Wresting is a great sport - super intense, man on man fighting, but it takes more skill than it does the ability to just punch someones face in. One quick move, and the entire match can go your way . . . or their way. I watched enough of it as a high school student in Iowa to appreciate the intensity and how much dedication these wrestlers put into their sport. They wrestlers and my high school were the first kids up in the morning, and the only kids in the lunch room who couldn't afford to eat in fear of not "making weight" for the match that week. I dare say, wrestling was more popular than football. It was pretty much accepted that you could ditch school and go up to Des Moines for the day to watch the Iowa State Wrestling Tournament.
I recently saw an article about a senior wrestler at the University of Iowa who threw his second place medal in the trash, and needless to say, it really pisses me off.
Wrestling is a big thing in Iowa. In Iowa, they call Michael Jordan the "Dan Grabel of basketball." Dan Grabel is the long time head wrestling coach at the University of Iowa. Did you know that? I didn't, but I know who Michael Jordan is.
No offense, Iowa.
But seriously, I don't want to start an argument about the importance of wrestling or any other sport. Anyone can say, "(Fill in the blank) is the toughest sport..." or "You wouldn't understand unless you played (fill in the blank)..." You can make an argument that any sport is the best. But, the mental game of any sport is the same. It's about being able to use your body to the fullest potential, and that includes your brain, which includes your attitude. Bad attitude usually leads to defeat. Geez, haven't you seen the Karate Kid? Those douche bag kids get their asses handed to them by a younger, weaker kid because he has heart and the ability to catch flies with chopsticks.
To praise this kid for "taking nothing less than 1st place," or saying, "It's his medal, he can do what he wants with it," is just complete bullshit.
Now you all know I think giving out medals to just anyone who participates is a little overdone. But, a second place medal in the Big Ten college tournament is nothing to scoff at. Even being in the tournament is a huge accomplishment. Whether or not you decide to respect a piece of metal that represents your achievements is up to you; but throwing it in the trash at the tournament as a sign of your disdain is a sign of mental weakness. (And makes you a complete douche bag, by the way.)
When someone gives you a medal, you should realize all of the pain and hardship other people have put into giving YOU the opportunity to compete at a tournament. People went out of their way to coach you, mentor you, make your singlet and athletic supporter for you, and someone in a back room somewhere made sure that your name was engraved on a plaque somewhere. Have a little respect.
I also had someone tell me, "It's a guy thing, you just wouldn't understand." Excuse me, I don't have a penis, but I've taken enough science to understand how it works. I've also played enough sports, and had enough goals and ambition in my life to understand that you don't win all the time, no matter how hard you try.
If you don't like being second, well you've got a really hard life ahead of you, son. You are not going to be at the top of your sport forever, so what are you going to do with your life when it's all over? Teach kids that they suck if they get second place? Get a grip, kid. College is supposed to teach you how to survive as an adult, not be a crybaby. I hope you are not sitting on a couch eating potato chips when you are my age, but let's face it - the odds are against you.