by Carol Carrozza
August 24, 1999

After many years of being around the sport of wrestling and living with two older brothers who ate, drank, and slept the sport I have developed the uncanny ability to identify anyone who has ever spent time on the mat. There are certain tell-tale signs that can help anyone to pick out a wrestler even an old warhorse, with a bit of quick observation.

Notice the body build, wrestlers of any age have strong broad backs with seemingly no neck. Their arms are powerful and their ears can be in any stage of "cauliflower". Unless you're observing a "legman" this man will rarely be taller than five foot six. His face is ruggedly handsome and his eyes serious from many battles.

If you are sitting near a wrester and he is eating it is quite easy to pick him out, because he is suddenly very solemn and ceases all conversation with you. His eyes are riveted on the meal. If Christie Brinkley should appear, his head would still be down, after many days or years spent in food deprivation , SHE can wait!

Usually humble, unless in bonding mode, these warriors are easily identifiable when with their wrestling buddies. You may notice that they have a tendency to align in weight class order. Their greeting for each other is unmistakable. The traditional handshake is totally abandoned. You see, the standard greeting amongst grapplers is the "sudden death" round! This can take place anywhere that they happen to meet. Some favorites are the front lawn , bar room floors, or school hallways. They will answer to either their name or weight class both are acceptable. You will know when you are in the home of a wrestler because you will notice that all of the living room furniture is located at the perimeter of the room! Lampshades are tattered and tilted in every direction. Coffee tables are definite hazards, if indeed they are present in the room at all! ANYONE in the household is a moving target for the wrestler and at any time should be prepared for an impromptu single leg take-down. Favorite targets are younger sisters, moms, girlfriends and wives. If you should hear that "he really put the moves on HER last night!" you can assume that he was just trying out his reverse cradle or some other new move he just learned at the clinic.

All in all, the wrestler of any age moves with a body confidence that few men possess and are really a great bunch of gentlemen. Their battles have taught them discipline and humbleness. So the next time you spot a well built gentleman who has a confident gait, but a bit of difficulty with small talk you have probably met a wrestler!