The Friendship Hold,

6

January 16, 2012 by David Gillaspie

or, Why wrestlers make the best friends.

Take a closer look at the people around you.

Can you count on them?

More important, can they count on you?

If you’re a wrestler, or a former wrestler, the answer is yes. Everyone else will find their own answer.

What makes one sport produce better friends? Let’s find out.

Track runners share the effort of long distance training, keeping the conversation up as a way of gauging their speed. If they’re too gassed to talk they need to slow down.

What do they talk about? Shoes, gear, food, the weather.

Wrestlers talk when they run, too. They cover the same topics as track stars with the addition of who’s butt they’re going to kick and when. Instead of surges and kicks, wrestlers talk about technique and sweat.

The wrestlers run before practice, or after, while track guys use running as their practice.

Years later, when one wrestler meets another, they have the same wrestling conversation. Track stars don’t have the same advantage because of the events. How much does a miler have in common with a shot-putter, or a long jumper and a discus thrower?

Football is a little closer to wrestling, except when you start talking about ‘skill position’ players. The greater difference on a football team isn’t offense and defense, it’s those who play in space and those who give and take hits on every play.

Listen in the next time a defensive lineman and a wide-out talk. They both play football, but not the same game. One gets dirty.

Wrestlers are all skill all the time when letting up means losing. They are hand wringing, foot sweeping experts as happy in the trenches as they are setting up in space.

Basketball and wrestling couldn’t be further apart. In one you get penalized for touching and holding, in the other you score points doing the same thing. Imagine the number of fouls a basketball ref would call in a wrestling match. From whistle to disqualification would be less than a minute.

What sort of friends do wrestlers make?

My best friend happened to be the best wrestler on the team. We were close in weight and worked out together. Our deal was making weight. If he didn’t make it he bumped up to my weight class and I went JV. As a senior.

Did I complain? Not then, and not now. I just made sure I worked him as hard as I could so he’d make weight. Stay later in the practice room. Run an extra mile. Avoid places with too much good food. I wanted him to make weight the most when we wrestled schools that beat us in football. Some of the players thought of themselves as wrestlers and figured they’d get the same results on the mat that they got on the football field.

There’s nothing quite like squeezing the guts of a running back who rolled up a hundred yards, then comes out on the mat with that attitude.

My best friend as a wrestling dad has a house full of wrestlers with one still going strong. He’s as true-blue to the sport as your average Iowan, mainly because he’s from Iowa. He knows more about wrestling community than anyone. Where he comes from every match is an event.

The wrestling bond of adults isn’t the same as kids. The score isn’t always what shows on the board. It’s more about keeping things on an even keel and avoid being ‘That Dad.’ He was a leader and a do-er, a former wrestler who knows what it takes to be a winner.

Sometimes things happen that change a friendship. You cross the line. You say the wrong thing. Then you don’t know how to man-up and make the friendship right. How do two guys with wrestlers find a way to bury the hatchet?

My high school pal and I used to take it to the mat, or the backyard. Once we wrestled in his living room and broke more furniture than his wife was happy with. Since then we’ve learned to use our words better.

What about wrestling dad friend? I did the only thing a wrestler should do and found a wrestling coach to ask about repairing friendship. Here’s what he said:

“If the friendship matters enough, apologize for anything you might have said or done to ruin it. Without getting into the details of dispute, ask for a reset. Be man enough to say you’re sorry if the friendship is important to you. Do it with kindness and let the other person know you are sincere.

“In wrestling, as in life, there are three ways to deal with problems that need a crucial conversation. Avoid it, do it badly, or do it well. If you’re not happy with the way things are, do something about it. If nothing comes from the conversation, at least you moved the needle.”

That’s advice you don’t find everywhere. That’s wrestling talk.

About these ads

6 thoughts on “The Friendship Hold,

  1. JRay says:

    Mr. DeeGee,

    Interesting angle with the whistle, but whom exactly is the ref in these situations? Can you blow the whistle if you are wrestling in the match? Does someone else step in to officiate? Maybe you look to your wife, a kid, another wrestler, or some poor smuck who happens to be passing by? Wrestling with friends is very similar to the real thing in this case…you have to finish the match and there is no tap out.

    I have always been more of a “go until you hear the whistle” guy…funny how some folks seem to wait for the whistle and wonder why life passed them by. Guess that is my football genes kicking in. Always liked the guy who finished his shot into the scorer table and claims “I didn’t hear the whistle?!”

    Maybe you can try switching to a buzzer instead…use that to wake folks up in those trying moments. Coul really give new meaning to the phrase “buzzer beater.”

    At the end of the day, I think you nailed it in this blog:
    http://deegeesbb.wordpress.com/2011/09/13/make-the-call/

    “After you make the call and ban a buddy you’ll miss, you might want to reconsider. Be cautious. If you cave and invite them back early, they’ll think you made a bogus call to begin with. You’ll lose any authority to make another call.

    There’s only one way to make it better.

    Find a third party friend to deliver a message. Tell the banned buddy he can petition for reinstatement.

    Or blog it. Real friends read your blog, even subscribe to it. Make it fun and they will understand.”

    Good post David, keep on bloggin’ brother.

    • David Gillaspie says:

      Speaking of life passing by, the LA soft rock group America had a hit called ‘Horse With No Name.’ A minor hit was Lonely People. Goes like this:

      This is for all the lonely people
      Thinking that life has passed them by
      Don’t give up until you drink from the silver cup
      And ride that highway in the sky

      This is for all the single people
      Thinking that love has left them dry
      Don’t give up until you drink from the silver cup
      You never know until you try

      I think the song is about perceptions, about people who don’t connect then feel sorry for themselves. To avoid that downer, I’ve included some script. If you memorize it and repeat it at the proper time, it might be helpful. Friendship are measured by the joy of life in it, not some arbitrary scorecard.

      “If the friendship matters enough, apologize for anything you might have said or done to ruin it. Without getting into the details of dispute, ask for a reset. Be man enough to say you’re sorry if the friendship is important to you. Do it with kindness and let the other person know you are sincere.

      In wrestling, as in life, there are three ways to deal with problems that need a crucial conversation. Avoid it, do it badly, or do it well. If you’re not happy with the way things are, do something about it. If nothing comes from the conversation, at least you moved the needle.”

      Thanks for the thumbs up,

      David

  2. JRay says:

    Wrestling with friends is always tough.

    I like to go back to something I heard from the great Dan Russell at a wrestling camp a few years back.

    He said, “You have to ask yourself two things before you step on the mat to compete. Did I do everything I could to prepare myself for this moment? Am I willing to do whatever it takes to win?”

    If you answer “no” to either of these questions, you already know how the match will go.

    When friends step in the ring of conflict, they have to ask the same questions. It take courage to step to the line when a friendship is as stake – wrestlers, their families, and their friends have the advantage of the sport to help get them through.

    Winning at friendships, love, and wrestling is tough. Wrestlers do what it takes to win..so do friends.

    • David Gillaspie says:

      Thanks for coming in JRay,

      Dan Russell is a great quote. He asked himself those two questions often, http://www.goviks.com/sports/2011/3/1/athletics_0301113622.aspx?id=97

      Whether you answer them with a yes or a no, the thing you can count on is the ref blowing the whistle. If the opponent is less prepared than you, you might win, thought it won’t be the quality win you’d get with better prep.

      There are certainties in life and sport, like going on the whistle. I remember meeting a musician years ago who was set to play a gig out of town. He and the band practiced. They were a duo and were set to tear it up. But, something more important came up a few days before the gig and one guy couldn’t make the trip.

      What to do? There is a axiom in show business that when things go wrong, the show still goes on. So the musician adapted and played a great gig by inviting the audience up on stage as back-up.

      Trying moments, and how we respond, define who we are. Sometimes that’s hard to accept. A self-inflicted trying moment is even more difficult because the process adds another element. It takes time to understand why people whack themselves, and more time to explain why it’s a bad thing to do. After the pause, listen for the whistle because the show goes on.

  3. Terry Thomas says:

    I have always found the wrestling room a great place to develope and grow friendships. I still am in contact with my high school wrestling friends and coach after 45 years.

    • David Gillaspie says:

      Hi Terry,

      It’s great to know the bond runs deep. Today’s wrestlers are making the same bond with their coaches and teammates. Sometimes that part of the sport gets sidetracked, but it is the lasting reward.

      David

Your Comments Go Here Please

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 90 other followers

Click It

Good to see you

Categories

READER RATING

An Oregon Thing

VooDoo Duck

Archives

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 90 other followers

%d bloggers like this: