Take a Bow
There is a 6-month period, roughly between mid-April
and mid-October, when nothing much is happening. At least thatís the way
it seems to a fan of high school wrestling.
We have, of course had action. The Goodwill Games, National Junior
Olympics, World Team trials, Asics Tiger Junior National Championships and
other events have kept wrestling interest alive during the summer.
But as I write this (early September), the first coloring of the leaves
signals once again the impending return of special people weíve missed:
the local amateur wrestler.
Special? Well, letís look at the evidence.
Wrestling is demanding. You need strength, technique, quickness,
condition, motivation, resolve, and coachability. And you canít carry any
extra pounds, which means you wonít be able to enjoy the two most
important meals of the year: Thanksgiving dinner (because thatís when the
season starts) and Christmas dinner (because thatís tournament time).
Wrestling is open to all. You canít be a jockey if you weigh 200 pounds.
You canít be a defensive tackle if you weight 100. You canít be a strong
forward if youíre skinny and five feet six. You canít ski if you live on
the plains. You canít be a golfer if you canít afford the equipment or the
green fees. But all you need to wrestle is that voice inside you. (note:
you could quarrel with that last point if you live in a school district
which has imposed ďpay to participateĒ restriction due to financial
Wrestling is the oldest sport. It has to be far older than the 5,000 years
or so cited by some historians. Surely itís as old as man himself. Guys
must have been grappling with each other since they competed for the first
carcass. Or cave. Or cavewoman.
Wrestling is lonely. You step on the mat and youíre alone. You canít run
or hide. . . Or blame a teammate for your mistakes. . . Or throw a
spitball (or a tantrum). . . Or take a cheap shot. . . Or call a timeout
to plan your next move. What you can do is be your own man, with the
emphasis on man.
So take a bow, wrestler. In your sport there are no real losers. The worst
you can do is finish second. Remember the avis rent-a-car slogan, ďwe try
harder. . . Weíre only number 2.Ē That was one of the most successful
marketing ideas in history because it eloquently expressed the prime
importance of effort.