“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream another dream.” – C.S. Lewis
If you had asked me a couple of months ago what I was going to do during the baseball off season, I would have shrugged my shoulders and said, I don’t know – long for spring? Just like Rogers Hornsby:
People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.
But I’ve set a new goal, to learn a new sport. Specifically amateur wrestling. Until recently, my knowledge of amateur wrestling was limited to this one clip from the 1974 movie, The Wrestler:
Granted, it does have the great Dan Gable! It’s lacking so much more! Living on the east coast with so many great schools, and thanks to ESPN, there’s so much more to learn. And this weekend was a banner weekend for learning the sport!
My educational weekend started Thursday night, with the George Mason University Patriots (with new head coach Frank Beasley) hosting the Oregon State Beavers. The Beavers are currently ranked #22 in the nation. I’ve been to two other wrestling events this season, the GMU wrestle offs, and the NWCA All Star meet, so this was my first dual meet. And boy, did I learn a lot! I still can’t tell you what all the holds are, but I did find it interesting that coaches actually can make a challenge! This happened once (and almost twice) during the match. The first time, Coach Beasley challenged a late second take down during the 157 pound match. If the call stood, it would have made it 6-2 Oregon in the match. The matches were being recorded from a couple different angles, and the referee went to the table to review the tape.
Unfortunately for GMU, the call was upheld. But who knew there were challenges in wrestling!?!
Another thing I picked up on is who takes the down position for periods 2 and 3. At the wrestle offs at GMU, they flipped a coin at the start of every match. I noticed they didn’t do that at this dual. Turns out they decide that at the beginning of the meet! Another lesson!
I can’t say I know every hold and take down that wrestlers do during the match. In fact, I don’t even know if my terminology is even right, but I did capture a great takedown by the Beavers in this sequence that I “think” involved a fireman’s carry. At least that’s what the great Gordon Solie on Championship Wrestling from Florida would call it!
The Patriots came up on the short end of the dual, losing to the Beavers 32-9, but the final score wasn’t indicative of the effort put forth by the GMU team. Most of the matches were competitive through the first two periods, with the Beavers pulling away in the final period. I spoke with Coach Beasley afterwards, and he said they were dealing with quite a few injuries and illness. “We had to move a lot of wrestlers around, moving kids up in weight class. We had kids out with injuries, illness, and cuts that wouldn’t heal. And I hate to forfeit matches.” More photos from this dual meet are below!
While surfing around Friday and Saturday on ESPN, I stumbled upon aa couple of great matches. Friday’s match was between number one ranked Penn State vs. Binghamton, and Saturday it was Central Michigan vs Michigan State. What GREAT learning experiences! I got to see some fantastic matches and some great announcing that helped me learn about the sport even more. Including how much of a team sport this is!
For example, I knew the basic difference in scoring between a decision, a fall, a major decision, and a technical fall. But the Penn State wrestlers were not only looking to defeat their opponents, but by racking up extra points individually, the team would score more points if it was a major decision (winning by 8 points or more) or a technical fall (basically wrestling’s version of the “mercy rule”).
I also learned more about near falls. I thought the only way to earn a near fall was if a wrestler was turned for a four count, and the wrestler in control would gain four points. But I saw wrestlers getting two points in some cases for near falls. So it’s just a matter of time! While I am not ready to subscribe to FloWrestling.org, it’s great to know I can pick up some matches on ESPN!
Like any new learning experience, I am still learning how to shoot wrestling matches. But as the saying goes, anything worth doing is worth doing well. And I look forward to improving my skills at shooting matches. And learning more about this sport!