As I get older, I better understand the saying, “time flies,” because it seems to go faster every year. I can’t believe it is already July. I need to savor every day.
The Patriot Elite Wrestling Club is in its second year of existence. We have been blessed with great leadership which has made it possible for us to get guys to competitions and training. We are indebted to the efforts of our board. This year we were able to send 3 wrestlers to the final world team trials – 1 in the open division and 2 in the junior division. We left the tournament with our first Junior World Team member. Sahid Kargbo won the mini-tournament with 2 first period tech fall wins. In the finals, he lost the first bout, but came back to win the final two matches to win the best of 3 series. I was pleased with his ability to adapt in his matches and that he was able to showcase the effort he put in training for the event. I am excited for him to compete in his first international competition. The Junior World Championships will be next month in Bulgaria.
Having guys compete in the spring and summer is a benefit to our college program. Guys can continue to learn. When you have a competition deadline, it is natural to train with greater focus and intensity. It is harder to push one’s self when there isn’t an impending deadline. Getting competition is a benefit even if the style is not collegiate. Guys can learn mat strategy and how to deal with competitive stress outside of the college season.
As a coach, it is easy to see who is preparing for a competition and who is not. Guys training, for something important to them, find a way to get their training in. Guys, who do not have that future competition in their mind, find excuses not to train. It is simply human nature. Deadlines often help us get things done. You can’t procrastinate when you have to make weight and compete in front of a crowd. You have to prepare.
Along with summer training, I also want the guys to continue developing as men. Thus, I do give them some off the mat tasks. One of the things I require them to do during the summer is to read a book. J Robinson had the team do this while I was at Minnesota. I always thought it was a good thing to do. Guys who have completed their first year in the program at George Mason are required to read Tony Dungy’s book “Uncommon.” I think it is a great book for men 18-24 to read. Heck, I think it is good for all ages.
I am having the guys who have been with me now for two seasons at George Mason read “The Passion of Command” by Colonel B.P. McCoy. Although I think the warrior clichés are too often used in sport, I think we can still learn from the warrior type mentality. Our sport is often fight or flight. The training required to be successful is similar. The ability to function when fatigued, ingrained correct habits that can take over like instincts, basics win, having the right attitude and leadership skills.
I want Mason wrestlers to be consistent and diligent in their training. Be consistent and diligent in their personal life. Make good decisions on a consistent basis. Develop their core (character, honesty, integrity, humility, stewardship, courage).
Thanks to Mason Alums Dan and Patty Wotring, the athletic department participated in an alumni giving challenge. The highest percentage of alumni giving over-all, improvement over previous year, and young alumni, received an additional donation from the Wotring’s. We worked hard as a staff to try and win the challenge. I was also pleased when former Mason coaches and alumni helped rally the troops to try and win the challenge. Fundraising is a big part of the college wrestling coaches’ job. Programs depend on the support of their alumni. A program can survive and thrive through the support of the men who walked in the shoes of the current Mason wrestlers. We have yet to hear the final results of the challenge. I am hopeful we came out on top. Either way, I was pleased to have so many alums give back.
We are preparing for lots of events in the near future. A big one for our college program is the NWCA All-Star Meet that will be held on our campus on November 2nd. A big one for our club is the 2nd annual Paul Maltagliati Golf Outing which will be held on September 9th. A big one for me will be a commuter technique camp held in our wrestling room July 22-26 and our father/son camp held on July 26-27. I am excited to have Hall of Fame Coach John Owen as a guest clinician at both camps. Among Coach Owen’s accomplishments, he led North Idaho Junior College to 8 national team titles.