Look into the eyes of a wrestler and you will see a primitive hunger for competition that defines champion.
There is no sport with such a definitive winner and loser as wrestling.
And on the biggest stage, the NCAA Wrestling Championships, the stories are in the faces of the winners and losers.
The name of the game is to defeat your opponent in the most dominating way, breaking them down physically and mentally to a point of exhaustion, a point of complete helplessness where you are constrained by someone better, faster and stronger than you are.
It is as clear as black and white who is the winner and loser of a match.
They say the tournament eats wrestlers alive. If you make it to the top, in just three days you will have to wrestle five of the toughest matches of your life.
Blood, sweat and raw power grace these mats for 640 matches to determine who is the ultimate winner in a tournament that will break a man down to their lowest point.
In other sports, a winner can thank his teammates, coaches, trainers and even the play calling; in wrestling, a loser has been defeated by himself. Sitting alone on the mat, in front of thousands, as the opponents hand is raised high above his own. There is no last-second shot, bad snap of the ball or wrong play calling to blame. In wrestling, you take the loss in its entirety.
But just as a loss in wrestling can bring you to your lowest of lows, a win takes you to a high experience by few.
Looking at the faces of the competitors, you can see the raw emotion that comes with wrestling. As you walk through the guts of the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA, you can pass a split face pouring a mix of sweat and blood down the chinstrap of a wrestlers headgear, and only a few steps away, the tears of defeat set in as a competitor leaves the floor for the last time.
As competition closes, winners are chosen and, ultimately, the individual points won are tallied and a team goes home with a championship.
There are faces of pain, sorrow, victory and defeat, but one thing stays constant as the mats are glazed with blood and sweat, there is passion behind every moment and emotion left in the ring.