Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Wrestling Can Help Kids Grapple with Life Lessons

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Wrestling Can Help Kids Grapple with Life Lessons

Article excerpt

The origin of wrestling goes back 15,000 years, but I only really stumbled across it when my own son started wrestling a couple of years ago. What I found was not only an amazing spectator sport, but one that promotes tremendous life lessons for young athletes.

Because of how physically and mentally demanding wrestling is, it takes a certain type of competitor to participate. It also takes a certain type of parent to have the confidence in their child to challenge themselves to grapple against an opponent.

"It's much easier to watch your son have a ball stolen from them than to see someone put them in a headlock," said Mater Dei wrestling coach Greg Schafer. "Because of that, you tend to have families that haven't grown up wrestling or watching the sport not have their children involved at an early enough age as much as those who have."

The more time I've spent around wrestling, the more I quickly have come to appreciate the value for ANY athlete participating in it. Key attributes that wrestling develops include

Humility: In a sport where it is only you and your opponent on the mat, you learn to appreciate how hard it is to be successful. There is no one out there to blame or credit other than you. Since you can't hide or point fingers when things don't go your way, you learn to grow more from failure and success. "Wrestling is the most unforgiving sport," said former Mater Dei wrestling coach Mike Goebel, "because unless you win state, you probably end your season with a loss."

"Very few people go through their career undefeated," said Schaefer. "Knowing that, so much of success in wrestling is about how you deal with a loss. Ultimately, that makes you the person you are."

Resiliency: Unlike competitors in other sports where you may not touch the ball or be involved constantly, wrestlers are always engaged while up against pressure and adversity throughout a match.

Because of the constant challenge, there is not enough time to feel sorry for yourself when things don't go your way in a match. The ability to bounce back is important.

Memorial coach Larry Mattingly said those lessons tend to shape not only the wrestler you will eventually become but even the greater life lessons that are drawn from that. …

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