This past week I posted a 2011 and 2012 NCAA wrestling model on the USA Wrestling site and forum. I hope to create a model yearly. I am a big wrestling fan, it rules over football and basketball (I like all sports – but nothing compares to both the mental and physical anguish that wrestlers endure). Over the years there were several debates on the forum over the best pound for pound wrestlers, not only over all weight classes, but over the years. This got me to think; well maybe I can create a model to help settle the debate. I did not get the feedback I had hoped for, but most was positive. However, the last post stated “They don't work so don't waste your time!!!”
It was surprising to find such a remark on a wrestling site. I know many think I am a pessimist, but I do not give up, I am not a quitter. Wrestlers do not give up; in fact you will find some of the best attitudes amongst wrestlers. Wrestlers are the last individuals that will be dependent on someone else, especially the federal government. As Dan Gable (considered one of America’s greatest wrestlers and coaches) said “Wrestling teaches us to fight off our backs” in life. Wrestlers don’t quit!
Two years back Iowa’s Ryan Morningstar tore his ACL in the 3rd place match at the Big Ten Tournament – Two weeks later he finished his season as an All American – 7th place (on one leg) at the NCAA championships.
This year, Penn State’s Frank Molinaro dislocated his knee cap in his second match at the NCAA championships. He went on to win his last 3 matches and the NCAA title.
Hofstra’s Justin Accordino missed two years because of several significant knee and leg injuries. He finished 6th at this year’s NCAA championships.
Iowa’s Derek St. John suffered a severe knee injury in late December, two months later he won the Big 10 Championships and finished 2nd at the NCAA championships.
Last year, Jordan Conaway, a 112 pound state champion in Pennsylvania committed to Penn State even though there was a lot of competition enrolled at 125 pounds at Penn State. Conaway said “I will get the crap kicked out me every day, but it will make me a better wrestler”.
Last year, Wisconsin’s Andrew Howe tore his hamstring muscle from the bone, less than two months later he finished 3rd at the NCAA championships.
Last year, Anthony Robles won the NCAA championship; he merely had to overcome being born with one leg!
Every year dozens of wrestlers show up at the NCAA championships with significant leg injuries.
In some tournaments wrestlers can wrestle up to 6 or 7 matches a day, all while cutting as much as 10% of their body mass. You will not see any other athlete go through such physical pain, mental anguish, or fight through injuries more than wrestlers. Picture this, the NCAA wrestling champion limps on the podium with his leg wrapped and packed with ice, a black eye, and gauze protecting a head wound – and this is the guy that won. Wrestling makes individuals tough and battle tested to face what life throws at them. Wrestling makes individuals better people and there is no such thing as defeatism in wrestling!