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What Is a Wrestler ?

By Kenneth J. Nickischer

BETWEEN the innocence of boyhood and the dignity of man, we find a conditioned creature called a wrestler. Wrestlers come in assorted weights, heights, and uniform colors, but each wrestler has the same creed: to wrestle every second of every minute of every period of every bout to the best of his ability. .
WRESTLERS are found underneath, on top of, countering, escaping, twisting, riding, and pinning their opponents. Teammates rib them, referees penalize them. students cheer them, kid brothers idolize them, coaches criticize them, and mothers worry about them. A wrestlers is perserverance in practice, strategy in sport, hope in a headgear, speed in sneakers, pride in performance, and the best of young manhood in uniform. .
WHEN your team is behind, a wrestler is incompetent, careless, indecisive, and uncoordinated. Just when your team spirit threatens to turn the tide of battle, he flubs a counter, gets taken down, misses a switch, or rolls to his back..
A WRESTLER is a composite-he diets like an Olympic athlete, trains like a world champion, sleeps like a Chicago Bear, but , more often than not, wrestlers like a novice at Everglades High. To an opponent publicity man, he has the speed of a gazelle, the strength of an ox, the cunning of a fox, the agility of an acrobat, the quickness of a cat, the skill of an artist, and the ability of the Lehigh wrestlers-combined. .
TO HIS own coach he has, for press purposes, the stability of gelatin, the swiftness of a snail, the mentality of a mule-is held together by ace bandages, adhesive tape, sponge rubber, analgesic, and has about as much chance of wrestling in the crucial match as would his own grandfather. .
TO AN ALUMNUS a wrestler is someone who will never wrestle as great, pin as much, score as many points, counter as hard, fight as fiercely or generate nearly the same amount of spirit as did those particular grappers of his own yesteryear. .
A WRESTLER likes match films, trips away from home, pinning opponents, short practice sessions, hot showers, whirlpool baths. post-match gourmet delights, and the quiet satisfaction which comes from being part of a hard-fought team victory. He is not much for wind sprints, calisthenics, scouting reports, drilling, sitting on the bench, skin-ripping tape, or after match compliments..
NO ONE ELSE looks forward so much to beginning the season. Nobody gets so much pleasure out of takedowns, escape, reversee, and pins. Nobody else can cram into one mind a reservoir of moves designed to result in success each time they are tired. No one else dreams and sacrifices more to attain the coveted title-"State Champion"..
A WRESTLER is a wonderful creature-you can criricize him, but you can't discourage him. You can defeat his team, but you can't make him quit. Might as well admit it-be you alumnus, coach or fan-he is your personal representative on the mat, your symbol of fair and hard play. He may not be an All-American, but he is an example of the American way. He is judged, not for his race, not for his religion, not for his social standing or not for his finances, but by the democratic yardstick of how well he performs and sacrifices individuals glory for the overall success of his team.
HE IS A HARD-WORKING untiring, determined kid doing the very best he can for his school. And when you come out of a gym, groaning and feeling upset that your team has lost, he can make you feel mighty ashamed with just two sincerely spoken words-"We tried!"