Hayden Hidlay Delivers Stirring Message to Fellow State Athletes

Brett Friedlander

A few days after the NCAA cancelled all its championship events, depriving Hayden Hidlay and the NC State wrestling team of a legitimate shot at a national title, the three-time ACC champion wrote a letter in an effort to lift the spirits of his disappointed teammates.

Monday, on the occasion of National Student-Athletes Day, State's athletic department incorporated Hidlay's words in a video to help motivate all his fellow Wolfpack athletes:

Here is the stirring text that offers an amazing perspective for an uncertain, unprecedented time (Video provided courtesy of NC State athletics):

"One of my favorite quotes I've heard so far in my life comes from former basketball coach Pat Riley: 'When you're playing against a stacked deck, compete even harder. Show the world how much you are willing to fight to be into the winner's circle. If you do, one day, the cellophane will crack open a fresh pack, one that is stacked in your favor.'

Pat Riley quote

"You can't pick the cards you get in this life, but you can strategize, fight and wait for your shot to lay them down. When the opportunity comes, you'll be prepared to capture everything you've ever been looking for. 

"We all have been through and accepted the highs of winning and the lows of losing, but never felt the absence of getting the chance to find out. I want to find a way to cope with this strange feeling. I chose confidence. Not the confidence that polarizes people, but the confidence that forces yourself into a predetermined motion before your mind has to think about it.

"After a quiet car ride home from this meeting, I jokingly thought to myself 'well, I guess next year is just worth double.' Little did I know this would be the first thing on my mind when I wake up each morning. I make the rules for how I value myself. It may be the most extreme double-or-nothing wager I've ever made in my life, but one that I am confident in making.

"If nothing is the final result, it is one that I will live happily with because I have won so much by embarking in this journey at NC State. I have to remind myself that I will always be in the winner's circle, because I got to live out my dream. I am looking forward to finishing out that dream on my own terms. I encourage you all to double down with me."

"With strength in the Pack ... Double H."

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