Compared To What?

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September 2, 2010 by David Gillaspie

(inspired by

Compare a wrestling match to a ballgame, any ballgame.

Football takes under an hour on the clock.  Basketball the same.  Baseball takes as long as it takes.

Wrestling takes under ten minutes.  The ballplayers all say, “See, your match can’t be as hard as a game because it’s so short.”

If you hear that line, then ballplayer hasn’t been to a tournament.  Big or small, a tournament runs everyone through the gamut of emotions.  Win or lose, you go out again and again.

Lose a ballgame and you’ve got a team to share it with.  Lose a wrestling match and you’ve got…?

Wrestling compares to nothing else because nothing else is what everyone else is already doing.  No competition will take you higher or lower than wrestling. 

If you fail half the time at the plate in baseball then you’re the greatest hitter ever born to bat .500.

If you fail half the time shooting the long ball in basketball, you are the go-to scorer at 50%.

Failure in football is more complicated because your failure either makes others fail, or their failure makes you fail.

If you’re 50/50 in wrestling matches it means the same as real life.  You’re average.

But there’s more.

Don’t try and convince anyone that an average wrestler is a better athlete than a good ballplayer.  They either know it, or they don’t care one way or the other.

Instead, turn ballplayers into wrestlers so they can see what they’ve been missing.

Stumpy point guard with the quick cross-over needs some mat time.  Pulling tackle on the O-line needs to improve his lateral movement on the mats.  Centerfielder with the wheels and the rocket arm needs to work on his jump, his anticipation. 

Get them on the mat.

Since all sports come from the same source, which is competition, then all sports can benefit from the original.  (hint: it starts with a w.)

To stretch it further, all non-athletes could use some mat time.  That doesn’t mean drag someone out of the library, but it does mean being an advocate for the sport.

As an advocate you need to decide which groups would benefit most from wrestling.  An easy choice are the gear-heads and shop monkeys in Industrial Arts.  Before you approach them, scout them out.  What do they do between class?  If they head for the parking lot and light up, you’ve got unexpected challenges in bringing them in.

Look in the after-school science lab for the best recruits.  Number One, they’re already staying late.  Number Two, they don’t have girlfriends if they’re true blue nerds.  And most important, Number Three, they’ve been picked on and made fun of.

As a wrestling advocate you can address every concern. 

Number One:  “Wrestling is an experiment just like the lab, except our lab is padded.  We use physics and chemistry just like you.”

Number Two:  “Mat girls are the best girls in any school.  Girls who like being around guys who fight and sweat won’t back down from much.”

Number Three:  “Your mushy little body needs help.  No wonder you get picked on.  At least with wrestling you’ll have a chance to walk away from a bully knowing you could kick their butt if you wanted.  You can’t do that now, can you?”

Wrestling compared to doing nothing is too long a leap.  Comparing it with other sports invites confusion.  So compare it with making an effort, with making discoveries, with building self-esteem and confidence.  Wrestling does all that.

Compare wrestling to the best people you know and think how much better they’d be if they were wrestlers.

Then be that person.


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