June 16, 2010 by David Gillaspie
DG’s B&B turned one year old recently. The numbers tell part of the story. Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Oregon came in with thousands of wrestling hits. Michigan is right in there. Others came in strong. Deegees B&B reached across the country to spread the word, mostly the wrestling word.
At least it seems that way.
Wrestling Room with over two thousand hits is about sharing a last visit with the old coach.
Wrestling With Care with over a thousand hits tells about the benefits of wrestling toward caregiving.
The theme of wrestling runs through most of the two hundred thirty-six posts. The birthday question is, why? With over a hundred thousand words printed here, why so much on wrestling?
The easy answer is why not? But since wrestling isn’t easy, why settle on the easy answer?
Here’s the real answer: Sports opens doors.
If you are a good student you can go places to become a better student; if you are a poor student that road is not open. If you are a good athlete but a poor student the road is still not open, but you’ll find a rec league sport.
If you are a good athlete and a good student, doors fly open. Some open doors shouldn’t be open by the sound of the NCAA rules violations.
The wrestling part of opening doors for you is both external and internal. External doors open in the Ivy League, the Big Ten, and any conference worth a hoot. If you wrestle hard and make the grades you are welcome to the school of your choice, so choose wisely.
The internal doors are up for discussion. Do they exist? Who has the key? The answers are, Yes they exist, and You have the key.
How does wrestling open doors and other sports don’t, you ask? Good question.
Most every other sport in America has an overriding rule: Keep Your Eye On The Ball.
Baseball players learn to look a pitch into the catcher’s glove. Football players learn to run with the ball in the opposite side of a tackler. Basketball players learn to dribble without watching the ball, but they feel it, the bond with it until they know where the ball is going before they decide to shoot or pass.
Wrestling is like art investigation where an inspector stares at a painting looking and looking and looking for a sign. What’s he looking for? Forgery. When you pay big bucks for a piece of art you want the real think, not some paint-by-numbers knock off. Every artist has a ‘tell’, something consistent from one piece to the next. The experts gain their status by identifying the ‘tell.’ So does the forger. You just hope the guy you hire to make the call on authenticity is better than the forger.
This relates to wrestling by the act of concentrating on what’s in front of you. There’s no ball to watch, no teammate to track, no goal to score. Instead, it’s just another wrestler.
There’s no elaborate uniform to protect your head and shoulders, no name stitched across the back, just the most minimal of gear needed to go out in public.
The non-wrestling world spooks at the one on one aspect of the sport, and the lack of uniform. They may have a point on both counts but do the opinions of fat couch potatoes addicted to Sports Center Updates really matter?
Once you step out on the mat in a singlet you are good to go. You obviously don’t have stage fright. You are not timid. You don’t back down. The internal doors open. Wrestling will make you a better student because if you can overcome obstacles in the wrestling room, you can do the same in the classroom.
If you make the grade in the classroom, but have had enough wrestling, you can still go the academic route. Wrestling in college isn’t for everybody, but at least high school wrestlers who go to college bring a drive to succeed with them. They know what it takes.
Do former wrestlers know how to get others in the sport? They can wait until they get married and have kids who wrestle, but that’s a ways down the line. In the meantime wrestling needs you.
Find a freshman who looks like he’s got the right stuff and encourage them to wrestle. Find a junior with an attitude and aim him toward the wrestling room. Ask your coach if there’s more he’d like you to do before you graduate.
Here’s another idea: swamp the blogosphere with wrestling blogs. Go to wordpress.com and start your wrestling blog. Get with teammates and do one together. Write short pieces on practice, technique, impact, diet, coaching, trips, friends, and tag every post with “amateur wrestling”, “high school wrestling”, “college wrestling”, and other single words that describe your content like diet, sports, coaching, etc.
What this does is bump the profile of wrestling in areas usually reserved for pictures of kittens and vacations, along with posts with relationship advice, financial advice, and appearance advice. “10 ways to find true love”, “The 7 essentials of wealth management”, “3 ways to lose ten pounds.”
There’s plenty of room for your wrestling posts, like “How to bounce your opponent’s head on the mat with the snap down from hell”, “How to cinch an armbar”, “Head and Arm, the hidden truth.”
The more wrestling blogs the better. Link to each others blog. Follow each others blog. Subscribe to each others blog. Make a big splash together. If you drill a move a thousand times before using it in a match you’ll have a good chance of scoring. If you drill it and write about it you’ll get it locked in your brain sooner than later.
Will writing a blog matter? It’s a discipline. You already know about discipline. You know about good habits. Discipline is a good habit. It balances bad habits.
And we all know how important balance is. Now take three minutes and start your blog, then take another three and write a post. It’s that easy, and that hard.
Just like wrestling.
Why write a blog? Is it a coincidence that the best wrestling is at the University of Iowa along with the best writing program, The Iowa Writers Workshop? Wrestling and writing seem to go together.
You’ve done one, now do the other.