Monday, September 21, 2009

Filled with hope

Today is the last day of summer. The transition to autumn has traditionally been a time of hope – hope for a bountiful harvest – hope for the new school year – hope for a winning football team.

The World Championships begin today in Herning, Denmark. Danny Felix, Trent Paulson and Jake Varner will take the mat for the United States first. For me, this is the end of the season. Take heart – the new season is just weeks away. Many of the nation’s top high school wrestlers will compete in the Super 32 Challenge on October 24th at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC. USA Wrestling will hold Preseason Nationals the following week (October 31st) in Cedar Falls, IA at the UNI Dome.

I am filled with hope as we transition from one wrestling season to the next. Here are some things I hope to see in the next 12 months.

More kids on the mat.

Kids have innumerable ways to spend their time. Few options can teach them perseverance, mental toughness and self-reliance like wrestling. Family life is strengthened by any activity that gives an opportunity for parental support – but there just seems to be something extra there within wrestling families. If you don’t believe me just watch a wrestling mom at a tournament.

Success at Cal State Fullerton.

The Cal State Fullerton administration has mandated that the wrestling team become self-supporting. According to coach Dan Hicks they need to raise $200,000 in cash by May 1, 2010 and another $200,000 in pledges by August 1, 2010 to keep the program alive. The National Wrestling Coaches Association is helping by holding the annual college All-Star Classic in the Titan Gym. You can buy tickets to the All-Star Classic or donate to the team at the Save Fullerton Wrestling website.

More intercollegiate wrestling opportunities.

High school wrestling participation continues to grow. However, the opportunities to follow in the footsteps of people like Dr. Norman Borlaug, John Irving and Senator John Chafee – and have wrestling as a part of the college curriculum – are not keeping pace. I hope that there are forward-thinking athletic directors who are considering adding wrestling – both men’s and women’s teams.

Butts in seats.

Nothing demonstrates support like buying a ticket and cheering on your favorite team or wrestler. The upcoming college season may be as excitedly anticipated as any in recent memory. The debuts of heralded freshmen like Jordan Oliver and Tyler Graff, the potential for tight team races in several divisions and the move of Cael Sanderson from Ames to Penn State are all generating a lot of preseason buzz. I hope that interest translates into new attendance records. Come on you PSU fans – can you average 5,000 people a meet?

More support for the Living the Dream Medal Fund.

So far 320 of America’s most avid wrestling fans have donated to the Living the Dream Fund. Designed to keep our best athletes in the sport by offering financial incentives for success, the fund is the brainchild of people like Michael Novogratz and Dave Barry. By this time next year I hope to see 10,000 more names on the contributors list. Click here to add your name today.

Oh – I almost forgot – I’m hoping for a Metcalf/Caldwell rematch, too.

5 comments:

Jon said...

I wish I had more wrestling teams around. I love going to the UVU wrestling matches! I'm planning on going to some high school matches this season as well. Can't wait for the season to start!

Jim Brown said...

Jon,

Thanks for stopping by.

Jim

WrestleFattie said...

I love reading through your blog. I need to start leaving more comments. UVU just came out with their schedule; it's their first year competing on the NCAA level. Can't wait to see them. I'm putting them in my calendar right now. I'm getting STOKED!

Jim Brown said...

WrestleFattie,

Thanks for the kind words. I'm always incredibly excited about the progress of new programs.

May I incluede your blog on my "blog roll"?

WrestleFattie.com said...

I would love it! I've got yours in mine already. I do product reviews as well for my online store, so if you and your readers don't mind that, that would be awesome! http://wrestlefattie.com/blog/