Dating all the way back to 776 BC at Olympia’s first Olympic Games, wrestling has not only been a recreational sport, but also a form of hand to hand combat.
Dan Gable, who had a collegiate career of 181-1 once said, “Once you’ve wrestled, everything else in life is easy.”
Wrestling is a lifelong commitment for some people. Junior State Qualifier Kyle Jenkins says he has been wrestling for 12 years, ever since he was five years old.
We asked Jenkins, with the sport being so difficult, why do students continue to wrestle? He replied, “Everyone seems to have a lot of fun together. Wrestling makes people closer than anyone can imagine.”
Wrestling is a sport still growing in popularity. Since 2003, the number of student wrestling in high school has increased by 40,000.
How can such a popular sport still by growing. According to Jenkins, “The sport has great interest because it takes a lot of hard work and brings a great reward. It helps you grow as a person and is a great way to make new friends and have fun.”
Wrestling is arguably one of the toughest sports, Sophomore Joey Andrassy said, “Wrestling is a tough sport, its a grind.” He continued to say, “The season is long and having to cut weight during Christmas break is hard.”
When wrestlers cut weight, they attempt to lose as much fat as possible to obtain a higher strength-to-mass ratio. Theoretically, that should give an advantage against wrestlers at the same weight. Some wrestlers go to extreme lengths to cut weight, such as not eating for days on end and drinking only a microscopic amount of water. Then, after one weighs in, one eats a large quantity of food and liquid in a small time, only to starve it off the next day. No other athlete in any other sport can say they go through that trouble just to participate at the next match.
Jenkins said, “Last year overall wasn’t too bad of a season. It was a young team and a down year, this year should be a lot different.”
When asking Andrassy what he looks forward to this season he said, “I’m looking forward to wrestling down in Columbus (for states) at the end of the season, I want to win that state title.”
After the new year if one is looking for a way to support these hard workers, the James G. Tyree Invitational will be held in the gym of the high school on January 3.