My name is Alfonzo Tucker, and I am a post-doc psychologist in my last year of residency in the field of clinical psychology. I work with forensic populations incarcerated in the California State prison system. This letter is not meant to be taken as a success story, nor a story of resilience and triumph. My hope is that any person who reads this letter sees within themselves the energy that has brought me to my current position in life. The energy that I will attempt to share exists within all breathing creatures. The very first time I felt the sensation of achievement was in the fourth grade. I was standing on what appeared to be a rubber mat, wearing old dirty basketball shoes, with holes in the soles, while watching a referee who had a red band on one wrist and a green band on the other. After winning the wrestling match, he raised my hand to the point of forcing me to balance on my toes, because I weighed less than fifty pounds. The memory of this event was so gratifying, I continue to chase that feeling to this day.
That sense of achievement drowns the fact that I grew up within the foster care system, having never met my biological mother, and having witnessed my biological father use the type of drugs that are inhaled via the use of a glass pipe. Those memories no longer linger within the back of my mind. However, having my hand raised after earning my first win following a wrestling match does.
The following information may seem cliché, as I am a man of color, having lived my youth in poverty, with no understanding of achievement beyond professional sports and entertainment. Meaning, everyone in my neighborhood wanted to become rich from selling crack or shouting rhythmic words over a melodic beat. I could fight, and later learned how to wrestle, but when high school was over it did not matter that I was recruited by many Division I colleges, because I had not yet discovered how to achieve academically. The Fresno Unified school district provided me with opportunity, enough to attend Fresno City college and learn that wrestling technique could be enhanced with education. I turned down several scholarship offers and accepted one to remain in the city of Fresno where my foster family could witness me become an All-American and obtain a bachelor’s degree, providing me with security.
In closing, I can honestly say that every milestone within my life has some correlation to the sport of wrestling and the city of Fresno. The Law of Conservation of Energy states “energy is neither created nor destroyed; rather, it can only be transformed or transferred from one form to another.” California State University of Fresno is the energy of the San Joaquin / Central Valley of California. The sport of wrestling offered me the opportunity to discover achievement in life, without such energy, I could not celebrate life. Moreover, how many other opportunities may never be discovered if the wrestling program at Fresno State is not reinstated? I am but one example of such energy that the Fresno State Wrestling program has created. This Valley needs and requires such energy.
-Alfonzo W Tucker, Ed. D