The Real Reason for Wrestling

By Randy Hanson

The year is not important. The magic of two great coaches, Mike Pierro and Bob Smith is very important. Their combined passion for the sport of wrestling and their inventiveness, when working with junior high wrestlers, is without equal.

On a January afternoon long ago, I watched Bob’s and Mike’s teams compete against each other. Prior to the match, which was the last match of the season, Mike and Bob sat down with each other and created a menu of individual matches that would reward and challenge each wrestler. It would also highlight “what’s best for the sport of wrestling.” Working together, they were able to demonstrate, to their wrestlers and the families of their wrestlers, how truly special wrestling can be when the opposing coaches place the greatest emphasis on the growth and development of each wrestler, and not on winning. Continue reading

Parents Being Fans

By Randy Hanson

I have been a wrestler, a wrestling coach, an educator, a father of a wrestler, a father of a wrestling coach, the grandfather of a wrestler and a lifelong learner. Yesterday I attended a youth wrestling tournament. I witnessed some things that confused me. The young athletes, trying their best, were not the source of my confusion. The behavior of the parents was the source of my confusion. Allow me to explain.

While at the tournament I observed parents, who are not the coaches, leave the bleachers to stand or sit next to the mats for as long as they felt like it. Obviously, each of these self-appointed coaches didn’t honor the rights of the people in the bleachers to see the matches being wrestled.  Their presence at the mat was accompanied by their yelling at their wrestler. I thought motivating and guiding the athlete was the responsibility of the coach. How wrong I was. Continue reading