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Powell's image courtesy of

Powell’s image courtesy of

If you lose something and want it back, you look for it.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for, ask around.

If the people you talk to don’t care what you’re looking for, can they still help?

The easy answer is no. But it’s not that easy. It never is when it’s important.

Let’s talk about sports, about wrestling.

More news about closing doors than opening.

During a conversation with a local high school Athletic Director after a downer season, he explained how unhappy he was with his daughter’s basketball team. “It’s how things are,” he said, “not everyone gets to be happy.”

By the end of the meeting he was still talking girls’ basketball. It isn’t the same as boys wrestling, but it was to him.

A year later the school forfeited their varsity football season and half the boys’ basketball season because of paper on the AD’s desk about an ineligible athlete.

Not everyone was happy.

The AD found work in another town after that. He got a second chance.

Dropped sports rarely get the same. One and done is the unspoken rule.

If enough time passes and enough staff turns over, schools claim amnesia. Rooms go dark and they pretend to seal their archives and pretend some dropped sports never existed on their campus.

They stay dark until someone comes along with new batteries in an old flashlight.

The newest wrestling batteries come from Restore College Wrestling Oregon.

From the 1970’s until now, twenty Oregon colleges lost their wrestling teams. Two big ones are the University of Oregon wrestling and Portland State University wrestling. Eight empty wrestling rooms belong to community colleges. Restore College Wrestling Oregon takes the losses a step beyond simply naming names.

Nine of the eighteen schools listed link to facebook and images of the athletes who competed there. It’s a great way to show historical time lines and showcase the intent on moving forward with a salute to the past. Take a look and see who you can identify.

Any effort to right a wrong needs helping hands. Listed below are Restore committee members, their email, and their colleges. Hit them up if when you decide you have something to offer.

Email them to take part in restoring wrestling.




Mike Clock

Lewis & Clark; Pacific U

Marlin Grahn

Portland State U
Joe McFarland

U of Oregon
John Dustin

Oregon State U
Kurt Davis

Western Oregon U.(OCE)
Chuck Holliday

Eastern Oregon U.(EOCE)
Craig Woodward

Eastern Oregon U
Roger Rolen

Western Oregon U
Howard Morris

OIT; Linfield College.
Gary Head Mt Hood CC. Oregon St
John Speasl Southern Oregon U SW Oregon CC
Ron Iwasaki Oregon State U
Buck Davis U of Oregon


How much heat do you expect these committee members to generate for college wrestling? They’ve met eight times in less than a year. They have short term goals and long range plans.

When you find people with Olympic and World Championship organizing experience, certain things happen. These people are not amateurs and their efforts will not be in vain.

But what will it take to be effective in 2013 to keep their message in front of institutional decision makers, to open accounts in twitter, Google +, and create a current blog with verified links and updated content?

In the online world, visibility drives traffic, and the more traffic to a site, the greater the odds of finding more help. What is the sort of help that would restore college wrestling in Oregon? The sort who build relationships with college presidents and athletic directors, who don’t sling blame from one end of the state to the next.

Yes, the University of Oregon dropped wrestling under less than perfect circumstances. Track Town was Mat Town when Shane Webster won an NCAA title in 2006, but the program still disappeared.

Before Portland State went down a faculty meeting including the wrestling community heard testimony on Viking Wrestling. The ladies and gentlemen of the faculty were very gracious with their time, though fairly oblivious to the role they played in the drama. In a room full of wresters, former wrestlers, and friends of wrestling, the PSU committee seemed as animated as a library panel deciding on new books for the shelf.

They agreed to shelf wrestling with the same passion shown for tossing old magazines. The people had lives to get to, of course, but didn’t seem to grasp the lives they were affecting.

Can any group restore wrestling to Oregon colleges? Yes, and here’s why:

Sports have left the seclusion of the sandbox where you play until you get upset, then take your toys and go home. Wrestlers have already been sent home, so that’s no problem.

Athletes today are smart, and getting smarter. Science reveals that exercise works on the brain to make it better. A better brain is more capable of making better decisions. Better decisions make better citizens.

Science also encourages us to think more complex exercises create better connections in the brain, letting the two hemispheres communicate better. Now think which sport is the most complex for the brain to grasp. Which sport includes incredible conditioning, balance, strength, and agility to go along with strategy and emotion?

Wrestlers know the answer.

University of Oregon NCAA Champion Shane Webster said he had to change his wrestling style late in his last match if he wanted to win. And he did. Quick decision making under stress brought him to the top of his sport.

Who in America would turn down the chance for their kid to enhance themselves both physically and mentally? The sons and daughters of our great country deserve the best.

Put wrestling back in the mix one team at a time. Start the restoration of better students today. Start with wrestling.

Start here.

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About David Gillaspie
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