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The Press Box for January 22

By Staff | Jan 22, 2020

One on One. That’s the essence of wrestling, and the reason I’m fascinated by the sport. It reminds me of boxing, just one person confronting another; nothing gets in the way of that. And that is the true beauty of the sport. This week I heard people downgrade wrestling and they certainly had justifiable reasons. It’s a very dangerous sport; you can obviously get hurt, hurt badly. But it still has those primal elements to it that I enjoy, those basic ingredients that teach you so much about yourself.

Wrestling is not only just a great conditioner of your body, it sharpens your physical skills, taps your physical potential — but it also does great things for your spirit and mind. Great wrestlers get great mental discipline and stay focused. It’s the same with a chess player. You can almost see them thinking.in the ring: their movements are so well thought out. It’s like they are chess champions. There is a purpose to all their movements. Their mind is always laying strategic traps for their opponent.

I wasn’t to skillful as a wrestler or a chess player for that matter, we didn’t have it as a sport when I was in school. We didn’t have boxing either, but I do remember boxing in phys. ed class a few times. That didn’t work out to well either. It wouldn’t be allowed today, although I think it may be safer than wrestling.

Listen, high school wrestling is a tough sport, but there are a lot of aggressive youngsters out there who need some kind of outlet to vent all their energy. I appreciate wrestling for doing this; it’s definitely a sport for kids who don’t have much hope in anything else. It gives kids a structured opportunity to express what’s inside them, to channel aggressive impulses. Critics of the sport have to consider this positive value of the sport. Wrestlers are training themselves to deal logically with their opponents, or to understand what fair play is all about.

These kids who take up the sport may get banged around some and may even suffer injury, but the lessons they learn will stay with them all their lives. I enjoy watching wrestling, I see kids come into the ring with a supreme belief in themselves, confident of winning. It doesn’t seem to matter if they are over matched, they go in there brawling, feeling as though they can emerge victorious, no matter who their opponent is. That says a lot to me. It shows they have character.

I use to love watching boxing on TV. It was the best place for me to analyze a fight, watching it all by myself, I could really get into it. When your alone it’s only you and the sheer pleasure of watching two men challenge each other. Nothing in the world of sports beats that for excitement. That’s how it made me feel this week as I watched some wrestling.

I have many memories of great sporting events, but the top three for me were Mark Spitz’s seven gold metals in the 1972 Olympics, the U.S. Hockey team’s 1980 Olympic gold medal championship team, and Mary Lou Retton’s individual gymnastics title in 1984. Name me any better if you can!

The West Virginia Mountaineers basketball team is opening eyes all over the country. They did what was expected by many, they dropped one at Kansas State on Saturday. Shooting woes and lack of quality defense didn’t help matters.

They still have the best combination of big men in the country. Who can argue that. When they are at home and the Red Carpet is rolled onto the court and the Mountaineer mascot nearly blows the roof off the Coliseum with a blast from his musket, WVU basketball springs into life. The Coliseum houses WVU tradition and pride.

The Mountaineers have made us forget about last year which ended on a sour note with no post season tournament. Nobody, not the coaches, the players, or the fans were happy with their record. They take their basketball seriously in Morgantown, where Jerry West once wore the WVU uniform. Coach Huggins made a strong commitment that what happened last year would not happen again if he has anything to do with it. You see the results!

They have a relentless defense and a fearless attack on the boards, but at the foul line they tremble. That is their true weakness. Send them to the line often and you have a chance. There is still a lot more the Mountaineers can do and coach Huggins will make sure it gets done. eparsons@tylerstarnews.com.