CSU: While you Adjusted Sails in the Winds of Change, You Blew Opportunities
for Dedicated Young Men
by Josephine Gartrell
“The decision to no longer fund wrestling at CSU was a very difficult one. . . ., said John Parry.
“Program prioritization,” it is called.
“Lacrosse is the fastest growing sport. . . .”
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Every cloud has a silver lining. When the winds of change blow, find opportunities. All good in theory, but I believe that the young men of the Cleveland State Wrestling Team are thinking more along the lines of, “Why is life so unfair?” Perhaps, the entire wrestling community is asking the same question. Perhaps wrestlers across this great nation of ours are wondering when their program will be dropped for the more popular kid in school.
I married into wrestling. I grew up with a mom and a sister, took ballet and tap dance, gymnastics, and gave it my all in Ponytail softball – a sport in which I demonstrated profound deficiencies. However, over the last three years, I have become an avid an Ohio State Wrestling fan, and have so much admiration for the young men on that team. Let me explain why.
Ninety percent of success in life is showing up. In wrestling, that figure moves to one hundred percent. It is not just the top of the house in wrestling to whom this applies. Those who have never seen a wrestler’s workout have no idea of the level of intensity. Every one of them is working harder than most of us could even imagine. Jump rope for seven minutes – see if that is hard. Watch a wrestler for seven minutes – there is no comparison. Cross-Fit – move over.
Those who have never watched young men on any stage, no matter how large or small, pace up and down the mats awaiting their bout (I think that’s what it is called), should have a look. Imagine being involved in a sport where you have been working at one hundred percent for years, where every nutritional choice could be a matter of loss or victory, where you are expected to quash the normal college experience in many respects, . . . and then imagine that the other guy pacing the mats could hand you your head on a platter in a matter of seconds. Your intensity and performance are only as good as your opponent’s lack thereof.
Yet, wrestlers are by nature workers. They are intense. They want victory. Every time they hit the mats, they know that there is no guarantee of a win. All they know how to do is show up and fight through seven minutes – with no one but themselves to fall back on. After seven minutes (assuming all goes relatively well), one is called a winner and one is called a loser. The loser should almost garner more respect than the winner because his sport will require him or her to get back in the saddle in no time to wrestle back and hope for a placement. Not easy after a literal butt-kicking.
This is not necessarily meant to be a knock on the character or dedication of lacrosse players. The sports are definitely different, and many would argue that lacrosse is more “fun” – to play and watch. However, it appears that CSU’s move is just another example of how our society blows whimsically through changing times without consideration of what grounds us. We value money and fun more than perseverance, self-reliance and discipline. That is the lesson that these young wrestlers just learned; unfortunately, as their scholarships just blew away.