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Hanging On Too Long

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There are some great former college wrestlers who won numerous NCAA NC’s that have not been successful at the next level but are still hanging on. Putting your post wrestling career on hold and abusing your body when the return is minimal doesn’t make sense.  Once I learned that I wasn’t going anywhere after my college days, I unceremoniously hung up my shoes. 
 

Why do some guys hang on too long?

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Why do you always post about wanting people to quit wrestling?

Here's a serious answer to your dumb question. You only get so much time to wrestle, and when it's gone, it's gone for good. Some guys want to keep doing something they love for as long as they can because they won't ever get to do it again. Everyone wrestles their last match someday, and some want that last match to come as late as possible. Wrestling at a high level is something few people have the opportunity to do, and who are you to tell them they should give that up? Do you think these wrestlers are going to look back and be like, "I shouldn't have wrestled those last two years. Think of all the good work I could have been doing in the gym equipment sales industry."

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3 minutes ago, IronChef said:

Why do you always post about wanting people to quit wrestling?

Here's a serious answer to your dumb question. You only get so much time to wrestle, and when it's gone, it's gone for good. Some guys want to keep doing something they love for as long as they can because they won't ever get to do it again. Everyone wrestles their last match someday, and some want that last match to come as late as possible. Wrestling at a high level is something few people have the opportunity to do, and who are you to tell them they should give that up? Do you think these wrestlers are going to look back and be like, "I shouldn't have wrestled those last two years. Think of all the good work I could have been doing in the gym equipment sales industry."

I am honored that you read my posts with such intensity that you recall my past thoughts. Actually, this post is not about quitting but rather determining when it’s time to begin another phase of life. There are lots of reasons one being being paid by an RTC. Keep reading my posts. Your focus on me is awesome! 

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22 minutes ago, gowrestle said:

I am honored that you read my posts with such intensity that you recall my past thoughts. Actually, this post is not about quitting but rather determining when it’s time to begin another phase of life. There are lots of reasons one being being paid by an RTC. Keep reading my posts. Your focus on me is awesome! 

It takes no special effort to remember that there's one guy on a wrestling message board who always wants people to quit wrestling.

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It is a harsh but somewhat fair point.  A real sacrifice is being made regarding earnings power and saving for future goals.  
 

An example - Compound growth of savings in a retirement account (with regular contributions) can have a shockingly big difference if compare the growth over 30 years vs perhaps 35-40 years.  (This assumes the wrestler could get a job that pays enough.  Getting matching contributions to a 401k or building time in role for a DB plan would be further missed opportunity).
 

The point about doing further damage on your body is also a reasonable one to make.   It is a real trade off that needs to be considered.

 

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8 hours ago, gowrestle said:

There are some great former college wrestlers who won numerous NCAA NC’s that have not been successful at the next level but are still hanging on. Putting your post wrestling career on hold and abusing your body when the return is minimal doesn’t make sense.  Once I learned that I wasn’t going anywhere after my college days, I unceremoniously hung up my shoes. 
 

Why do some guys hang on too long?

This is what so many wrestling fans on this forum now truly believe. Not only is wrestling not the greatest sport, it is not even a good one — Wrestling is inherently bad as an activity. If you are not consistently winning, it is better to quit the sport, because it’s benefits (if any) are outweighed by wear and tear on the body. Sad.

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12 minutes ago, nom said:

It is a harsh but somewhat fair point.  A real sacrifice is being made regarding earnings power and saving for future goals.  
 

An example - Compound growth of savings in a retirement account (with regular contributions) can have a shockingly big difference if compare the growth over 30 years vs perhaps 35-40 years.  (This assumes the wrestler could get a job that pays enough.  Getting matching contributions to a 401k or building time in role for a DB plan would be further missed opportunity).
 

The point about doing further damage on your body is also a reasonable one to make.   It is a real trade off that needs to be considered.

 

Agree.

I think people should be able to sacrifice whatever they want to do whatever they want, as long as their chosen activity is legal.

On the other hand, you sometimes wonder if people in their 20s, who have devoted their entire lives to wrestling, are actually understanding the relevant costs and benefits of competing at the senior level. 

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21 minutes ago, Katie said:

Agree.

I think people should be able to sacrifice whatever they want to do whatever they want, as long as their chosen activity is legal.

On the other hand, you sometimes wonder if people in their 20s, who have devoted their entire lives to wrestling, are actually understanding the relevant costs and benefits of competing at the senior level. 

Are we certain that success in wrestling yields no indirect financial benefits? I would think that anyone who can write All-American or national champion on his resume would have a big advantage in the job market or in graduate school admissions. Maybe wrestlers who can say this already would not benefit as much from another title or high place in freestyle tournaments. But I would think that most employers would not look at their efforts as a waste of time. Besides, they can get paid by an RTC or sell real estate on the side while training (though I don't know if most have side gigs).

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Save $5k year at end of year 1. Increase amount you save by 2% each year.

For simple math, assume compound annual growth of 5%.  
 

Resulting savings after 25 years = $291k

at 30 years = $418k

at 35 years = $586k

at 40 years = $805k

This ignores employer match.  Let’s say employer kicks in an extra $2k per year (flat, no increase each year) through a matching program …

25 yr =$386k

30 yr = $551k

35 yr = $766k

40 yr = $1.05M

Having 5-10 extra years to earn and save can make a huge difference.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, nom said:

Save $5k year at end of year 1. Increase amount you save by 2% each year.

For simple math, assume compound annual growth of 5%.  
 

Resulting savings after 25 years = $291k

at 30 years = $418k

at 35 years = $586k

at 40 years = $805k

This ignores employer match.  Let’s say employer kicks in an extra $2k per year (flat, no increase each year) through a matching program …

25 yr =$386k

30 yr = $551k

35 yr = $766k

40 yr = $1.05M

Having 5-10 extra years to earn and save can make a huge difference.

 

 

 

While I'm not going to quarrel with your math, there are a number of assumptions to your point (that older wrestlers should hang it up for retirement savings' sake) that I'd question.

1.  You're assuming that older active wrestlers aren't earning an income or furthering their career pursuits.  Virtually all of them are.  Wrestling isn't a full time job post-college any more than its a full time job while in college.  And in addition to whatever side job they have, many are receiving RTC stipends, national team stipends, coaching stipends, fees for appearing at camps, and so on.  Even those who aren't working separately are often pursuing a grad degree, or doing volunteer coaching as a precursor to a full-time coaching gig.  Can you (or anyone) name any wrestler -- even one -- over the age of 25 who isn't also earning an income or a full-time student?

2.  You're assuming they'd be earning more if they weren't wrestling (or furthering their career more).  I don't see why that is the case, for the reasons indicated above.  Can you name any wrestler from recent years who turned down a lucrative job to "settle" for a lesser one while they pursued their wrestling endeavors?  I'm sure it happens, but lets face it, these days, unless you have a stellar undergraduate degree or specialize in a more technical area, there just aren't a whole lot of employers out there banging down the door of run-of-the-mill universities to scoop up grads with a B.A. and a 3.2 GPA.  If there's a difference at all I suspect its marginal.

3.  You're assuming they would SAVE more if they weren't wrestling.  I doubt this as well.  Very few people are able to sock away a lot of savings in their younger years in general, as your earnings are low.  That is, the difference in savings between someone making $28K a year and $38K a year isn't $10K.  It is closer to about $500, if that.  At lower entry-level income levels, you tend to spend what you earn, not save it.  Quitting wrestling won't change that.

4.  You're assuming there are no intangible benefits of wrestling that increase future earning potential.  That is, even if there IS an earning differential if you quit wrestling earlier, I've always been of the view that wrestling prepares you for future success in life with mental toughness, drive and determination, humility, and learning that you reap what you sow.  I can't cite any studies but I tell my kids all the time how much I believe it benefitted me in that respect.  It stands to reason that the longer you wrestle, the more these lessons are instilled, and I think they pay dividends in your career.  And that's not even counting the more demonstrable benefits that NJDan alluded to (i.e. wrestling success and commitment potentially making you more marketable to prospective employers).

To the extent your broader point is "save early, kids, it pays off later," I won't quarrel with that, but I'd really hesitate to use your logic to induce wrestlers to hang up their shoes earlier than they'd like to.

Edited by BAC

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1 hour ago, NJDan said:

Are we certain that success in wrestling yields no indirect financial benefits? I would think that anyone who can write All-American or national champion on his resume would have a big advantage in the job market or in graduate school admissions. Maybe wrestlers who can say this already would not benefit as much from another title or high place in freestyle tournaments. But I would think that most employers would not look at their efforts as a waste of time. Besides, they can get paid by an RTC or sell real estate on the side while training (though I don't know if most have side gigs).

I was simply talking about the costs and benefits of competing at the senior level, and the level of awareness of those costs and benefits. 

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14 minutes ago, Katie said:

I was simply talking about the costs and benefits of competing at the senior level, and the level of awareness of those costs and benefits. 

Sure, agreed, and I was merely noting that there may be benefits that do not appear by simply assessing a wrestler's current income.

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3 hours ago, NJDan said:

Sure, agreed, and I was merely noting that there may be benefits that do not appear by simply assessing a wrestler's current income.

Well… there are intangibles on both sides of the ledger.

For instance, a senior level athlete is giving up years of his career before age discrimination becomes a problem; years of learning the art of bureaucratic infighting; years of learning the culture of his or her profession; years of gaining new skills; years of networking opportunities; etc.

Edited by Katie

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Are we thinking of anyone in particular here that may be wasting his or her time on continuing to wrestle? 

Bill Zadick worked a long time to beat Cary Kolat but never did on the senior circuit.  Cary's gumby knee was just too much for him.  But later, Bill won the World Championship.  Steel sharpened steel it would appear.  Using the argument that started this, Bill would have done better to quit.  However, he is a World Champion Wrestler and the National Coach.  His body is not in the same wrestling shape anymore, but his mind certainly is as witnessed by our Olympic performance.  Granted he may be an outlier, but chasing your dream causes sacrifices to be made.  Bill won that bet.  Not everyone does.   Financial benefit is not the end all be all.  There are other rewards for hard work, many of them intangible. 

mspart

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2 hours ago, Jimmy Cinnabon said:

Hey, leave the Iowa Hawkeyes alone!

Jimmy I know they’re old but this thread is only talking about wrestlers that actually compete in freestyle. 

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@BAC - you’re right.  This is not a simple topic.  But, I do believe that committing yourself to building a career (not wrestling) starting in year 1 and working to excel at it will generally lead to a better pay trajectory vs a) working but not fully committed due to wrestling commitments or b) living off a stipend for several years.

That said, to each there own.  There are a ton of moving variables.  

 

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