November 1, 2011 by David Gillaspie
WRESTLING IS HOW OLD? REAL OLD
Finding the oldest sports document in the world adds to the historical importance of sport.
That alone is cause for celebration.
Discovering it in an Egyptian trash pile gives it an authenticity you can’t fake.
You might have doubts if it turned up in an Iowa landfill, or an Oklahoma recycling center.
Interpreting it from the original Greek to learn it’s a 2000 year old wrestling coach’s manual? What else would you expect?
After the Columbia University presentation ceremony for the ancient wrestling artifact, Dan Gable said, “I like it when the sport of wrestling gets pointed out from a historical point of view.”
History is good for wrestling.
Wasn’t Coach Herodotus, also the Father of History, talking about Pennsylvania wrestling when he said, “He is the best man who, when making his plans, fears and reflects on everything that can happen to him, but in the moment of action is bold.”
What he meant to say was go on the whistle, don’t wait for the other guy to go first.
Plato explained New Jersey wrestling with, “Apply yourself both now and in the next life. Without effort, you cannot be prosperous. Though the land be good, you cannot have an abundant crop without cultivation.”
He meant get in the best shape ever and wear your opponents down. Your plans for victory start with conditioning.
What did Homer mean when he said this about Ohio wrestling, “Words empty as the wind are best left unsaid?”
Talking the talk is not the same as walking the walk. Set your goals and work toward them before sharing your success.
Coach Aristotle said about Michigan wrestling, “Good habits formed at youth make all the difference.”
He meant listen to Wrestling Moms when they say it’s time to go to practice.
Coach Plutarch reminds Oregon wrestlers with, “A pleasant and happy life does not come from external things: man draws from within himself, as from a spring, pleasure and joy.”
Don’t skip class or practice because someone not wrestling wants you to go with them. Be strong enough to live the convictions your sport demands from you. Tell others what you’re doing in class and in practice and take them with you instead.
Democritus speaks to Louisiana wrestlers with, “Everywhere man blames nature and fate, yet his fate is mostly but the echo of his character and passions, his mistakes and weaknesses.”
Doesn’t he mean force yourself to do the right thing and you’ll get the rewards you’ve worked for. If you don’t realize your dreams, at least you’ll be on the right track.
Sophocles tells Alabama wrestlers, “Every man will fall, though born a man, proudly presumes to be a superman.”
If he was talking about wrestling, he meant you will lose some and win some, and learn from both.
If he was talking about LSU vs Alabama this weekend, he was confused. That is the game of the year between two teams of supermen. Win or lose, it’s still LSU and The Crimson Tide, the closest to supermen we’ll see this year.
The ceremony for the found ancient wrestling manual in New York City gathered wrestling greats from around America. From Olympians to Olympic champions, from World champions to medalists, they came to pay tribute. When you watch the end of the video, you’ll see them all on stage.
If these men transported back to ancient Greece, you’d know them today by their images in marble statues like the Greeks above. They would go back to Athens and stomp the same way they stomped the world during their competitive days.
Most important, the first known wrestling manual isn’t all about them any more than it’s all about you. The truth is, agree or disagree, it is more about you than it is the greats of yesterday. They are about legacy and leaving the sport better than they found it.
You will do a better job than them because you have longer to study the masters. Remember, start on the whistle.