The feeling of standing on the mat, hand raised in victory. The feeling of pride I got watching as an athlete overcame an obstacle they had struggled with or bested a fierce opponent.
The glory in those photographs and the confidence on those kids’ faces wasn’t mine, but I knew in some small way that I was giving back to the sport that had given me so much.
So this, then, is a long-winded thank you. I know that you are the parent tirelessly shuttling athletes back and forth to practice and competition. I know that you are the coach watching films or cleaning equipment or preparing drills and asking for so little in return.
You are the one that makes Wrestling such a transformative experience. Without your support, your patience, and your dedication the sport would not be able to have such a profound impact on so many young people.
You have given me the opportunity to wake up every day and do something I’m passionate about for the last fourteen years, and I’m humbled by that.
I thank you, and the 25 men and women here at Blue Chip Wrestling thank you for the support you’ve shown for us. We couldn’t do it without you.
- Gonz Medina and Jason Heslop