In the late fall of 2011, Pat Daly was wrapping up football season & his parents found themselves wondering what they could do to keep him involved in something during the offseason. Speaking with the parents of one of Pats teammates, the O’Neill’s, they learned about a wrestling program not too far from their home at the PAL Center in Port Richmond. While they didn’t know much about wrestling, they knew Pat enjoyed the physicality of football, so they figured it was worth a try!
Almost immediately, the family realized they had found something special. Pat recalls many welcoming faces and coaches who were eager to help. He remembers constant encouragement from coaches (Coaches Ed, Jim, & Brandon), making friends, and looking forward to Tuesday’s & Thursday’s each week! Pat’s parents were impressed as well, however they noticed something deeper. As Pat’s parents attended practices, they recall continually hearing about all the things that older wrestlers in the program were accomplishing off the mat:
“We were hearing that the older kids in the program were doing some pretty big things. Jameel Coles had been accepted to the Hill School, the Stevens boys were headed off to the Hill School & Archbishop Wood (respectively), and Dymir Carruth was headed off to college at Ithaca! We saw the opportunities that some of these kids were getting through this program and through this sport — We remember thinking that could be Pat one of those kids somewhere down the line.”
Hearing about the opportunities these kids were earning through the sport and seeing the caliber of the high school aged young men/women coming through the PAL/BTSP program were significant selling points to the Daly’s. They knew that if Pat stuck to it, he could become one of those types of kids. (spoiler warning: they were right!)
As much as his early years at PAL were fun for him in many ways, the sport of wrestling didn’t come easily to Pat. In fact, in his first five years participating in the sport, Pat didn’t win a single match – but he refused to be deterred. While he admits now that it wasn’t always easy to keep trying, he also acknowledges that with each practice he could feel himself taking steps forward. His coaches certainly recall Pat’s struggles; however, they all say that what stood out about him was his infectious smile and constant eagerness to improve. Then, finally, in 2018 Pat began putting it together on the mat & developing a package of moves that worked for him. Pat started winning…a lot! After a couple of successful seasons, this past winter Pat placed at almost every tournament he wrestled in and became a PJW State Qualifier!
Beyond his own determination, something else that kept Pat coming back was the impact the sport was having on him personally. He and his parents noticed how he was developing as a young man and attributed a lot of that development to his participation in wrestling. Pat was gaining confidence and becoming more disciplined both in the classroom and his personal life! In Pat’s words “I learned that if I told my coaches/teammates I would be somewhere, I owed it to them to be there. With schoolwork, with my parents, and with my friends, I learned that same idea applies.” Teachers would consistently comment on his leadership, responsibility, and work ethic.
Further, Pat believes wrestling has helped him to improve his focus and ability to learn. He’s always worked hard and brought home good grades, but Pat learns a little differently than many of his classmates. The success he’s had has required a lot of additional time and energy on his end; it’s been far from easy. Pat says that over the last couple of years he’s learned to break down lessons he learns in school into smaller, easy to understand steps — an idea that came to him after realizing the success he’s had learning wrestling technique that way!
Pat’s tremendous work in the classroom and his stellar character are leading to big successes. In just a few short weeks, Pat will begin his freshman year at Roman Catholic High School, where he’ll also wrestle and play football! Pat is excited for high school in general, but he also can’t wait to take full advantage of the BTSP Mentoring Center and continue being a leader in the PAL wrestling room.
We’re so proud of Pat & all that he’s accomplished to this point in his young life! Pat has big goals ahead. Following high school, he plans to enlist in the United States Marine Corps — plans he’s had since he was 8 years old according to mom/dad & this story we wrote on Pat back in 2017 when he was our ‘Wrestler of the Month’. We have no doubt that Pat will continue to push forward, cultivate success, and continue to be a fantastic role model for the younger generation of PAL wrestlers for years to come…Congratulations Pat!
When asked ‘What does Beat the Streets Philadelphia & PAL mean to you?’, Pat & his parents had some powerful words. In the interest of letting their quotes speak for themselves, I’ve included their quotes below:
“Beat the Streets & PAL are both such a big part of my life. There are so many friends & coaches there who care about me and that means a lot. My whole family lives on my block & I was really the first one to branch out. BTSP & PAL helped me be different & become the person I want to be.”- Patrick Daly Jr.
[Editors Note: A couple of weeks ago, BTSP founding Board Members Clinton & Brett Matter, joined by their father Andy, sat down with Track Wrestling to discuss the vision behind BTSP (see below). Pat’s father had recently watched the interview & had this to say about it…]
“That neighborhood Andy [Matter] was talking about, that’s our neighborhood & our block. That kid who needs a positive outlet – that’s Pat. When he got started at PAL, we were just a couple of young parents looking for something positive to give our son to do. We saw what the older kids were doing and what they were achieving & to see Pat getting to that point is special. To sum up what it all means though, Beat the Streets & PAL is a family, it really is.”- Patrick Daly Sr.