Monday, December 7, 2009

The doers

Dan Gable was wounded, but showed up and did his job. Dan fell and broke a bone in his leg on Thanksgiving, but he was in Ames last night with broadcast partner Tim Johnson to cover the Iowa vs. Iowa State dual. It was the opening telecast of Iowa Public Television’s 34th season of bringing wrestling to fans in Iowa, southern Minnesota, eastern Nebraska, western Illinois and northern Missouri.

As I mentioned in last week’s blog, IPTV used the event as a fund raiser – and, true to form - Dan got out his checkbook. He does a fabulous job of “working his audience”. A couple of weeks ago when a touring team of Russian wrestlers was in the area for one of the “Russia vs. USA” Gable invited them to his house. In last night’s appeal he said that those young Russian wrestlers knew about Iowa and where Iowa is on the map. Then he pulled out the “exclusivity” motivator, “They probably don’t know about anyplace else in America, but they know about Iowa and wrestling.”

It’s a sign of what Dan Gable has become – American wrestling’s top advocate. In the past few weeks he has been in California to support the NWCA All-Star Classic and Cal-State Fullerton wrestling; then he was in Mount Vernon, Iowa signing autographs and contributing to the webcast of Russia vs. the USA and last night he was at Hilton Coliseum – crutches and all. He gives speeches, helps with clinics, raises money for new programs – anything that will grow the sport. It goes even beyond that. On Friday, November 20th several wheel-chair bound persons attended the Iowa City Duals. Gable spent time with every one of them – talking, signing autographs and laughing.

It’s no secret that I’m a Gable fan. It was a trip to Ames to see him wrestle that first drew me to the sport. I’d like to think that he has inspired me in some part to achieve whatever small successes I have. He and my father have been the shining examples of a principle in which I’ve come to believe – “Don’t talk – act”.

Wrestling is blessed with lots of “doers” - Michael Novogratz and Al Bevilacqua at Beat the Streets, J Robinson, Mike Moyer at the NWCA, Jason Bryant, Kyle Klingman, Lee Roy Smith and dozens of others from volunteer table workers to the parents who run youth wrestling clubs. Many contribute without any recognition.

Here’s my challenge – tell me about your favorite unsung wrestling “doer”. Who is that person you know who has worked countless hours to get more kids on the mat or more fans in the seats? You can send an email to me at, leave a blog comment or respond to a forum thread. After Christmas I’ll include your top nominations in a blog. Here’s your chance to thank that person you’ve always wanted to thank or tell someone’s good story.

And, Dan – thanks.


Jim Harshaw said...

John Kammauff of Charlottesville, VA has been instrumental in developing the sport in the wrestling desert of central Virginia. He gives and gives.
Love your blog. Keep up the good work.
Jim Harshaw
Riot Sports Marketing

Jim Brown said...


Thanks for the nomination. May I use your name in the blog.