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'Definition of an Expert,' by Gracie Pham, Davis HS
 6/1/2023 12:00:00 AM

Gracie Pham
Davis HS, Class of 2024

How can we define when someone is an expert in something? How do we know we are learning from the best of the best? I bring up these questions because in sports, we eventually get to the level of performance where we seek the best of the best, someone who can train us to go beyond, to be the top performer. But I also come to the question, how do we know we are learning to the best of our abilities? We all have those people, or that one person we truly look up to, someone we can consider to be the best in our sport. For soccer, it might be the controversial, yet equally as renowned, Lionel Messi, or Christiano Ronaldo. In basketball, we look at players like Michael Jordan, and Stephen Curry. But how do you define a true expert in a field so broad, with limitless spans of boundaries? To answer this question for myself, I take a step into the world where I can identify the answer best, the world of wrestling.

This year I had the incredible opportunity to witness first hand, live in the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the NCAA National Wrestling Championships. Within the span of a couple days, I got to be in the same vicinity as some of the greatest NCAA wrestlers in history, including Spencer Lee, Yianni Diakomihalis, and Vito Arujau. I even got to meet and get the signature of THE Dan Gable; a two-time NCAA National Champion, world gold medalist, and olympic gold medalist. Being able to see him in person must've been one of the most memorable moments of my life. Being in that stadium with all the greats felt like being around the people who created the boundaries and limits to the sport entirely, it’s a feeling like no other. But in a blink of an eye, the weekend was over, and I was home again.

Come next wrestling practice, I walk into the room once again, the one and only Davis High School wrestling room. Put on my shoes, and get warmed up with the rest of my teammates, and prepare myself for the best and worst, most grueling 2 hours of my day. My dad’s with me, and after a rough practice, we get some one-on-one together where he shows me techniques to improve the areas of wrestling where I struggle. I’ve always looked up to my dad, and I can say that he’s influenced almost every aspect of my life, and I would not be where I am today without him. Although he was never any NCAA champion, or even qualifier, with the limited, yet still astounding achievements he’s achieved in his lifetime, I still consider him one of the best at what he does.

Then it’s time for the little-guy wrestling practice, or also known as the club wrestling team practice. In comes 30-40 kids, all ranging from ages as low as 6 years old, all the way up to 13-14. I watch as they get their shoes on, and start getting their warm-ups in, and I get ready to help with the technique portions of their practice. The best moments I’ve had with these kids are when I got to come to their tournaments, and watch as 5-6 kids run up and tackle me on the way to the mat. Getting to coach these little guys, and seeing their eyes of content when they look up at me pre-match, as I look them in the eye and tell them I’ve got their back, and to have fun is one of the most heartwarming feelings you can get. Resisting the urge to tear up when I have to comfort them after a loss, is hard, but it’s even more rewarding when you get to hype them up after a much deserved win. You feel as if you are their whole world, and I would not trade that feeling for the world.

Now what does this all come to say? What I’ve come to find is that the definition of an expert is the people in your life that are more knowledgeable than yourself. There is no one true definition of a person that is the “master” or “expert” in a topic. Maybe to the world of wrestling, NCAA Champions or Olympic medalist can be considered the experts. Or a father to a daughter, teaching his daughter everything he knows to the best of his ability, that father figure can be defined as an expert, regardless of the extent of his knowledge. And lastly, even dating back to the little boys and girls barely even being able to get a takedown, a mere wrestler in highschool can be considered the best of the best, considering their willingness to share and help the younger generation improve.

The last important thing I wanted to mention in regards to expertise in terms of sports, is one's willingness to share their knowledge. You can’t consider someone an expert in something, if they don’t share what they know with someone else, their knowledge would just die with them. A true expert in something would dedicate their time to ensuring that the time they’ve put into their mastery is passed down to others, to save what lessons and techniques they’ve achieved in their lifetime.

This, to me, is the definition of not just an expert, but a characteristic of a leader.

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June 2023

6/1/2023 'Definition of an Expert,' by Gracie Pham, Davis HS

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