Wrestling is the first thing Jason Bains thinks about when he gets up in the morning, and the last thing on his mind before bed.
The Surrey teen’s family even knows better than to plan an event without checking his wrestling schedule first.
“Everything I do is based on wrestling,” revealed the shy, soft-spoken Grade 12 student, a member of Queen Elizabeth Secondary’s wrestling team.
Jason’s foray into the sport began in Grade 4 after going to watch his brother grapple for the first time. It’s truly a family affair for the Bains’, with Jason’s two older brothers, uncle, father and cousins all involved in wrestling.
Not even a high school grad yet, Jason’s already built up quite a resume for himself.
He’s made the Canadian world team twice, placed second in the international Pan Am championships and won Canadian nationals back in Grade 9.
“When I won in the (Canadian) finals, I won with 15 seconds left,” Jason recalled. “I was super nervous. I was in Grade 9 and he was in Grade 11 and I barely beat him.”
To get to that level, he’s certainly put in the effort.
“I try to practice two times a day,” he revealed. “If I can’t do it before school, I do it after school, then once again at night. I have practices everyday.”
He often competes two to three weekends of every month from October through to April.
Strategy, for Jason, is more important than the physicality of the sport.
“You could be a really weak wrestler but if you have the strategy, you can beat an older and stronger guy. It’s mostly mental.”
Jason said his passion for wrestling is what drives him. He lives for feeling of being in a match, where the world melts away.
“Time goes really slow,” he said. “When you get into it, it seems like such a big crowd. But once you’re on the mat, you don’t see the crowd anymore. All you focus on is the match and all your nervousness goes away.”
It’s a love affair the Surrey teen is not willing to give up anytime soon, with his sights set on the Olympics.
But for now, he’s focused on finishing his high school career with a bang, and the Q.E. wrestling team is knocking it out of the park this year.
“The team did really good this year. We have probably one of the best teams at Q.E. over the last 10 years,” said Jason.
Last week, the Royals won Surrey Slam Fest, a championship hosted by Surrey Fire Fighters Association.
In doing so, they took down Guildford Park, the reigning 16-year champs.
“It was really tough. Guildford is tough,” said coach Simon Kissinger.
Bains helped lead the team to victory with a gold win – and he was also named Most Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament – but Kissinger said there’s a slew of other kids exuding talent out of the Whalley high school.
Four others took home gold at Surrey Slam last week, including Sam Singh, Nick Gill, Ali Rahguzar and Andy Lazaro.
Wrestler Brittany Chiu also won a $750 scholarship at the tourney.
“It’s a great group of kids. There’s a lot of talent on this team,” remarked Kissinger. “I can’t say enough about them.”
The Q.E. team has a busy month ahead, with competitions leading up to provincials at the end of February.
“Provincially, they should be top five,” said a confident Kissinger.
But the coach doesn’t take credit for the wrestlers’ achievements.
Many of the kids are involved in wrestling clubs in the community, which is where they do the bulk of their training, he said.
“My job is to expose the kids to wrestling,” said Kissinger. “I’m an older teacher with my own kids so I don’t put in as much time as other people can…. If you like it, and you’re decent, then go to a club and you can get better there.”
As for Jason?
“He’s a top-calibre kid,” said Kissinger. “He’s getting up there to be one of the best wrestlers Surrey’s produced, for sure.”