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But Which Sport?
via David Gillaspie

via David Gillaspie

Early sportswriters didn’t write about sports as we know them.

Those were desperate times of high mortality. Humans didn’t seem as far up the food chain then.

If we believe wiki, sprinting and wrestling made it onto the first sports page/cave painting 17,000 years ago.

Say, “for your life,” after each sport and it feels like a better interpretation of the times.

Careful sports historians found evidence that wrestling was indeed the first sport; running was what bad wrestlers did.

Things have changed since then, like adding balls and sticks and hoops.

Since a ball sport, football, is getting such horrible news day after day, it’s time to dial it back.

But where’s the best place to start? And when?

The Sports Cycle Of Life

My two middle school nephews just opened their package. Inside were two pair of wrestling shoes and two sets of head gear.

They’d just joined a wrestling club and my sister had asked if I had any gear.

Both my twenty-something sons wrestled in high school. Eight years out I’ve still got their stuff, saving it for the right time.

This was the right time, which answers the question of which is the best sport to curb abusive behavior?

It’s not football. If a little kid sees one game then he’s seen running backs break tackles. Has anyone else seen the toddler bowling ball at the playground leave a trail of toppled kids behind them?

He’s playing football.

Basketball won’t work, either. Give a kid a ball after they’ve seen one game and they take off on a head down bounce to find someone to run into.

Why Wrestling?

New wrestlers learn what all wrestlers know.

1. There’s no break time during competition, no huddles or free throws.

Chip Kelly brings more wrestling characteristics to college and professional football with his faster-than-your-average up-tempo programs. He’s insisting on accountability.

Wrestling teaches that time matters more than you think, so start thinking about it.

2. Wrestling is a ‘touch’ sport.

Football is all about speed and impact, the hits. Basketball’s about speed and contact, and ‘did he flop or not.’

Think of the size of a football field, or basketball court. The wrestling circle is tiny. Running away is not a choice when there’s no where to go.

Even better, wrestling has enough slapping set-ups and cross-face cradles to make your head spin. You keep wrestling if the referee lets it go.

If one football or basketball player slaps another it’s an assault to their integrity, their manhood. It’s time to throw.

Wrestling teaches that distractions are just that. Ignore them and move on.

3. Wrestling creates a realistic ‘pecking’ order.

When you find the playground nerd you used to tease in grade school has been wrestling for three years, and now he’s twelve, you’ll see him in a new light.

During practice you’ll also see the ceiling lights when he pins you over and over.

Call him your new best buddy and learn what he knows.

You get your butt kicked and learn it’s nothing personal, just like it won’t be personal when you start kicking butts.

Wrestling teaches emotional control in stressful conditions.

You don’t freak out when a referee makes the wrong call three times and cheats you out of your rightfully earned junior national championship.


Because things don’t always go the way you want. After you’ve seen former college champions and former Olympians accept their losses like men, you do the same.

You learn from it and live with it.

NFL football didn’t teach Ray Rice how to punch his wife out. Adrain Peterson didn’t learn how to cane his kids in a Minnesota Vikings’ training camp.

Both men need better sports education to learn how to operate in tighter spots. They need wrestling education.

If abusive parents enrolled their kids in wrestling, a few good things would happen.

Since the uniforms don’t include leg covering, coaches and parents would see the marks sooner.

Eventually the abusive parent would realize their kid could take them down and keep them down.

In real time cause and effect, no sport teaches better boundaries than wrestling.





About David Gillaspie
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