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Putting Pride On The Line.


The Wrestling Ref Waits. via

The sound you hear in Oregon, all up and down the west coast, comes from wrestling families.

It’s championship weekend.

Oregon high school wrestlers meet on the mats inside Memorial Coliseum starting Friday.

By Saturday night every place on the podium will be filled, all medals hung.

Sunday the big daddies of PAC 12 wrestling roll into Gill Coliseum at Oregon State to discuss who will move on to the national championships.

The Beavers have their sites set on a fourth consecutive conference title. They will be ready to rumble.

What are the wrestling families buzzing about?

Wrestling Noise.

Be sure no one is complaining about sports coverage. No one complains about wrestling’s profile.

Right now nothing matters more than the next match. Why? Seniors have at least two more matches. If they lose the first they’ll find themselves on the loser’s bracket. The next match will be their last if they lose.

Kids who have been in the sport since age five will hang it up. Some never do.

Moms and dads will need to find something else to do for the winter months after a decade of support. They might learn to talk to each other, but they’ll miss real communication.

Something happens between couples when they watch their son do the impossible, like take down a number one seeded opponent.

The Ups And Downs.

They’ve seen their wrestler win and lose, usually more losses before the winning. In wrestling families everyone wins and loses together.

The world changes with each loss. What went wrong? What needs to change?

That same world stands still with a win on Oregon’s biggest high school stage. No one wants the moment to end.

The right win changes lives.

Life changing opportunities for top Oregon wrestlers means a chance to compete in college. For an NCAA Division I opportunity they trek to Corvallis.

For a chance to win a NAIA title, they go to Ashland and Southern Oregon University.

Clackamas Community College invites wrestlers to win a junior college championship.

Oregon has enough wrestlers to fill teams at more colleges. Except all colleges don’t have teams.

Count On Wrestling.

The PAC 12 fields six teams, three in California, one each in Arizona, Idaho, and Oregon. None in Washington.

A PAC 12 with six teams shows a math deficiency.

In contrast the BIG 10 goes the other direction with fourteen schools.

Wrestling families know how to count. They know the value of wrestling more than any college athletic department.

A woman at the gym said, “My son’s going to the state tournament.”

She was as proud as anyone has ever been.

“He’s only wrestled since last year and he’s going to state. I can’t believe it.”

Wrestling Fear.

I asked if he liked the sport.

“He likes it more than I would have guessed. He’s already joined the Marines. After graduation he leaves for boot camp. I used to pin him when he was younger.”

That happens in lots of wrestling families. Clear the front room and get after it.

“He’s worried. His first match is tough.”

This is a mom with a kid who’s joined the Marine Corps and they’re both worried about the next match.

Wrestling families are like that.

(posted originally on






About David Gillaspie
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