Monday, January 4, 2010

The doers - part 2

A month ago I asked blog readers to nominate some of the “doers” in the sport of wrestling - the people who may not always get the recognition, but who work tirelessly for the growth and betterment of the sport.

Almost immediately I got an email from Jason Bryant, nominating Pat Tocci and Tammy Tedesco at the National Wrestling Coaches Association. “…(they) are the lifeblood of the organization.” After watching Tammy log dozens of miles as she covers the UNIDome during National Duals, I have to concur.

Jeff McCall, the coach at the University of Texas-Arlington, brought up Jim Giunta, the head of the National Collegiate Wrestling Association. We wrestling fans frequently forget the real purpose of intercollegiate athletics and get obsessed with the sport at only the NCAA Division I or international levels. This paragraph from the NCWA mission statement summarizes the objectives of Giunta and NCWA members.

“The NCWA was founded with the student athlete in mind. We are composed of non-paid volunteers committed to helping our young people accomplish their goals and dreams, and to reach for excellence in everything they do. Through athletic endeavor, club leadership responsibilities and community involvement, NCWA students will leave college life to meet a competitive world head on. They will have been equipped through their academic involvement and athletic success to take the competition to the mat, score and emerge a champion.”

This came in from former Cornell College wrestler, Tim Hicks.

“First I would like to mention my former HS coach at LaPorte City High School (Now Union HS of LaPorte City) Dick Ingvall. He was not only my wrestling coach but also my next door neighbor. He was always there to push me to the edge and encourage me despite a very rough road early in my career. My HS classmates and I were the beginning of hisa couple generations of some very successful years at LPC/Union which included a State Team and State Tourny championship. He built that program from the ground up through starting a junior/youth program.

Second I would like to nominate Bob Siddens. While I was never coached by Coach Siddens, he officiated several of my HS and College matches. Because of our familiarity he was always encouraging me (as well as my teammates and opponents) at every level. He would come to me and others after matches to give us tips and critiques for our continued improvement. He even came up to me after a match against Ohio St. my Senior year at Cornell and asked why I tried a specific move with around 30 to 45 seconds left in the match. I was leading 3-2 and the kid from OSU was riding me (with a leg ride), riding time was not a factor but I thought he was getting ready to call me for stalling and I needed to attempt to get out well my attempt gave up 2 back points and the match was lost 4-3. I learned a valuable lesson about situational wrestling from him at that time.

Barron Bremner and Steve Devries. I would have never continued my wrestling career without the influence of Barron Bremner. He was instrumental in luring me and several others potential wrestlers to Cornell College to compete for Coach Devries. I was all set on Wartburg and Football (with a slight chance to wrestle for Dick Walker) until Coach Ingvall encouraged me to meat and talk to Barron. Barron sold me on Cornell and his impact on wrestling is legendary.”

Coach Devries took a group of good to average wrestlers and developed us into a group of very upstanding individuals not only as wrestlers but as people. He touched several generations of kids at all levels from youth to college. A great motivator and coach he was always there to help us grow as individuals first then athletes. I still carry alot of the principles learned from him in every day life.”

Finally, from Jim Harshaw of Riot Sports Marketing, “John Kammauff of Charlottesville, VA has been instrumental in developing the sport in the wrestling desert of central Virginia. He gives and gives.”

Take a few minutes today and remember the “doers” in your life.

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