Around the MAT

by Jeff Hughes

November 1, 2000

Twelve days left until the season starts! Can you folks believe it? First of all I would like to wish all the teams in the state football playoffs good luck this weekend.

My topic today is about sportsmanship in the the sport of wrestling today. I think that good sportsmanship has gone out the window in the past decade in wrestling. I remember going to varsity matches when I was younger. Not once during these young experiences did I experience poor sportsmanship. Wrestling was truly a gentleman's sport. The coaches sat in the corner and didn't leave their seat, the wrestlers shook hands afterwards and that was that. In wrestling today, we question whether or not shaking the hands of other coaches is appropriate. We question whether or not we should have elaborate celebrations after big victories. We basically just question too much period. The youth of America changes from generation to generation. Wrestling has always been our constant. We could always count on wrestling being a gentleman's sport and count on good sportsmanship. Now we can't and it is a sad thing.

First of all, I have always been taught good sportsmanship. I have not always shown it, but it has been instilled in me. Not shaking another coaches hand is a disgrace in my opinion (This is my opinion, correct me if I am wrong folks). It shows that do you do not show appreciation of the other coaches efforts to prepare his wrestler for competition. Even if you are superior to your opponent, it is good sportsmanship to shake the other coaches hand. Most of the time, it isn't the coaches fault that the wrestler is "bad". Disobedient wrestlers with poor work ethics usually do get slaughtered. A coach can only do so much to prepare a wrestler. Have any of you out there ever heard the term "respect your elders?" These coaches have built the background of what we call "West Virginia wrestling" today. Where would we be if we didn't have the Rod Oldham's and the Bob Dutton's, and the Dix Manning's and the Jim Potts'? These are some of the guys who have made WV wrestling what it is. It is disrespect to not shake the hand of someone like Larry Shaw after a match. The man has put decades into wrestling. He has built a great program at Oak Glen and then you can't even respect someone like him for that? Come on guys.Most of you guys have been in the sport for a decade at best. Lets not neglect good sportsmanship. I remember an occasion last year at the state tournament where a wrestler lost a match on, well at least my opinion, a bad call. The wrestler, who was a senior, lost his last chance at a state title on this call. Nevertheless, he still got up after the match and shook the other wrestler's hand and gave him a hug and then proceeded to shake the other coaches hand. Despite the anger the wrestler must have felt, he still displayed good sportsmanship. Can you say "class?" Please show good sportsmanship, your really only hurting yourself when you don't.

This sounds like a personal plea on my behalf, but guys PLEASE work on your grades!!!! In high school, I thought that wrestling was the world and nothing else mattered. I spent so much time concentrating on my matches that it affected my studies. Believe it or not, grades are important! I finished high school with a 2.7 when if I actually would have applied myself, I could have had well over a 3 point GPA. Plus, you miss out on things too. I am in college now, and the first few weeks of school I was just trying to catch up on what I missed in high school. I am not even there yet, but it gets easier everyday because I actually like school now that I am trying hard at it. Academia has it's rewards. Ask anyone who has a college degree. Wrestling can take you places but it can only take so many of us. A college degree can take you so much farther. Look at the long-term benefits guys, I am sure you will agree.

Well guys that is all I have for this time, remember to train hard, eat right and work hard at school. All of your dreams will come true!


E-mail me at JH145DEADSEXY@aol.com by Nov.5 with the correct answer, I will post all of those with the correct answer in my next article.

Until next time, -Jeff :)

September 14 Around the Mat

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