Determined to succeed: Senior utilizes discipline to develop in wrestling, military career

Ron Toback-Wolf

When thinking about an army soldier and a wrestler, one would initially think that the two are perfectly different. One is a massive, ripped, shirtless guy yelling at the crowd for glory, and the other is an astute, straight-backed fighter in a camo outfit and a rifle. Learning to fill one of these jobs might seem like it would take up all eight high school classes, there’s so much to learn and train before you’re even close to ready. 

Senior Joseph Pfromm throws this assumption out the window, as he has spent all four years of high school gaining the strength of a wrestler and the integrity of a soldier. 

“Wrestling is more of a family tradition,” Pfromm said. “Both of my brothers wrestled. And JROTC is leading up to my military career.”

While wrestling and JROTC may seem unrelated, there are a lot of similarities that aren’t quite so easy to see, with one notable example.

“You have to be disciplined in wrestling because you have to listen to what your coach tells you and get it done,”  Pfromm said. “In JROTC, you have to be disciplined to show the other cadets that come in how to do everything you need to do.”

Wrestling coach Michael Zito confirms that discipline is also a vital part of wrestling.

“Without discipline in diet, grades, conditioning, and self sacrifice, athletes won’t be successful wrestlers,” Zito said.

Pfromm hopes to hold a steady career in the army and has already taken steps in that direction. 

“I’m in the army,” Pfromm said. “I already went to boot camp this summer, so JROTC helps me get prepared. Wrestling has been more like a physical thing to stay in shape to help me with the military.”

Pfromm’s instructors in both wrestling and JROTC approve of his endeavors.

“Pfromm’s come a good way,” JROTC instructor Ron Southern said. “He still has a long way to go, but he is in the army and I do believe he is going to go active after high school. The most impressive thing about him is his ability to make friends and liven up a situation.”

Zito has watched Pfromm come a long way, now giving his support as well.

“Pfromm started wrestling his freshman year with zero experience,” Zito said. “He keeps going, and win or lose, he is ready for the next match. He’s small, but dedicated when it comes to wrestling.

Pfromm’s fellow trainees are also firmly on his side.

“He’s our captain, so he has to be a leader,” junior Michael Flores said. “Even during matches, he has to get ready. He’s a very good leader, he takes charge, he’s good at giving orders, listening, and just really good at wrestling too.”

Senior JROTC member Brent Gough, who went to basic training with Pfromm, sees him as a good guy to be paired with in the military

“Pfromm is a very friendly guy,” Gough said. “If you need somebody to talk to he’ll come up and talk to you.”

Like Pfromm, Gough has had to put himself to the test in JROTC, both physically and mentally. 

“There is a time to play and then there is a time to work,” Gough said. “So when it’s time to work, we get serious, and it’s a very professional atmosphere. It can be a very friendly atmosphere, it’s kind of like a family. The instructors help, they’re there to supervise and when we mess up they’re there to call us out on it.”

Though Pfromm finds both classes difficult, the physical intensity of wrestling’s more individual involvement compared to the group mentality of JROTC can make wrestling more difficult for him.

“Wrestling is a nice team,” Pfromm said. “You get a nice bond and build a family inside of wrestling. JROTC is kind of the same thing, you go in starting as somebody who doesn’t really know much, and everybody else helps you out. Balancing both wrestling and JROTC is pretty difficult, but once you get your mind set on it, it gets a lot easier. You have to get your mind set on focusing and setting times up for both of them.”

At the end of the day, whether on the battlefield or in the ring, a person can’t succeed without a healthy diet of discipline. 

“Discipline is key,” Southern said. “We have 3 core values that basically impact everything we do. First is ‘integrity first,’ because if you don’t have integrity, you’re already missing out. ‘Service before self’ is the second one, and third is ‘excellence in all we do.’ So that’s all we expect, that they live up to those three core values, and that they’re motivated and wanna be a part of this.”