Wrestling with the Truth
Taking the time to consider the real meaning of a sport I once thought of as awful
Priyanka Fouda ’12
On January 10, I attended my first wrestling meet. My initial reason for attending was to validate my opinion – wrestling is an awful sport. Yet, the effort and emotion won me over quickly.
For those of you who do not know, a regular meet is split into 14 separate matches. In each match, one wrestler from each team wrestles for three two-minute periods. The match however, ends at any moment if one wrestler successfully pins (puts both shoulders to the mat for an instant) the other wrestler.
At one point I was elated to discover the true meaning of a full nelson. The term, which is found somewhat frequently in popular culture, derives from an illegal wrestling move, in which a wrestler connects both of his hands behind an opponent’s neck.
Any skepticism I had about wrestlers disappeared when I joined the crowd in the bleachers. “How could you not love wrestlers and their masculinity” the crowd seemed to say. I sat next to a gentleman in a tweed suit who explained as much the rules of the sport as what was so exciting about wrestling. I then became a believer and I interviewed the Assistant Coach Carmen Rondash after the meet.
“I was pleased that all of the wrestlers wrestled their entire match to the last whistle. No one gave up and nobody slowed down,” said Assistant Coach Carmen Rondash. Wrestling, like many sports, is like track (my favorite sport). There is a clearly defined goal for which two opponents sacrifice everything. I admired the large range of emotions between each wrestler both as he wrestled and as he came off the mat. Wrestling is a soap opera. High drama for as long as the meet continues. The two boys would shake hands and the referee would blow the whistle to begin the match. Then bodies would contort, a head popping out between legs, or legs flailing beneath a body. Wrestling is fun.
Senior Captain Dan Wilkins pinned his opponents in less than 30 seconds. When asked why he began wrestling in the first place Wilkins said, “I didn’t exactly know much when I started, but there was some sort of allure that drew me to it. Part of it was a few of my friends had joined the team and I guess I also believed that wrestling was pretty similar to football—which I loved.”