“We’re all one big family, we’re always here for each other, helping each other out when it’s needed.”
Almost everywhere you look on South Effingham’s wrestling team, you see brothers.
Not brothers in the usual, figurative, sports team sense. Literal brothers.
“I guess having multiple brothers on the team, it just builds better bonding, I guess I could say,” said wrestler Enrique Santana.
That’s life on the Mustangs, where no fewer than five sets of brothers wrestle each other in the building behind the football stadium almost every day after school.
“It makes everyone kind blend in together really well and everyone is like a little more close with each other,” said Jacob Galindez. “Once you make friends with one brother, it’s bound to happen with the other.”
A team with a lot of brothers on it might register as a curiosity and nothing more, were it not for the fact that South Effingham is 33-1 in dual matches this year.
During those matches, the brothers act as each others’ hype men.
“He’s very technical, he’s very fast, he has speed,” said Daniel Galindez of his brother Jacob. “Once the guy is on the ground, you know Jacob is going to win.”
“He likes to pick up kids and slam them,” said Enrique Santana of his brother Emilio, who wrestles in the 106-pound class. “That’s his favorite thing to do.”
“He’s out there beating kids that are a lot stronger than him, bigger than him,” observed Stephen Tootle of his brother, Ashton. “I think it’s all about the heart.”
Although these brothers often come to the sport together – sometimes at their parents’ urging – they continue it for their own reasons.
“It’s the adrenaline rush of getting a match one-on-one against somebody and trying to beat that person until he loses faith in wrestling you again,” said Enrique Santana.
Brothers or not, everyone considers themselves part of the South Effingham wrestling family.
“I think we’d be here for each other either way, brothers or not,” said Stephen Tootle.