Athlete of the Week: Repeat champion

Eighth grader Rocco Spindler wins his second Oakland County 7th & 8th Wrestling tournament. Photo provided
Eighth grader Rocco Spindler wins his second Oakland County 7th & 8th Wrestling tournament. Photo provided

BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Eighth grader Rocco Spindler kept his pinning streak going as he took down three opponents at the Oakland County 7th & 8th Wrestling tournament for his second county title, March 11.
“It was huge,” said the Clarkston Junior High School student. “It is the biggest meet of the year. You have to wrestle hard. You need to want it if you want to win. I did.”
Spindler added it’s also about the drive and his drive is to keep going.
“Don’t stop. Do the best you can do,” he said. “It is like my grandfather once said, ‘you gotta want it’ and I do.”
Following the county meet he was 20-0 with all wins from pins and shared what has led to his succes in winning.
“I don’t look at their record sheet,” he explained. “I don’t ask how good they are, and I don’t ask how big they are. I just go out and wrestle because they’re only as good as the match they wrestle. It isn’t the size of the dog in the fight – it is the size of the fight in the dog.”
He added you also can’t be nervous which he encounters from his opponents since he stands at 6-foot-3.
“Everyone says to me ‘you’re only good because of your size,’” he shared. “It is not true.”
He explained while his friends are using their summer to have fun he is using the off season to train for wrestling and football.
The example comes from his parents, Marc and Rochelle, who taught Rocco and his three sisters the off season is time to train.
“Nothing is ever handed to you, you have to go out and work for it,” Rocco shared. “I am fine with this because where will playing around ever get you? For football and wrestling, I am training my butt off seven days a week to be the best, and I know I will be the best. Like Arnold Schwarzenegger once said, when your hanging out with friends playing around, putting no time in, your opponent is working harder than you to be the best.”
He began wrestling when he was around 4-years-old and admitted he didn’t know much.
“When coach asked me to get into my stance, I got into my football stance,” Rocco remembered.
He also remembers not liking wrestling, the sport his dad wanted him to try, because he was always going against kids who were older and more experienced.
“My dad and mom kept me in it to make me a better football player,” Rocco said and added it helped make him tough. “Wrestling is a tough sport. You just have to be tougher.”
Out of all the lessons he has learned from his family, one from his dad always stands out.
“My father says the ball eventually stops bouncing – what are you going to do when the ball stops,” Rocco shared. “It comes back to school.”
He already has his vision on continuing his education by attending University of Notre Dame or Ohio State University.
When he isn’t competing or training for wrestling or football he enjoys spending time with his family and being outdoors.
“I love hunting,” Rocco said. “It’s one of the No. 1 things I like to do in my spare time including fishing, going to the cabin and farming.”
His advice to aspiring athletes is to “keep your head straight, keep in sports and try to stay out of trouble. Stay in school because that’s the real thing in life. What are you going to do after your sports? Sports can only go for so long.”