By Jeremy McDonald
GERVAIS, Ore.– There’s a sense of family at the 3A school in the town of 4,000 that is Gervais. People care about one another and support each other wheither it’s sports or anything else.
“Well it’s family,” said senior Peter McKinley. “The teachers here at Gervais really care about us and go through thick and thin for us. The community gets into things! I walk around town in my letterman jacket and strangers will ask me how the teams are looking and stuff like that.”
But McKinley also points out the negative stigma around the school because of a what the results show on the field and in the win-loss column, but it’s something McKinley won’t chance for anything in the world.
There’s also a negative atmosphere here also,” said McKinley. “People especially during football will always tell us we’re gonna suck and loose and that we always will because we always have. But your gonna have haters every where.
“I’d never take it back because I have created family through the community of Gervais from it and it’s really special when you realize how involved the town is in Gervais.”
No matter if it’s the Football field where McKinley was a productive offensive lineman or a running back (as he was his senior year) on offense and stud linebacker on defense, going to State as a Junior in wrestling or being the President of the local FFA at the High School as they help out the Food Bank earlier this week; McKinley tries to lead in more ways than not as he ties in personal hurdles he overcame into his own leadership traits.
“It’s all about not listening to what other people say,” starts McKinley. “So many times I was told if never do something but I always have. I was told I’d never learn to talk and I talk just fine now (I have Apraxia) so when I was told I’d lose I’d be like oh hell no I’m not!
“And it’s always just been the same, the feeling of accomplishing something someone says you can’t do is amazing! And I show people that when ever I explain to them how bad I was in all my first years of stuff. You can’t ever give up if you wanna be great and I just kind of show that to my peers.”
Following his final season where the Cougar Colors and pads in football where Gervais showed a tremendous promise entering 2017, McKinley traded the pads for the Cougar blue and gold singlet and his been dominate on the mats as he finished fourth at 220 pound class at the Cascade Tournament to start the season and second at the same weight class at the Scio Tournament
It’s been a great start for the senior as two years ago, he only won one match his sophomore season.
“I joined my sophomore year to try and be a better football player and I got destroyed!,” said McKinley. “Guys threw me and pinned me like crazy, I was lucky to make it to the second round and i only won one single match that year. My junior year I came into wrestling and the coaches were a bit surprised to see I didn’t give up after that first year. They asked me my goals and I said I want to go to state and they laughed at me!
“(They) told me there’s no chance and that I was dreaming. That year I finished fourth in our district and qualified for state and finished ranked 10th. So my peers I think kind of look at that and get kinda reinsurance I think from it. Now being older then my teammates and a leader it’s really just me telling them how bad I used to be and showing them that if they work hard good things will happen. But it’s absolutely crazy to think I’m the leader in this team after being the worse wrestler on the team just a little over two years ago!”
For the senior, it just goes back to his motivation of, ‘don’t tell me I can’t do it cause I’ll prove you wrong’, it’s like awaking The Hulk from within to say that to McKinley.
“Well I just kind of hate being told I can’t do something and I get told I can’t do stuff all the time so it just kind of empowers me in a way,” said McKinley. “I always believed if you want to do something act like your already there. If you get the mind set that your already there then your have the confidence to go out and achieve your goals. I think I just show people to not be afraid anymore in everything I do because I’m that weird guy that makes risks look not so risky.”
McKinely went 0-2 at State as a junior, hungrier more than ever, and like The Hulk, more angrier; he wants to get back there as a senior and take as many of his teammates with him to The Big Show.
“Well I hate losing, I never want to go 0-2 in a tourney again,” said McKinley on how it motivated him for this year. “And I always joke about the hot tub at state as inspiration..I don’t wanna be in the hot tub by myself so i need my brothers to come with me. So we’re always joking about that but when it comes to putting in the work I think their getting on the same page with the grind everyday and we’re all just fighting for that hot tub.”
With him having a strong start, you can already see that he is building off from last years success and is not wanting a repeat of what happen at the State Tournament last season.
“I’ve got great coaches and that’s all I really wrestling with because I don’t have any close partners I can wrestling with. I feel good but stupid mistakes have to be cleaned up,” said McKinley on this year. “It should be fourth and first but stupid mistakes costs me the finals match at Scio so I have a lot of cleaning up to do if I want to make a run for state but ya know, that’s the fun of it.
“And my teammates and see how hard I have to work to clean things up so I think they kind of relate because we are all still trying to figure it out I’m just a little more advanced but we’re all working to get better.”
But, with graduation on the horizon and the light at the end of the tunnel is coming for the senior and his Prep Career, he does joke about wanting to be remember as a ‘Legend’ and a ‘Bad Ass’; but in all seriousness, he wants to be remembered as for working his ass off day in and day out while coming out of your comfort zone.
“I want to be known of how I fight through adversity and stuff and that I never quit and that if you put your mind to it you can do it,” said McKinley. “You just can’t give up because giving up is easy and that’s why everyone does it.
“You gotta get out of your confront zone and be willing to do weird stuff sometimes. you find pictures of me dancing wired and wearing weird stuff all the time and I think I just show people that it’s okay to be out of your comfort zone.”
The difference between the Bruce Banner Hulk and the McKinley Hulk is that at least the McKinley Hulk has a sense of humor; but one thing is for certain, you don’t want to be lining up inside the circle with this guy come match time.
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