Wrestling With WTF

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August 6, 2010 by David Gillaspie

For most, the word wrestling works best as a metaphor, a way to connect two ideas.

For example, when you hear about a school ‘wrestling with budget issues’ it’s nice way to describe some fat administrator stabbing colleagues in the back.

An even better example comes in the way the University of Oregon cut wrestling to add baseball and competitive cheer.  The fat administrator in charge, the FAIC, was a character straight out of Dickens, an insurance tycoon on a power trip.  This guy doesn’t have the organ donor box checked on his driver’s license because he has no heart.

Then the courts decided competitive cheer isn’t even a sport.  Lucky for someone there isn’t a brain transplant program.

Is wrestling a metaphor for wrestlers and ex-wrestlers?  Sure it is, and it works even better.

This is for you guys.

When you hear the weatherman explain how people are ‘wrestling with extreme conditions’, think of the circumstances of your sport.  It’s extreme all the time.  It’s always too hot, too demanding, too much.  But where else would you want to be?

Count how many wrestlers make the transition to the octagon.  Mark Palmer, http://www.examiner.com/x-7334-College-Wrestling-Examiner, is keeping a pretty thorough list of wrestlers thumping on MMA.  They literally put the BEAT in beat down.

Beyond the confines of wrestling, participants and fans run into to conflicts when a situation feels like a wrestling match and the ref has just blown his whistle.  We all know what that means.

My wife woke me up in the middle of the night recently saying she thought she might need to go to the hospital.  That was a whistle if I ever heard one.  I flew out of bed, jumped into my duds and said let’s go.

A little back story: We were in the Alhambra in Granada, Spain staying at the America Hotel.  No car, no telephone, and no speakie Spanish.  I heard the whistle blow.

“What are you going to do?” she asked.  “There’s no taxi, you don’t know where to go, and you don’t speak Spanish.”

I heard the whistle again.  She was having breathing problems.  I looked at the old air conditioner and thought of Legionnaire’s  Disease, the fatal air conditioner disease found in Philadelphia’s Bellevue Stratford hotel in the mid-seventies, and wanted to evacuate.

“I’m feeling a little better  Let’s wait until daylight,” she said.

I don’t know how other people respond, but a whistle is a whistle.

The walk toward the front of the place went through the open air restaurant with trees and birds in the daytime, shadows at night.

My plan of attack was to make as much noise as it took before someone showed up.  An old man appeared from the opposite side of the front desk.

Score one.

I said, “Emergencia.  Taxi.  Telephono.”

He called for a radio cab.

Score two.

I said the same thing to the taxi driver, adding “Hospital” as in “osbital” which is how I ended up with my wife at one of the local hospitals in the middle of the night.

Score three.

We stayed together until they discovered her problem, then chased me out during her treatment.  I sat in a waiting room while every emergency in Granada came through the front door, some in handcuffs.  When there was a crowd of confusion I’d slip by to the treatment area to see how things were going.

Score four.

Treatment in Spain will last two more days so I found a place across from the hospital to wait it out and visit.

You might guess Spanish medicine is a different practice than America.  It’s okay to smoke in Spain, even in a hospital room with patients on oxygen.  The steps outside the front door of the place is littered thick with butts from visitors, patients, and medical people in their scrubs.

During my first visit to the room she was admitted to they rolled a dead guy down the hall with his family wailing behind.  As a wrestler you try to set an opponent up so they respond to the expected while you do the unexpected.  I saw the dead guy as a good omen for my wife.  She’ll be up and around and walking out soon.

Score five.


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