Mike Getlin – What Peninsula Did For Me

Mr. Pittman, you asked me to write a letter about what Peninsula Wrestling did for me, now that I have a little hindsight on where my life has taken me after my days of competing on the mat are over. With a little thought, it’s a very easy task writing this, since so much of who I am today really grew directly out of my experiences with Pitt Wrestling. I am blessed with about the best life I could ask for, and when I look back there is actually very little about it for which you and Peninsula do not deserve credit.

I had great success wrestling there and it was that success that got me into Harvard. That being said, it wasn’t really until after school that I found my stride and really began to draw on the experiences and wisdom I took away from the club. I learned to be patient, to take pride in my work and myself, and to grow personally and professionally no matter what has been thrown in my way. I learned to lead and to follow, to speak and to listen, and I learned a great deal about what motivates me and the people around me. Though I may have picked some of this up elsewhere, it was Peninsula that gave me a place to put it all together. It was there that I learned to fail, and to succeed, and to grow as much as possible from both. There are more stories than I could think to list, but one really comes to mind when I look back on the time passed since I was last at the club.

Several years ago I was doing pretty well working in phone sales for a company down here in Los Angeles. One night I was robbed and beaten at gunpoint while leaving an ATM. Though that was one fight I couldn’t win, I survived, and for that I will always be grateful. With my jaw shattered and wired shut, my life ground to a halt since I couldn’t speak well enough to sell over the phone. I broke my lease on my apartment and came home to Oregon to figure out what to do next.

To this day I am not sure what made me come back here, since there really was nothing left in LA for me. I think maybe it was a competition that’s in me, and a unwillingness to be beaten while I still have any fight left in me at all. As is was, I drove back to LA and went to work as an administrative assistant for the company at which I had been selling. I took a 90% pay cut and lived off of soup and coffee for 3 months until the wires cam off my jaw. It never occurred to me to throw in the towel. It never even crossed my mind not to see it through and make it work. As such, it was not a decision I made, but rather the way I am that kept me going.

One day at a time, I pieced things back together. I was eventually promoted to General Manager, then Vice President of the company. This spring I bought a minority share in the firm and now run one of the largest precious metals retailers in the country. Every morning I give a sales meeting to over 40 employees, for which I borrow liberally from the inspirational talks I remember so well from Peninsula. It works for them, just as well as it worked for me.

So years later when I really think about my experiences there, it’s funny how it’s not the state titles, or the college scholarships or every the incredible people I met along the way, that stick in my mind as the best things I took away from Peninsula. By far the best thing I took away from Peninsula is myself. I learned to compete on and off the mat, to push harder than I think I can and to never quit while I can still keep going. I learned it so well, it’s become who I am and that’s the best thing Peninsula could ever have given me.

With great appreciation and respect,
Mike Getlin
Executive Vice President
Merit Financial