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JohnnyThompsonnum1

Evaluating yourself as a fan

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With the current status of Olympic Wrestling surviving the cut and being reinstated throughout the 2020 Olympics, a lot of talk about positive changes that need be made has stirred up in the wrestling community. One of the main topics of discussion is becoming better fans of the sport.

 

Taking a look within, I have to be blatantly honest with myself and say that while I'm a fairly loyal Division I wrestling fan, I fail in about all other areas. It goes without saying that I keep up with Division I wrestling pretty good, but truth is, I know little to nothing about the rest that our sport has to offer.

 

I know a smidgen about DIII wrestling and that's simply because Iowa has such a great representation of the division throughout the state with powerhouses like Wartburg and Luther.

 

I know an even smaller amount about NAIA and that's simply because I went to an NAIA school and followed it while I was attending (2004-2007) and a few years after because I got sick of hearing how weak the NAIA was compared to other divisions when NAIA wrestlers (Paul Collum, Enock Francois, Emmett Wilson, ect) were consistently holding their own against DI competition.

 

I can't tell you a damn thing about DII wrestling outside of their cream of the crop top guys throughout the years and I do NOT know ANYTHING at ALL about JUCO. I can't name a single JUCO wrestler that will be wrestling next season.

 

As for high school, I'm just the polar opposite of the majority of you. High school wrestling just doesn't interest me at all. Hell, I can't even tell you who coaches at where I went to high school. Frankly, outside of a few kids that I know on a personal level that I want to see succeed, I've had a very apathetic attitude towards high school wrestling for a long time. I know what I'm told, and that is the extent of it. I don't follow it.

 

After a long thought, I realized that I need to change my perspective and do more to support the sport.

 

I looked up all of the high schools within Iowa that have wrestling and then researched which high school's were within driving distance to make weekly dual meets and Saturday tournaments. Once schedules are released, I'm going to try and make at least one dual meet for all of them.

 

I'm going to try and attend Grand View, Graceland and William Penn Events as they are all fairly close. I'm going to try and attend tournaments all throughout the state. I"m centrally located in Iowa, so no college wrestling event should be more than 3 hours away from me.

 

I'm still going to attend Hawkeye, Cyclone and Panther duals/tournaments, but I want to do my part to start supporting the smaller schools.

 

Anyone from the Des area want to ride down with me for Graceland's first home meet in over 30 years?

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While I have not posted on this forum in the longest time, I do still follow the threads and felt the need to respond. I think you make a very good point and thanks for posting. I personally cannot say I've carried the banner of total wrestling fandom, however I have such a love for the sport I tend to follow most levels at least at a minimum. I stay on top of Div I action and results. Now that my school has returned to Div III status I keep up with their action and attend matches when they are close. I live in VA and have no real family roots here, but have attended a few duals for VA Tech, George Mason, American, and Maryland. At the high school level I've been known to attend random duals along with the post season events even when I don't know anyone there. I guess for me it's just a habit to attend meets.

 

I will also take your call to action and catch more events this year and thanks again for posting.

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I tried being "overly ambitious" several years ago, but it just becomes too overwhelming for me and time consuming to keep up on that much wrestling. I'm liking life MUCH better just focusing on DI.

 

In regard to high school wrestling, I lost interest in that early, as I just never see enough really good matches. The great wrestlers all pin their opponents in :30 seconds, and the decent matches are just too sloppy for me to be able to sit through.

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I'm basically a high school wrestling fan - I've attended the Beast, NHSCA Nationals, several large x-mas tournaments, and have been at the PIAA tournament (and its qualifying tourneys) every year since '85 and many times prior to that.

 

I've been following NCAA D1 a lot in the last several years as well, though haven't been in attendance. Thank goodness for internet video.

 

I think it's going over the top to feel that because one doesn't follow Div 2, 3, or NAIA or Jr Colleges that fact in some way detracts from one's fandom. I personally spend a heck of a lot of my personal time on wrestling and if I wish to continue as a married man, I better not increase that time by very much.

 

The premise of this thread doesn't work if it is: you've got to follow all levels of wrestling to be a true fan. Anyone who actually does that must not have a life.

 

Hey, it's football season. I follow the Eagles (unfortunately) and Penn State. Just because I don't care much how Idaho State is making out, that doesn't make me a poor football fan, I don't think. Does it?

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I'm basically a high school wrestling fan - I've attended the Beast, NHSCA Nationals, several large x-mas tournaments, and have been at the PIAA tournament (and its qualifying tourneys) every year since '85 and many times prior to that.

 

I've been following NCAA D1 a lot in the last several years as well, though haven't been in attendance. Thank goodness for internet video.

 

I think it's going over the top to feel that because one doesn't follow Div 2, 3, or NAIA or Jr Colleges that fact in some way detracts from one's fandom. I personally spend a heck of a lot of my personal time on wrestling and if I wish to continue as a married man, I better not increase that time by very much.

 

The premise of this thread doesn't work if it is: you've got to follow all levels of wrestling to be a true fan. Anyone who actually does that must not have a life.

 

Hey, it's football season. I follow the Eagles (unfortunately) and Penn State. Just because I don't care much how Idaho State is making out, that doesn't make me a poor football fan, I don't think. Does it?

 

Heck of a good point oldcougar, heck of a good point. Problem is, football isn't in constant danger of extinction, we are. I hear all the time that wrestling is "only" dying at the DI level, and with the recent addition of NAIA programs throughout the county a bit of me buys it. Yet, I've only been out of high school for not quite 10 years AND I live in Iowa, but there are still 3 schools I wrestled against that no longer have wrestling programs.

 

Truth is, I sorta feel the same way you do. I mean I attended every home dual meet at Carver Hawkeye arena last year, a couple at Northern Iowa and a couple at Iowa State and that was on a below 20K salary at the time. Yet, am I doing the sport much of a favor being among 10 to 15 thousand people at Carver? Or would I be doing the sport more of a favor by being one more in attendance at the Ellsworth Vs a team I've never heard of meet?

 

In the end it's sorta like being the one guy who doesn't litter, and having a real hard time trying to justify it as you see everyone else around you throwing candy wrappers and cigarette butts all over the ground. I guess in the end if I have to live to see a day when wrestling is all but gone, I wanna know I did what I could to prevent that day from every happening, or at least prolong it.

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Remember - "fan" is short for "fanatic". I think it's better to let your passion take you where it will than to turn this great sport into an obligation or chore. Too many people from "the powers that be" to other fans try to bully or guilt us into being more involved. Heck, I'm probably as guilty of that as anyone - even though I know there is little value in that approach.

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I think it's going over the top to feel that because one doesn't follow Div 2, 3, or NAIA or Jr Colleges that fact in some way detracts from one's fandom. I personally spend a heck of a lot of my personal time on wrestling and if I wish to continue as a married man, I better not increase that time by very much.

 

Hence, my first sentence. :)

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Remember - "fan" is short for "fanatic". I think it's better to let your passion take you where it will than to turn this great sport into an obligation or chore. Too many people from "the powers that be" to other fans try to bully or guilt us into being more involved. Heck, I'm probably as guilty of that as anyone - even though I know there is little value in that approach.

 

 

I love wrestling. I imagine if wrestling is still around in 45 years or so, it'll be the majority of how I spend my retirement years from November through March year in and year out. If I could, I'd attend as many wrestling duals/tournaments as I could. I never grow tired of the sport. It's that I don't have the time, resources or money to attend as much as I'd like too. I'm trying real hard to attend the Midlands this year, if I can and as you know the DIII championships. I don't have the time, resources or money to attend an NAIA dual meet in Arkansas. I'd love to, but I can't. Does that make me an incompetent fan because I can't attend a meet where attendance is badly needed??? I can't help but think it sort of does.

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Living in Philly I try to get to as many regional dual meets as possible. This includes Penn and Drexel for immediate satisfaction, and drive to Lehigh or Penn State for some of the bigger duals. I've traveled to Binghamton when Penn State was there and also to last year's Madison Sq. Garden event to see some key matchups. I also traveled to the DC area last year to check out the All-Star Classic. I'm thinking about going to see the Southern Scuffle and spending NYE in Chattanooga. I tried to rally the fam to travel and rendezvous there last season but the trip fell through. I was "THIS" close to traveling to Budapest next week for the World Championships.

 

I'm pretty much a D1 fan. It's true, marquee values attract the fans. USA Wrestling has done a good job however they have had extraordinary talent to work with lately.

 

The NFL does it best. Every time you hear the announcers offer a heart warming profile of a player and talk about his charities and what a hard worker he is and how much of his time he gives rest assured they are building marquee value.

 

MMA has done this to a lesser degree. The fact is this can be done on all levels. Flo does it with their behind the scenes interviews of course on yet a smaller scale. These techniques are evolving and various media outlets are starting to cultivate this type of awareness for our great wrestlers.

 

It's an exciting time that is improving.

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I'm more fanatical than most fans, I am also single, so I don't have family commitments to worry about.

For the past 40 years since I left OU, I've been a volunteer coach for youth, middle school, high school and/or college. I am currently a volunteer coach at Midwest City, and very active at OU as an alumni. I go to Stillwater to see top duals versus OSU, besides all the home duals at OU. Oklahoma high school wrestling only has 140 schools, but we get some outstanding matches, especially at the Perry and Geary tournaments, and the state tournament.

 

I lived in Arizona for 30 years, LV was an easy drive or short flight. I know the Sunkist Kids main supporter and would always take kids the Western Regionals, then make them stay for the National Open. Too many would get done wrestling and be ready to go home. I've told them I want you to see what a great wrestler looks like. Fortunately I've know many stars personally and introduced them to kids I've coached. I see the same purists at these tournaments, I guess we are the "lifers". I don't go to watch OCU and UCO wrestle very often even though they are geographically close to me 30 minutes to 1 hour drive.

 

The reality is too many men walk away from the sport until it is time for their kids to wrestle. The big fan bases are at the schools that compete for the NCAA title regularly. I can remember when you'd have a hard time finding a significant number of Iowa or Penn State fans, now they have big groups. I was at the OU Alumni dinner Friday night after the golf outing. It was reported that the Takedown Club had gotten down to only 20 members at one point. Now it is rebounding and the old timers from the 50s, 60s, and 70s are showing back up to support the program. No one wants to root for a loser or mediocre program.

 

I also go to the NWHOF state banquet in Oklahoma and the national banquet in Stillwater. Of course Lee Roy Smith is a good friend, so I do try support what he's doing there.

 

I could be totally retired, but I do work about 30 hours a week when I'm not coaching, and take a couple of 3 week golf trips each year. I've found working does allow me to make several small donations to the high school, OU, and NWHOF. Wrestling has been the thing I've gotten the most satisfaction from, besides flying medical evacuation in combat. I get great enjoyment of seeing some young kid in junior high, encouraging them, following their high school career and giving them pointers once in awhile, then following those who go to college. Once in awhile you meet one that becomes an Olympian. When Henry Cejudo was an 8th grader I drove 1/2 way across Phoenix twice a week to help at the Maryvale Club. It was extremely rewarding to have Henry sign a couple of posters for kids I was coaching, and telling me you don't owe me a cent, I appreciate what you did. You can't buy that memory.

 

I'm not critical of guys working with a family, but all should go to the local high school or middle school make contact. Coming in one time to talk to the team, making a small donation can really help sometimes.

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The problem is that most schools present a shiity product. There is no fan fare, there is no drama or back stories, there is no hype, there is no advertisement, there is no community outreach. Many lower tier schools put on better presentations and community wrestling events than big schools with a bigger budget. Many highschools put in more man hours and effort into match marketing than colleges do.

 

You want to put asses in the seats? You gotta do more than write it on the schedule, roll out a mat, and turn on a spotlight.

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The problem is that most schools present a shiity product. There is no fan fare, there is no drama or back stories, there is no hype, there is no advertisement, there is no community outreach. Many lower tier schools put on better presentations and community wrestling events than big schools with a bigger budget. Many highschools put in more man hours and effort into match marketing than colleges do.

 

You want to put asses in the seats? You gotta do more than write it on the schedule, roll out a mat, and turn on a spotlight.

 

Mr. OD,

 

Do you think if they rounded up a posse of an anti-heroic team, some who didn't make weight while others gassed out midway through the first period, and this team went from town to town, city to city, taking on more polished teams, that this would increase the popularity of our beloved sport?

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I think many coaches at the high school levels have no clue how to promote a team or provide presentation of a home dual meet. I was asked by some parents at a high school in Scottsdale to become the head coach, because the only kids with winning records were the ones in the freestyle program I ran.

 

They'd have the varsity and JV wrestle at the same time. I changed that. We would have a freshman and JV match on two mats. Then take one mat and stack sections behind chairs on the gym floor with the varsity mat in the middle. That way each team had a public warmup area on mat. I would call the opposing coach to get his varsity lineup. At my expense I'd print out a hundred copies of the varsity lineups, and the scoring system. On the back I'd have brief profiles to the two wrestlers that would provide the best matchup. There were complaints about the extra work for moving the mats. I explained these kids have worked their rear ends off to make the varsity, they deserve to be in the spotlight.

 

I was successful at getting large articles in the local newspaper about the wrestling program. Other coaches asked me how I did it. I said it is very simple. I write up the article I want, so there aren't any mistakes, call the reporter invite him to lunch at a very nice restaurant, give him disk with the file and a hard copy. I'd tell him to edit however he needed to in order to get it in the paper, and what time and place would he like me to bring the wrestlers over for photos. I'd send the article out along with a letter when it came time to raise funds to send these wrestlers on a cultural exchange trip or to Fargo.

 

I've never been a teacher in school, although I was an academic instructor in the leadership branch of the Army Flight School. My career has been a commercial real estate appraiser, primarily golf courses.

 

Sometimes a coach has no clue how to get things done. If you know how, offer to help him out with promotion of the program.

 

In my lifetime I've been involved with 13 wrestling programs, each was better when I left than when I got there. Some improved further after I left, others went back down.

 

I've never forgotten a comment my high school coach Bob Williams (he wrestled for Ed Gallagher at OSU) after we'd decisively beaten a school in the 2nd year my high school was open. He said the opposing coach told him he got paid the same whether they won or lost, so he didn't worry about winning. Fortunately Coach Williams cared about winning, as have most other coaches I've been around.

 

I have constantly made waves when things weren't being done the way I knew they should be done. Adopt a program where your son will go to school, help build up a kid club, don't wait to pick a powerhouse program to send him to. Get to know the administration, let them know your background in wrestling and love for the sport.

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The problem is that most schools present a shiity product. There is no fan fare, there is no drama or back stories, there is no hype, there is no advertisement, there is no community outreach. Many lower tier schools put on better presentations and community wrestling events than big schools with a bigger budget. Many highschools put in more man hours and effort into match marketing than colleges do.

 

You want to put asses in the seats? You gotta do more than write it on the schedule, roll out a mat, and turn on a spotlight.

 

Mr. OD,

 

Do you think if they rounded up a posse of an anti-heroic team, some who didn't make weight while others gassed out midway through the first period, and this team went from town to town, city to city, taking on more polished teams, that this would increase the popularity of our beloved sport?

 

Yes. Being a wrestler who was boo'd frequently (I even got boo'd by the opposing team's janitor once) I came to understand that every teams fans want to root against an enemy who has an element of brashness and uncouth character. Everybody wants to see the bad guy fall, and fall hard. I think this team of mustachioed tilters could drum up a lot of interest (hatred) by barnstorming wrestling hotbeds.

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I made it a point to get to Rochester, MN for the HS duals tourney over the Christmas break last year and I will be going back this year. A very well run tourney featuring top teams from around the country.

 

No Iowa teams last year but that may change this year.

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I personally spend a heck of a lot of my personal time on wrestling and if I wish to continue as a married man, I better not increase that time by very much.

NAILED it !! - The problem is that there are relatively very few fans. Most in attendance are former wrestlers or have kids or relations involved. Baseball fans will go to football games and visa versa. etc..where they will not go to wrestling events. We have too many wrestling events going on at the same time. It is sometimes tough for a person to go to a HS tournament on Fri and all day sat, then go to a college match on Sunday.

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I personally spend a heck of a lot of my personal time on wrestling and if I wish to continue as a married man, I better not increase that time by very much.

NAILED it !! - The problem is that there are relatively very few fans. Most in attendance are former wrestlers or have kids or relations involved. Baseball fans will go to football games and visa versa. etc..where they will not go to wrestling events. We have too many wrestling events going on at the same time. It is sometimes tough for a person to go to a HS tournament on Fri and all day sat, then go to a college match on Sunday.

 

I feel that we turn people away from our sport. If you didn't wrestle, "you don't know nothing, so shut your mouth". Football has tons of "experts" that never stepped foot on a gridiron who voice their opinions loud and clear, no one has a problem with that. Yet if you didn't wrestle, don't you dare have an opinion. Hell, if you weren't good, don't you dare talk strategy. You don't know nothing. We don't allow people to be just fans. You had to have wrestled, and in some cases you had to have been "good" and that is relative to who you're talking to. We don't allow outsiders into our sport. I've seen it one too many times.

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JT, I don't agree. I have not had that experience with novice viewers and spectators. I see the opposite. I think wrestling fans try to educate and explain technique, scoring history, match-ups etc.

I think we get stupid on forums(myself included). I agree that we can be brutal among each other but I don't think we are rude to novice fans.

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I feel that we turn people away from our sport. If you didn't wrestle, "you don't know nothing, so shut your mouth". Football has tons of "experts" that never stepped foot on a gridiron who voice their opinions loud and clear, no one has a problem with that. Yet if you didn't wrestle, don't you dare have an opinion. Hell, if you weren't good, don't you dare talk strategy. You don't know nothing. We don't allow people to be just fans. You had to have wrestled, and in some cases you had to have been "good" and that is relative to who you're talking to. We don't allow outsiders into our sport. I've seen it one too many times.

 

Should a student tell a heart surgeon how to do his job without ever picking up a scalpel? Its great that everyone can have an opinion. Its bizzare to see someone with little to no experience tell an expert how to do their job; especially when they no point of reference as to how difficult it is to operate on that level.

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I feel that we turn people away from our sport. If you didn't wrestle, "you don't know nothing, so shut your mouth". Football has tons of "experts" that never stepped foot on a gridiron who voice their opinions loud and clear, no one has a problem with that. Yet if you didn't wrestle, don't you dare have an opinion. Hell, if you weren't good, don't you dare talk strategy. You don't know nothing. We don't allow people to be just fans. You had to have wrestled, and in some cases you had to have been "good" and that is relative to who you're talking to. We don't allow outsiders into our sport. I've seen it one too many times.

 

Should a student tell a heart surgeon how to do his job without ever picking up a scalpel? Its great that everyone can have an opinion. Its bizzare to see someone with little to no experience tell an expert how to do their job; especially when they no point of reference as to how difficult it is to operate on that level.

 

People like you are probably why we dont' have more casual fans of the sport. I wasn't saying that they are going up and telling the coach to tell the wrestler what approach to take against his opponent and what moves to use. I'm saying that, for example at a bar they're watching a dual meet between Iowa and Minnesota and a guy shoots and scores a takedown. They'll say something like, "Wow that was a great single leg" and then a jerk like you will respond in a really mean narcissistic way, "it was a high crotch" and crap like that. It'd be fine to say to him the same thing in a non threatening way, like, "Hey man, that move is actually the high crotch" but we're far to proud and full of ourselves to do that.

 

The nerd who opted out of P.E. class because physical activity gave him a rash, still sits and comments during football games about this and that and that and this. Nobody seems to have much a problem with him getting into the game and having fun, even if in reality he doesn't really know the ins and outs of football. For some reason though, we won't allow that in our sport.

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People like you are probably why we dont' have more casual fans of the sport.

 

Yeah, because because being a full time club and scholastic coach drives people away from the sport. I dont correct people and I dont make it a habbit to tell other people "what kind of people they are." That makes one of us.

 

No one in the wrestling world has a problem with ignorant opinions either; they just dont respect them that much. Its nice when someone wrestles a few years in highschool. When they tell me how Chael Sanderson should run a wrestling program, I understand they dont know what the F they are talking about.

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