Wrestling has been a passion for Noel Fuentes since he was a freshman student at South West Miami Senior High School in 2014.
In 2018, 19-year-old Noel Fuentes was trying to find a children’s book about wrestling to give to his five-year-old cousin.
“As a Christmas gift to my cousin, I wanted to give him something he could read that would motivate him to wrestle in the future,” Fuentes explained. “After searching in bookstores and online, I could not find one age-appropriate to the lessons I wanted him to understand. So, I decided to create a story with which he could connect at his early age.”
The Miami native immediately began drafting and illustrating what became a colorful and inspiring 48-page story titled Wally Wants to Wrestle.
“Wally Wants to Wrestle is a children’s book that teaches kids many valuable lessons,” Fuentes stated. “Wrestlers and non-wrestlers can both benefit from this book because the lessons Wally teaches are universal. Wally earns his first success because he learned, practiced, and worked hard, which are life skills we all need.”
The book, first published in April 2019, is currently listed on Amazon.com.
During the past three years, Fuentes traveled throughout the country to share Wally’s story with schoolchildren and young wrestlers. Educators, parents, and coaches, as far away as Puerto Rico and Canada, have purchased the book for their young readers and teams.
Wally Wants to Wrestle has been officially recognized by U.S. Congresswoman Donna E. Shalala in 2020. In a letter to Noel, she states. “It is extraordinary you took the initiative to teach young children the importance of hard work and persistence. Furthermore, presenting young kids with a positive role model is an invaluable endeavor.”
“It is always great to have a local Miami area wrestler be part of starting a new team and making a name for South Florida Wrestling,” St Thomas University Wrestling Head Coach Jake Patacsil stated. “But when we found out he is also a young writer, we knew we had to get the story out! Like I always say, you want this!!!”
“As a wrestler, I learned many great lessons and built upon my weaknesses and strengths. This book is my contribution back to the wrestling community that blessed me with so much love, knowledge, and wisdom,” added Fuentes.
During the 2021-2022 wrestling season, Noel placed 4th in the Mid-South Conference Tournament. He is expected to graduate from the Bachelor of Arts in Psychology program in 2023.