Category Archives: Call To Action

Call To Action: Giving Tuesday

Wrestlers are some of the most grateful people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. It could be that being involved in a sport that asks so much of the athlete both physically and mentally, has made wrestlers appreciate not only everything they earn but everything that is given to them as well. And, what is the one thing that most wrestlers are grateful for? The are grateful for the opportunity to wrestle. Time and time again you will hear wrestlers say that the reason they are successful or were able to overcome a challenge was because of the tools they acquired through wrestling.

With so many positive feelings toward the sport from those directly involved and fans alike, one would think that sport was in pretty good shape. In a sense it is, new opportunities are being created for future wrestlers; the latest generation of American wrestlers, on the international circuit, are poised to change the wrestling world landscape with dominant performances; and, the wrestling community mobilizes quickly when the sport’s place is threatened by those who cannot begin to understand the value and benefits it brings. But, that is just on the surface, it’s what we see in the media, it’s what makes us feel good about where the sport is at and where is heading in a public and global sense. Locally, the outlook may not be so rosy.

Sometimes, we forget that most youth club organizations are run by volunteers. We also tend to look at stipend-earning high school coaches as being justly compensated for the work they do and take it as a sign that the program is in a healthy state. It is easy for parents and wrestlers alike to overlook the sacrifices and work those coaches and volunteers put into the sport simply to give other wrestlers the same opportunities they had when they were wrestling at that age, and it’s getting more challenging each passing year.

It is not a rare thing to hear the story of a high school wrestling coach having to turn over a significant amount of hard-earned funds, raised over the summer, to their athletic director because the coach made the mistake of going the extra mile raising that money and the A. D. can find good use for those funds. It is also becoming more common for club coaches to have to find ways to subsidize some team members’ expenses out of their own pockets because the children’s parents have hit hard times and have become unable to make their financial contributions to the team.

I can list many examples where local wrestling is facing challenges. For those of us still involved in wrestling at some capacity, we know what is going on at our child’s or our own old club and at the high school team we tell stories about. For those of us no longer in touch with those local organizations, but who still attribute the character traits we have to wrestling, life happens, I know. We get busy, we get sidetracked, but let me tell you, things are getting tough for the youth club and high school teams of which you were a part. They need our help.

Thanksgiving Day is just around the corner and we will be taking inventory of the things we are grateful for, hopefully surrounded by people we are grateful to have in our lives. I hope at some point during that day wrestling comes into our minds. Hopefully, it will stay there through Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Sofa Sunday, and Cyber Monday.That way, when Tuesday comes around we will be ready to take action.

For the past six years, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving Day has been known as Giving Tuesday. And, what is this day about? The movement’s website puts it best:

#GivingTuesday harnesses the potential of social media and the generosity of people around the world to bring about real change in their communities; it provides a platform for them to encourage the donation of time, resources and talents to address local challenges. It also brings together the collective power of a unique blend of partners— nonprofits, civic organizations, businesses and corporations, as well as families and individuals—to encourage and amplify small acts of kindness.

It is with that goal, “to encourage and amplify small acts of kindness,” that I present this post to you. I know times are tough and getting tougher. I am not expecting anyone to whip out a checkbook and give an exuberant amount of money. But, if everyone who has been touched by wrestling (athletes, parents and fans alike) were to donate a small amount to their youth club, high school, and/or college teams—the impact would be considerable.

So, on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving Day, remember it’s #GivingTuesday so #GiveToWrestling because as you all know, wrestling will give back.

USC’s First Female Wrestler Needs Our Help

Zannatul Zanat, USC’s first female wrestler. Image from SC Wrestling Team Facebook Page

In 2012 a group of student-athletes worked to bring back wrestling to USC. Since then, the team has grown to a 30-member co-ed squad. They have placed in the top-5 in the NCWA West Coast Conference every year and have qualified 15 wrestlers in just three trips to the NCWA National Championship Tournament.

This season they want to send their first female qualifier, Zannatul Zanat, to the NCWA National Tournament. You can show support for college-level women’s wrestling in SoCal by donating whatever you can, simply visit Send USC Wrestling Team to the NCWA National Championship!

Let’s help get her and the rest of her team to Allen, Texas!

UPDATE: LACS Weigh-in Outrage

Hours ago, I posted about the wrestler that was barred from weighing in at the CIF-LACS Finals for doing some sit-ups in the pre-weigh-in area. I have an update on that story.

Unfortunately, despite the efforts of all coaches in attendance, the wrestler was not allowed to weigh in and as a result was unable to wrestle and possibly missed out on the opportunity to go to the CIF State Championships.

A lot of readers have shared the outrage the coaches displayed in the accompanying video to the original post but some have asked if maybe the Weight Assessor was in the right.

The NFHS Wrestling Rule book states the following: Rule 4, Section 4, Article 3

At anytime the use of sweat boxes; hot showers; whirlpools; rubber, vinyl and plastic-type suits; or similar artificial heating devices; diuretics; or other methods for quick weight reduction purposes is prohibited and shall disqualify an individual from competition.

Do a few sit-ups fall under that rule?

NFHS Rule 4, Section 5, Article 3  states:

For any event, all contestants shall be present in and remain in the designated weigh-in area at the time established by the meet administration. Contestants shall not leave the designated weigh -in area unless permission is granted by the meet administration . Dual meet weigh-in shall proceed through the weight classes beginning with the random draw selected weight class, continue through the weight classes, wrap around to the 106-pound weight class and end immediately upon the completion of the highest weight class preceding the random draw selected weight class. When all wrestlers for a weight class have had an opportunity to weigh in and the next class is called, that weight class is closed. Tournament weigh-in may proceed by team( s) with the lowest weight class to the highest and end immediately upon the completion of the highest weight class. A contestant shall weigh in for only one weight class during the weigh-in period. If only one scale is available, a contestant may step on and off that scale two times to allow for mechanical inconsistencies in the scale. If multiple scales are available, a contestant may step on and off the first scale two times to allow for mechanical inconsistencies in that scale. If the contestant fails to make weight on the first scale, the contestant shall immediately step on each available scale one time in an attempt to make weight. During time off the scale( s), activities that promote dehydration are prohibited.

Being that the wrestler had not stepped on any scale, “During time off the scale( s), activities that promote dehydration are prohibited.” does not apply to her

Furthermore, the LACS own Gold Book states the following: Article 310 Wrestling, section 3102 Weigh-ins. subsection E

The use of laxatives, emetics, excessive food and liquid restriction, self-induced vomiting, hot rooms, hot boxes, saunas, and steam rooms is prohibited for any purpose. The use of diuretics at any time is prohibited. Regardless of the purpose, the use of vapor-impermeable suits (e.g. rubber or rubberized nylon) or any similar devices used solely for dehydration is prohibited. Artificial means of rehydration (i.e. intravenous hydration) are also prohibited. Violators of these rules shall be suspended for the competition(s) for which the weigh-in is intended. A second violation would result in suspension for the remainder of the season. (Revised May 2010 Federated Council)

Again, do a few sit-ups violate LACS own regulations?

Maybe the LACS 2016-17 Finals Bulletin would shed some light into the issue. But all it states is the following:

Compliance to NFHS Rule 4, Section 5 will be strictly enforced. Weigh-in will begin promptly at 1:00 p.m. on Friday and 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, no one will be admitted or permitted to weigh-in after the doors to the weigh-in area have closed without the approval of the tournament director.

In the video, when Mr. Ramos asks where the scales are at and follows up by stating that it is not the weigh-in room, you can hear Mr. Jones say, “no, it is not,” in agreement before asking the coaches to leave the room. Which means the wrestler was not in violation of any of the above cited rules.

Some will say this is simply a matter of rule interpretation but if that is the case, it is very poor rule interpretation following neither the word nor the spirit of the rules.

If you believe an injustice has been committed and would like never see it happen again in the LACS you can contact the following to let them know how you feel:

Tom Jones, CIF Los Angeles City Section, Certified Assessor and Tom Jones, LACS Section Office Representative and Finals Tournament Director

Mike Castillo, Girl’s & Boy’s Assistant Coordinator

Steve Soltysik, Girl’s & Boy’s Assistant Coordinator

John Aguirre, CIF-LACS Commissioner

Duane Morgan, CIF Central Coast Section Commissioner and Rules Interpreterfor CIF State

You can also contact the sponsors, Gatorade and MaxPreps and let them know how unhappy you are with the situation that has occurred at an event they sponsor.

It may be too late to do anything for the young athlete whose dreams were smashed today but you may be able to prevent it from happening again to someone else.




Know of A Wrestling Program That Welcomes Girls?

Do you know of a wrestling program that welcomes girls? We’d all love to know about it and I would love to add them to the list in the clubs page. There should be no reason for parents to have to struggle finding a place where their aspiring wrestlers can train and feel welcome. And you can help, if the program is located in Southern California, just click on the contact us link, provide the relevant information (name of club, website, contact information, etc.) and I’ll do the rest!


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