A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Friday, January 19, 2007

Why I Hate Wrestling

And no, I'm not talking about "pro wrestling,"either. I was standing near the gym, eyeballing three boys who were acting like knuckleheads, when along came "Pee-wee." He looked down in the mouth. Every week he asks if he can pass Checkpoint Cornelius where I guard the hallway and its bathrooms from dirty deeds so that he can go weigh-in to find out if he can eat lunch and drink some milk. Not when, not how much, but IF.

"Hey there, Pee-wee. How'd the weigh-in go?"

"It sucked! I'm five pounds over for the match this weekend! I haven't eaten since yesterday morning, either! And now I can't eat lunch!"

And off he walked, his head practically hanging down to his belt-buckle. Now this is a fit kid-- lean muscle, probably about 5'9" or so. But he's being expected to compete in a weight class that obviously does not match his body. Every day I watch him walk around (he's constantly moving) eating ONE mini-muffin.

This. Is. Not. Healthy.

There is no way he can safely lose 5 pounds in less than 72 hours. I am seriously afraid that he will hurt himself with this yo-yo dieting when he is not in any way out of shape, and is already on the skinny side for his height.

And that's why I hate wrestling.


At 1/19/07, 6:29 PM, Anonymous Cathy said...

That's a shame - I hate wrestling too, then.

At 1/19/07, 6:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A very good friend of mine's brother developed a very serious eating disorder after being on both the track and wrestling teams in high school. He is married now and has a great life, but he is still struggling with this disorder. (And people think it only happens to girls.)

At 1/20/07, 5:56 AM, Anonymous Miss Profe said...

The only way this horror will end is if parents boycott the participaton of thier sons from wrestling.

If these were girls, we wouldn't tolerate it.

At 1/20/07, 7:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This type of behavior is sooo bad for them.

At my last school, the wrestling coach "officially" discouraged the not eating, wearing plastic wrap arounf the entire body while wearing a ton of layers of clothing and running 10 miles type of behavior but the word on the street was he actually EXPECTED the boys to do this behavior to make their weight. So very sad.

I also used to watch the boys "eat" their lunch in the cafeteria and then go "dispose of it" in the bathroom. I tried to talk to the coach about the behavior and was basically told to mind my own business. I went to the parents and was told the same thing. I felt bad for the school nurse because she's the one that tried to stop it and take care of the "problems" that would arise when the kids would crash.

Oh, that HS were not only state wrestling champs but also regional champs as well.

The thrill of victory . . . . .

At 1/20/07, 4:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the eating thing wasn't bad enough, there immune system is compromised and they get sick pretty easily. All those body fluids...yuck. Got three boys and none of them ever wanted to try.

How awful for you to witness this everyday!

At 1/20/07, 5:17 PM, Blogger The MAN Fan Club said...

that is pretty bad. Makes TV wrestling that much more appealing.

At 1/20/07, 7:19 PM, Anonymous aquiram said...

I agree. I have been battling this obstacle for weeks now. It is sad to say that there is no one on my side, either. The wrestling coaches don't care or ignore it. The AP also ignores it. I have three young gentlemen who have struggled in my class all year long--because they are the type that have to work hard to get through--and now, with their nutrition out of whack it is useless to get them to focus and work.

At 1/20/07, 10:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liz from I Speak of Dreams.

It's not necessary to boycott HS wrestling, it is just necessary to get the danged thing out of the 19th century.

Collegiate wrestling is on the way-- see this article from Atlantic Coaching Conference

In 1991, the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association adopted radical changes setting a minimum wrestling weight criteria. Following the deaths, the NCAA Wrestling Committee with guidance from the NCAA Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports Committee adopted significant rule changes to address weight loss behaviors in the sport of wrestling keeping in mind that weight is the competitive equity variable in the sport.

Three guiding principles were established to provide a foundation for the formulation of these rule changes.

1) Any and all weight control practice that could potentially risk the health of the participant should be eliminated from wrestling. To do this effectively, the incentives to attempt these practices must be minimized.

2) The focus in the sport should be on competition not weight control.

3) Recommendations should be practical, effective, and enforceable.

Maybe you could print out the article and give it to the wrestling coach.

At 1/21/07, 12:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back when my son was 7 or 8 he was playing football. He was always tall for his age and tended to be right at the cut off for the maximum weight limit for his age. We didn't want him to move up because the kids were so much bigger than he was. Every Friday night before the Saturday game he endured hot showers to "sweat it out" of him and he always took one right before heading out to the park. He wanted to play so bad......Hubby and I managed to get through one season before we said no more. Luckily my little man had had enough too! I totally agree with you.

At 1/21/07, 8:54 PM, Blogger Mrs. T said...

I couldn't agree more.

At 1/21/07, 9:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't have an account here but I'm a first year teacher who reads your blog often.

Anyway, here's a link you have to see:


At 1/21/07, 11:30 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

So my question is this: why don't the weight classes correspond to real boys' body types?

Why do these parents tolerate this? Because they think that only girls get eating disorders?

At 1/22/07, 12:51 PM, Anonymous Alsoomse said...

I'm not sure that the fact it concerns boys makes a difference. A sport like Judo has the same system of weight categories and girls go through the same struggles with weight management.

If wrestling is like Judo, there really is no easy answer to the weight dilemma. One thing is sure, you need to weigh in at the top of your category. If your natural bodyweight falls more or less a category limit, then you're lucky because you're either don't have to diet or only have a couple of pounds to loose. Now if unfortunately, yous natural bodyweight falls in between categories, you're in trouble. Either you compete in the upper category against people who are naturally heavier, thus stronger than you are, or you try and loose the weight.

I'm not sure the parents can really have their word. As a teenager, I competed in Judo and voluntarily subjected myself to not eating, not drinking, plastic wraps and stuff (And I was the only one pressuring myself). My parents warned me about it, talked to me about it, but since I had decided that it was what I was going to do, they didn't really have that much influence.

I cant' think of an easy answer to this problem. It does seem important to me that coaches follow carefully the growth of their athletes and give them sensible and responsible advice concerning the choice of their weight category. They should discourage all extreme weight control measures, even maybe going as far as refusing to let a boy compete in a category that is too low for his body type.

Again, if it's like Judo, the behavior is so ingrained in the sport tradition and myths that it will always be an uphill battle.

At 1/23/07, 9:20 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Well, I came to Judo as an adult, so that's a big difference-- and, I obviously compete in the very heaviest weight class-- I think it's called "lady mastodon."

But there was another weigh-in today. And there's no way I can protest-- our principal was a wrestler.

Is there any way to change the weight categories? If not, why not?

At 1/30/07, 1:17 PM, Blogger ricki said...

Aw man. I remember seeing that in high school - the guys eating even more pickily and even less than the "dieting" girls. (I think I remember one guy passing out in class from lack of food).

And I see it happening now in my Youth Group kids...they even refuse "healthy food" because they want to make that weight class. It's not right! I don't have a problem with them choosing not to eat a cookie or not to eat the chips with their dinner, but when they are even refusing salad, something's gone wrong.

At 2/14/07, 12:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The majority of wrestling coaches are sensible and educate their wrestlers on how to lose a few pounds the healthy way. There are also rules in all fifty states that regulate weight lose. They include pre-season weigh ins, hydration tests and body fat tests all of which must be supervised by a doctor. Wrestling is the only sport where so many steps are taken to monitor healthy habits.
It is a complex sport where athelets who are not the fastest, biggest, strongest can excel through hard work and study. It is also one of the few sports that teaches kids healthy, strategical aggression with an inherent respect for the opposition and his family, really.
Take a look at America's big sport, football, where players are encouraged to gain weight by any means possible. We live in an obese nation and this is seen as acceptable in public schools across a nation where science has proven that a lean diet and exercise prevents our biggest killer diseases.
Don't be narrow thinkers, please.

At 2/22/07, 9:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My son decided to try wrestling this year. I have discovered I absolutely detest this "sport". It just seems violent and the spectators make a nascar race look like a night at the symphony. I also had no idea about the weight loss issues. I don't want to discourage him from trying new things, but when this season is over he is done with this sport.

At 8/21/08, 2:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My boys both wrestle and so did I. My sons are 8 and 12 and the pressure isn't quite as bad as it is in HS. BUT I will never let them act like a moron to loose weight PERIOD. They can work hard and do the best they can to safely get lean and mean and that's it. If they are over they are over. Wrestling is a great sport because it's TOUGH. I don't think there is a tougher sport out there. Also, it's one on one. My favorite part about wrestling is that there can be no politics in the sport. If my son and the coaches son are the same weight and my son can beat him than he is going to be in that slot. That doesn't happen in baseball, football, basketball, or any other sport I can think of. The bottom line is that it's the parents' responsibility to make sure their kids aren't cutting weight irresponsibility. I stay involved and know the coaches. If a coach tries to pressure my kid to do something that can risk their livelihood there is going to be a huge problem. Again this isn't a reason to hate a sport that teaches discipline, determination,perseverance and gives the kid a great sense of accomplishment and self confidence.

At 1/22/09, 11:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a former HS and now college wrestler, i have been making weight for some time now. Its the one part of the sport i hate more then anything else. But to be competitive, one must go through the process. 5 lbs in 3 days is not hard core weight loss. I have seen people (myself included) need to drop 12lbs or so in less then 24 hours.

At 2/3/09, 12:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im a wrestler and i hate it. I hope the teachers will notice that we are trying to loss more weight then we can and no longer have the sport at our school.

At 3/13/09, 8:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 3/18/09, 10:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We've recently (past 3 mos) found out our son (17) has bulimia. We saw it all happen during wrestling season, but were not aware of what it was...neither was he at first. He got the flu, like the rest of the family. However, due to dehydration of weight cutting the flu lasted longer than normal and then became bulimia before our eyes... We were taking him to the doctor all the time, family doctor, specialist, etc. He even ended up in the hospital for two days. He was treated for potassium deficiency and given anti-anxiety meds as we all knew he was highly stressed. However, he only took the meds for a week, then stopped at the end of wrestling season (which didn't end well). He became very depressed for awhile, but his attitude has improved over the last week. However, I know he is still bingeing and purging. He claims he hasn't thrown up since he was in the hospital, even denying it when blood tests prove he has... We have had him continuing visits to an adolescent specialist doctor about every two weeks since his hospital visit, so we are keeping on top of his physical help. However, he still refuses he has a problem and won't talk to anyone about it. I feel like I am trying all the things I'm suppose to be doing, but not making any progress. I don't want this illness to continue, but don't know what else I can do to help. I'm afraid to let him go to college and try to continue to pursue his wrestling career and life in general... Any suggestions?

At 3/23/09, 7:39 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Dear anonymous:

Oh, my. I am so very distressed by the pain you are currently experiencing.

First, since your son refuses to admit that he has a problem, have you sought out a counselor, preferably someone who specializes in eating disorders?

What has been the coach's role during this entire crisis? Is your son the only wrestler displaying dangerous eating habits? If the coach is oblivious, have you contacted the athletic director?

Does your state have any sort of

Not to be presumptuous, but if his health is in danger, you could make allowing him to go to college conditional upon seeking out and cooperating with help for his very dangerous illness.

I do not know which state in which you live, but here is something from Oklahoma's Secondary School Athletics Association (found here-- http://www.ossaa.com/partners/ossaa/sports/wrestling/wr_manual.pdf):

OSSAA High School Weight Management Program – In compliance with NFHS wrestling rule 1-3-1 & 2 which states: Each individual state high school association shall develop and utilize a specified weight-control program which will discourage excessive weight reduction and/or wide variations in weight, because this may be harmful to the competitor. Such a program should be planned to involve the wrestler, as well as the parents/guardians, physician and coach in establishing the minimum certified weight class. An ideal program would be one where a medical professional would assist in establishing a minimum weight class through hydration testing, body fat assessment and a monitored descent plan. Minimum body fat should not be lower than seven percent for males or 12 percent for females. For health and safety reasons, the state’s weight control program shall require hydration testing with a specific gravity not greater than 1.025, which immediately precedes the body fat assessment. A minimum weight class will be determined by a body fat assessment. Any wrestler’s assessment that is below seven percent for males and 12 percent for females shall have a physician’s release to participate. This release shall not allow a wrestler to participate at a weight class below that for which the initial assessment allows. A program to monitor an average weight loss of 1.5 percent a week, with descent, may use the minimum weight determined by the body fat testing as the lowest weight class a wrestler may wrestle.

I would check to see if your state has something similar. Please contact me at head_apeAThotmailDOTcom. I am praying for you, anonymous, and your entire family.

At 1/21/10, 10:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a high school wrestler. First off a little known fact is that high school wrestling is a co-ed sport. I belong to a team of 75 and we only have 2 girl wrestlers (it is obvious that the coaches are alot easier on the them than the boys).

I recently came down with a staph infection on my left knee from wrestling. This is the 5ft time in 4 years ive had to take an antibiotic for a wrestling related disease and I am getting worried that by the time im 40 I may have built up antibiotic resistance.

The diet in wrestling is not the bad part of the sport due to the amount of water in the human body. I have never lost weight in 72 hour from not eating (that would be stupid) instead the accepted technique is to wait till 18 hours before weigh ins and lose 5-10 pounds by sweating and not drinking water. the weight of food is nothing compared to the weight of water.

At 7/3/11, 8:10 AM, Anonymous PV said...

Everyone mind your own business, I wrestled, and it's a great sport that teaches you discipline and cutting weight is part of it. If it is your son who is practicing unhealthy methods of weight loss, by all means stop him and do whatever you want; it's your kid. However, for all of you people who have nothing to do with it, keep your nose out of other people's lives. If you never wrestled, you don't understand what it's like and should admire the kids' dedication. "OMG!!! THERE KILLENG THEMSELVS." A wrestler does not have to cut weight to succeed, no one is forcing them and it's a personal choice. We are talking about their bodies and you have absolutely no right whatsoever to dictate what they do with them if it isn't illegal and doesn't disturb/involve you. Back off. You're all pathetic human beings and should be ashamed of yourselves for thinking you know anything at all about the sport.

At 11/14/11, 10:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been wrestling for 11 years and im now a senior in highschool and my parents are forcing me to wrestle again when i told that i quit because i cant keep doing something i hate.. and they said ill lose everything if i dont and so i honestly feel wrong about this like it is hurting my heart that im doing this..its like i sold my soul to the devil and idk what to do.

At 11/25/11, 10:53 AM, Anonymous Barbie- Wrestling Parent said...

Wrestling is a sport a parent either hates or loves for their child. Before you judge on a wrestler's weight lose tactics, maybe you should actually learn the sport.

A child can wrestle and lose weight sensibly and still be a strong wrestler. If a wrestler is having to lose 5lbs or more the week of a match or tournament, more than likely the child isn't disciplined enough to keep the weight off each week in a strong, healthy manner. A wrestler can loose weight in a healthy manner, by cutting out fatty foods, high sugar content, eat high protein meats, green veggies.

You blame the coaches and the actual sport for the weight loss issues...a wrestler has to be just as disciplined as the coaches can coach them to be.

Both college and high schools across the nation have drastically changed how the wrestlers are required to loose weight and their weights are kept tabs on more closely.

Maybe you should research a bit more of what the good aspects of wrestling are. It teaches kids to be disciplined in better eating habits when done correctly, discplined in mental preparedness of all aspects of life, builds team work ethic as well as individual work ethic and that is just a few good things that carries into a wrestler's lifetime.

Now do a little research on your end to see what good wrestling has done for others in our society such as politicians, actors and musicians and how it inspired to them to be where they are today. Below are a few to research:

Jay Mohr-Comedian, actor
John McCain-Politician
Denny Hastert-Politician, former speaker of the house (actually came and watched a few of my college wrestling practices due to being friends with the coach)
Tom Cruise-Actor (started acting after a knee injury during wrestling season)
Robin Williams-Actor
Ray Lewis-NFL star

More people to review:
"I would have all of my Offensive Lineman wrestle if I could."
- John Madden, Hall of Fame Football Coach

A few NFL players come to my mind:

Stephan Neal NE Pats & CSUB
Mike Reid Cincinnati & PSU
Charlie Getty KC & PSU
Irv Pankey LA Rams & PSU
Chuck Noll, Pittsburgh Steelers – PA State Champ
Steve Sefter, DT, Philadelphia Eagles, 2x PA State Champ & PSU NCAA All-American

Check out the website for an entire list of people who wrestled


So you people hate the sport, get a life!

At 1/17/12, 1:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a joke. Just a bunch of parents and teachers going on a rant about a sport they clearly don't understand.
Every season begins with minumum weight certifications. This process measures the body fat percentage of each individual wrestler and gives each wrestler just that - a minimum weight.
Wretlers are then only allowed to lose a certain percentage of their weight each week which prevents irrational weight/water weight loss.
In comparision to the remainder of the general population, yes wrestlers appear to be "starving" themselves because they ARENT BINGE EATING AT MCDONALDS EVERYNIGHT LIKE THE REST OF THE GENERAL POPULACE.
If you want to address a health issue go up to the fat kid and take away his six twinkies instead of addressing the wrestling coach. Obesity affects something like 10% of America.
Do some research, and go for a jog.

At 5/10/12, 1:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You hate it because you don't understand it. Wrestlers are the only athletes really willing to put their entire body on the line to win. Other athletes talk about dedication but there aren't too many other sports out there that take so much and give back so little. You have to be a little mentally unbalanced to embrace the lifestyle that being a champion wrestler requires. I applaud you for your concern for the kid but I think its rather harsh of you to criticize something HE has chosen to do. It takes a great deal to put yourself through it all but the end I always found it to be worth the few months of suffering.
2009 152 lbs State Champion

At 1/27/13, 8:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 1/27/13, 8:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your son is a fucking pussy

At 3/15/13, 3:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We all know its a tough sport! My brother is my coach and I hate it because he's so much harder on me. Tomorrow im going 117s and I weighed in at 124. Im not saying its healthy to cut it but you gotta do what you signed up for. I can't even imagine what this will do to my eatinnng habits if im onnly an 8th
grade girll:(

At 12/19/13, 4:12 PM, Blogger cooper j said...

This is absolute bullshit.. I am a wrestler and I myself cut weight almost every week, I usually cut around 2-3 pounds. The weight cuts are not as radical as everyone claims they are. Cutting five in a matter of days is actually very easy, I watch what I eat which DOESNT mean that I don't eat, I just eat healthy, and then I will go on runs in the evenings and sometimes in the mornings and no I don't wear plastic bags or this nonsense, I simply put on a couple layers and run. This talk of not eating at all is not true it actually doesn't help to not eat, it makes it harder. Good wrestling coaches do not at all advocate the extreme weight cutting and always make sure that you are staying healthy and hydrated so for all the people that have never wrestled stop accusing the sport of these things. My greatest experiences in my life has been wrestling and the friends i have made through wrestling will be friendships that last an eternity, the bond between wrestling teammates is one that is unbreakable. Thanks for reading this and I hope that this changes some peoples thoughts about wrestling.

At 12/19/13, 4:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you hate the sport why are you doing it you moron!

At 1/3/14, 10:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ive been forced to lose weight from my dad. He is absolutely addicted to the sport. Ive been wrestling since I was little and have hated it ever since I started. I have weighed 165 to start, so I dropped to 160 no problem. and he wanted me to go down to the next weight class down (152), then once I barely got there, he starts telling me to lose more to go down to 145. I had to lie about certifying to the athletic trainer and tell him I weighed 150 to start. My mom hates it but once my dad makes up his mind, its done and over with. So I have been in and out of the sauna about 3 times a day, with practice later that night. Heres the kicker, I starve myself hardcore just to attempt to make this weight. Im not talking not eating for a day, I mean not eating for days...ive gone 5 days without eating before. Then when I can barely walk, he starts calling me names and basically that im embarrassing him for walking around like a zombie. So yea im a senior in high school, but this wrestling stuff....has ruined my life. Once im done in may, I will never look back at this sport. People say "youll miss it in a couple years", ok yea I may miss it, but then ill think about how shitty I was treated and what I had to go through just to "win". Im good enough that people ask if im getting a scholarship for wrestling. Yea, ive got plenty of offers to go to schools, pretty tippy top schools, but that means I would have to wrestle for them. No. Id rather have a low paying job and work my way up, then go to college and continue this sport. All because of the stupid weight loss. Its just too much, I can understand losing 2-5 lbs, but 15-20 lbs????? Bit insane if you ask me...

At 4/25/14, 4:32 PM, Blogger Anonymous said...

Nobody makes anyone wrestle. If someone wants to go to a lower weight class, it's your choice. There is a lot to sacrifice, but I wrestle in high school, and in response to the original comment, I lost six pounds in a day and had to wrestle later that day. Yes, it was the worst day of my life, but it was my choice. Don't hate on wrestling. Hearing about people talk about it is much much different, so don't say this crap about how cutting weight needs to be banned. IT'S PART OF THE SPORT.

At 12/25/14, 3:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just say fuck you all ive cut weight for 5 yrs to make my weight class im just as healthy now as i was then and i feel great your just pussies who cant understand the sport becuase you dont have what it takes to make it

At 1/4/15, 4:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a varsity highschool wrestler (Sophomore) in NY. I currently have to maintain weight at 138. I am 6'1". I can't tell you what is worse, the constant struggle of trying to make weight, or the emotional toll it takes on you. I'm told by my coach I'm the hardest worker in the room, but I hate the sport. I lose 6 lbs in practice by sweating it all out by wearing multiple hoodies and garbage bags, only to come home and fast, maybe take an Epsom salt bath, and then go to bed. I want out, but the pressure of the rest of the team along with the coaches, there's just no escape without your parents pulling you out. I just can't take it anymore, I am legitimately going insane over it.

At 1/28/18, 3:36 PM, Blogger Parker Venz said...

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