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Monona Grove / McFarland

Monona Grove / McFarland

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Oct, 2023

Why Wrestle?

There are so many sports. Soooooooooo many. You can almost imagine how some of these sports came to be.

--Company forgot to send a backboard? We'll call it Netball.
--Too warm to keep ice frozen? We'll call it Underwater Hockey.
--Was that horse bobbing its head to the radio? We'll call it Horse Dancing.
-- ... Wait, is that too ridiculous? Scrap the sport? Nah. Let's just give it a fancy French name instead. We'll call it Dressage

With a list of options as far as your imagination can stretch, it begs the question, Why wrestle?

FOUNDATION - If you've got a primary sport in the fall or spring, or you're simply young enough that you haven't found a favorite yet, the answer is easy. The best wrestler in US history, Cael Sanderson, sums it up perfectly:

"Wrestling is the perfect foundation for all other sports. Wrestling is balance, agility, hand-eye coordination, flexibility, positioning, strength, speed, explosiveness, footwork, hustle, mental focus, mental toughness, core strength, concentration, competition, and endurance. Wrestling will make you better at all other sports." 

Just look at football. After wrestling, tacklers are going to have immaculate form, better grip strength, and 1,000 little tricks to bring down a runner. Linemen are going to have elite hand-fighting and stamina to play overtime period after overtime period. Ball carriers are going to have unequalled balance and hips to shed non-wrestler tackles.

Or, you can zoom out passed individual skills and just note this. A coach’s explanation for why you missed out on the “A Team” is never going include “You were simply too tough.”

Plus, the heart of wrestling is perseverance, and maybe the worst thing you can do in any sport is quit.

The answer to the question Why Wrestle? does not rely solely on its relationship to other sports though. Wrestling also teaches two real-life, practical skills, while for most sports, that number is zero.

SELF DEFENSE – Most people won’t regularly need to fend off would-be attackers. Life has changed since the days of the Wild West, or even the mid-50s, when Biff Tannen roamed the earth. But, the peace of mind knowing you could defend yourself, if needed, is invaluable, even for situations as common as walking to your car in a parking lot at night.

Also, if we’re honest, the situation of having to physically defend yourself is infinitely more likely in a post-sporting life than needing to run with knives on your feet, bounce a ball with precision, hit a piece of rubber with a stick accurately, or embellish a fall to get someone else in trouble!

HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH WEIGHT – A caveat here is that in youth wrestling, weight management is essentially non-existent. You weigh what you weigh.

At the elite levels of youth wrestling, competitions with set weights are infrequent, but they do exist. Even then, the extent of weight management is generally whether to eat breakfast before or after you weigh in.

But starting in high school, there are weight classes, and you need to “make weight.” Many people equate that with starving yourself and miss out on the much larger picture.

In managing your weight, you monitor your weight. You become intimate with the amount of weight your body loses during a workout. You learn the value of hydration. You study nutrition in an extremely hands-on way, as you learn which foods are the most efficient at providing your body energy without empty weight. You become hyper-aware of how empty “empty calorie” foods are.

Weight Watchers has existed for 60 years, with a cornerstone to their success being regularly monitoring your weight. Wrestlers have it ingrained in them, without paying the $20 per month!

Again with SELF DEFENSE and HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH WEIGHT, wrestling is looked at as a means to an end, not the end itself. If you’re choosing a sport for the sport itself, ignoring everything it does, the answer to Why Wrestle? is quite simple.

Wrestling is the most pure of all the sports. No balls, no pucks, no difficult surfaces, no inclement weather, no teammates. It’s you and your opponent*. That’s it.

(*No matter how big or small you are, your opponent is the same size, which adds a level of fairness few other sports have.)

When you compete, it’s hard. The surface of a diamond, hard. You’re using your entire body, head-to-toe, simultaneously. You’re often maxing out your exertion, but also continuously wrestling for a minute or more straight. Anaerobic AND Aerobic. It requires everything.

Then, whether it’s JV in the Tulsa National finals or a first-year wrestler at the Brodhead Beginner’s tourney, after you’ve pushed yourself as hard as you can, and you win, the referee raises your hand. The feeling of that doesn’t exist in other sports. 

Why wrestle? For this...

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