Open The Wrestling Door

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May 11, 2010 by David Gillaspie

When it’s too dark to see inside, but the sun shines outside, open the door.  When the air is foul inside, but fresh outside, open the door.

If an organization takes its customer base for granted, ignores rising costs, and makes little perceived effort to change, it will fail.  It will lose the goodwill and confidence it once had.  

If the customer base hasn’t changed direction and still needs the services offered by the offending organization, they will find those services elsewhere. 

But where is that?

People at the top of their profession have certain goals.  One might be to stay at the top and maintain their lifestyle. 

If a top dog wants to remain on top badly enough, they’ll do whatever it takes to stay there, including running the organization into the ground and jumping ship at the last second to leave the mess for others.

How bad did Bernie Madoff, the imprisoned financial schemer, want to stay on top of his ponzi game?  Bad enough to trash everyone he knew by taking their money.

How bad did baseball players want to remain in the game?  Bad enough to take the spike of performance enhancing products.  The same with pro football players.  They knew if they didn’t juice they’d lose their jobs to someone who did.

Is USA Wrestling doing their job better than their rival groups?

USA Wrestling evolved from the United States Wrestling Federation and the United States Wrestling Association.  Those groups grew from the disappointing performance of Amateur Athletic Union wrestling teams.

The interesting part of moving one group out to make room for another are the parties involved.  The United States Olympic Committee wouldn’t recognize the USWF until the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles accepted them instead of the AAU.  It took an act of Congress, the Amateur Sports Act of 1978, along with establishing the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum, to move the needle toward the USWF.

From wiki:

“USA Wrestling today has more than 159,000 members, composed of wrestlers, coaches, officials, state federations, and others interested in the sport. The organization is governed by a Board of Directors, including of a President, the preceding past President, two Vice Presidents, a Secretary, a Treasurer, and various members, including active wrestlers, the chairman of the state chairmen’s council, representatives from the Kids and Junior Divisions, and representatives from the NCAA, the NAIA, the NFHS, the NJCAA, the National Wrestling Coaches Association, the Armed Forces Sports Council, the United States Wrestling Officials Association, and other associations that may be involved in amateur wrestling. An executive director (currently Rich Bender) supervises the day to day operations of USA Wrestling with his staff.”

That’s a lot of people to keep moving the same direction.  The best part of the entry: 

“Steve Combs, a suburban Chicago high school wrestling coach, succeeded Myron Roderick as executive director of USWF in 1974 and from then on membership increased tenfold. Combs sought to strengthen the state wrestling federations and provided them with literature, films, clinics, and other educational resources to promote the sport.”

Bright lights and fresh air are good for everyone, just make sure you have a reliable power source in the gym before switching on the fans and the spots.  The National United Wrestling Association for Youth, NUWAY, is taking a shot in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and other states.  The switch is on there.   

When the AAU dropped the wrestling gear, an earlier version of USA Wrestling stepped in.  Now NUWAY is stepping in.  In a competition for improving wrestling around the country, the wrestlers will be the winners.  How can that be a bad deal?


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