Now that the Friday Night Lights of high school football is coming to a close in the Midwestern United States, the attention of many will turn to high school wrestling. It is growing in popularity in small town Missouri. Oddly, I was a wrestler from the city.
I believe in the sport. I lived it. I know the values that comes with it. It the things that are learned on the mat are applied to life; they will completely dominate in anything they do. I have far more success in life because of wrestling than I even saw on the mat.
Many of my memories in high school are about wrestling. I was at Park Hill High School on my 16th birthday wrestling in a tournament when most people would think I would be rushing to get my driver license. I missed a boxing show (I was a boxer too) for the city meet. The list goes on and on.
Wrestling is a sport that drives a lot of young men in the Midwest though. I have found it to be more popular is small town with one high school. Towns that will literal rival each other and the duel get the towns out to see who will win the match this year.
The challenge before the sport of wrestling
On the international level, there has been discussion of moving wrestling off the list for the Summer Games. I am not sure how you would have the Olympics without wrestling, the iconic sport that started it off…. but they want to for some reason. It is popular in pockets but it seems to have challenges on the larger scale.
An example of this would be in Missouri. Most of the good programs are in town of 3,000 people or less and the cities like St. Louis and Kansas City put out few champions historically. There are dynamics that are creating this that are much bigger than just wrestling. Education in the urban communities seems to be lacking in general.