July 19, 2010 by David Gillaspie
THE FIRST MATCH
Safety is the biggest reason for having a sanctioning body over sports. Things get out of hand in the heat of competition.
The first wrestling match wasn’t sanctioned by USA Wrestling, NUWAY, or NCAA. No state or national group rolled out a mat, put a guy with a whistle in the middle, and had the opponents shake hands.
And it turned out poorly. Here’s what happened: Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam and Eve, grew up. One, Cain, became a farmer; Abel a rancher.
Abel found favor with his offerings to God. Cain did not. In a surprise ending, Cain won the first match. The farmer killed the rancher, which seems like it should be the other way around when you think of cowboys and sod-busters.
The underdog won, but at what cost? Banishment.
Is it a biblical stretch to call Cain and Abel wrestlers? If they were like any brothers I’ve heard of, they were wrestlers. For evidence, consider the Brands brothers, the Schultz brothers, the Carr brothers, the Smith brothers, the Hazewinkels, the Scherrs, the Petersons, and the Russells.
If Gable had a wrestling brother, no one ever saw him.
Cain and Abel needed a ref, even though it’s said God was watching over them. Since Adam and Eve were the only other human’s on earth at the time, God didn’t have his attention as spread out as today.
After older brother Cain killed younger brother Abel, the rules of engagement changed. Victory did not include death in recreational combat because death is not a part of recreational activity.
The rule book got refined as wrestling matches grew. So did the spirit within wrestlers.
Gene Davis and Athletes In Action spread the words of Jesus Christ and wrestling. Lincoln McIlravy does it with Wrestlers Of Faith.
Brandon Slay’s motto became “Do your best and let God take care of the rest!”
He says, “If we are obedient and doing the natural, God will do the super if it’s according to His Will.”
Pastor Dan Russell says this, “I got to the edge of the mat, I closed my eyes and I asked myself two questions. I knew if I could answer those two questions correctly, I was a champion.
“The first: Have I, in practice, given 100 percent to be the best I could be with what I have been given?
“If the answer is, ‘Yes,’ the second: Am I willing to go out now and give 100 percent to be the best I can be with what I have been given?
“If the answer is, ‘Yes,’ no matter what the score, you’re a champion. And you’ll win more than you lose.”
When you consider the results of the first wrestling match, it isn’t a surprise to find so many future wrestlers embracing the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. An opponent wrestling for Jesus will stick you the same as any other wrestler, but at least you’ll know going in that they won’t kill you on purpose.
The important part of religious wrestlers is how they give back to the sport. They know they are lethal weapons, that they’ve trained their bodies to do extraordinary things. And they’re willing to show others.
Before you decide to place a pinch of Cope between cheek and gum, or stay out too late doing what you know better than doing, consider the names mentioned here. Take a look at a list of wrestling greats and see the difference between you and them.
Hint: it’s more than a win/loss record and the number of medals hanging in a trophy case.