INDIANAPOLIS — For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
I didn't do especially well in physics class back in the dark ages of high school at Andrean, but I did learn years later that one of the immutable laws of science also applies to sports.
For every smile over the weekend at the wrestling state finals, there was a tear. For every raised hand, there was a lowered head. For every celebratory hug in a moment of fulfillment, there was a consoling hug in a moment of emptiness, goals realized and hopes dashed.
Portage's Kris Rumph and Chesterton's Lucas Davison each experienced one extreme last year — losing in the finals — and the other this year — winning in the finals. Rumph's victory seemed to lift a heavy weight of expectation off his shoulders, his exhilaration shining through as he gushed to Greg Rakestraw during his TV interview. I suspect he floated home on a cloud, eating a pizza along the way.
Davison, in victory, only wished that good friend Diego Lemley, upset in Friday's first round, could feel the same way he did.
You see the best and worst of athletes in that disparate moment when the final buzzer sounds. Class is much easier to show in victory — though it's certainly not a given — than it is in defeat, and shaking that opponent's hand is one of wrestling's many lessons that has nothing to do with cradles, spladles and crossfaces.
Hobart's Zack Fattore showed you don't have to win a title make your school proud. On the short end of a debateable call that cost him a chance to wrestle for the 170-pound title, the Brickies senior had an excuse to be bitter and critical.
Portage's Kasper McIntosh wanted nothing more than a state title. He didn't get it, but he kept it in context, looking to his future at Minnesota.
It was the same with Crown Point's Oszkar Kasch, a Campbell recruit, even as he talked Friday.
"I'm shooting for a state title, so obviously if I don't get it, it'll be a disappointment, but there's a lot of guys who'd love to say they made it this far," said Kasch, who went on to finish fifth at 160. "I've still got five years of wrestling ahead of me."
So does Portage's Colin Poynter, who is headed for the Air Force Academy. His outcome may have been the toughest of anybody in the field of 224. Concussed in the opening period of his opening match Friday, the Portage senior 126 was cogent enough to know what leaving the mat at that point meant. He didn't even get the chance to win or lose.
"I've watched film of the match several times with my dad to try to figure out what happened," Poynter said Sunday. "The only things I can remember are from watching the film. All I could tell was I was really bummed. I saw all the people wishing me to get healthy (on the wrestling team Facebook page). Up until when they wheeled me off and put me in a car to go to the hospital, I don't really remember anything from that whole day."
Poynter was still dealing with a strong headache Saturday night, but was back at the arena all day to support his teammates. Not that it was easy.
"It was mixed emotions," he said. "Watching them wrestle made me pretty sad. I wanted to be down there with them, help the team maybe even contend for a state title. It was a pretty emotional night, but after seeing Jake (Moran) and Kris (Rumph) win, that brightened my mood."
Like the others, Poynter is showing a mature perspective on a difficult situation.
"I'm looking ahead," he said. "I can't focus on the past, let it hold me down. I have to keep moving forward, work to achieve my goals. My goal now is to be an NCAA champion."