AMY KIRK: Ranch-raised kids make the best wrestlersIf wrestling teams are in need of recruits, coaches should consider visiting ranches to find potential wrestlers.
By: Amy Kirk, The Daily Republic
If wrestling teams are in need of recruits, coaches should consider visiting ranches to find potential wrestlers.
Wrestling is a sport made up of athletes that perform individually. Based on the outcome of each wrestler’s matches, they contribute points to the team’s overall points.
Wrestling is a forerunner to becoming a man’s man. It’s a sport that has all the essential elements (except guns and beer) of being a male: sweat, eau de toilette Testosterone, aggressiveness, grit, and immature-type camaraderie. These are commonly found in the confines of the wrestling room (our team’s wrestling room is known as “The Hot Box”).
The upbringing and lifestyle of ranch kids makes them ideal wrestling candidates. Many have unknowingly developed an interest in wrestling if they generally try to handle sibling fights by wrestling on the living room floor until their mother ends the roughhousing for fear of breaking something in the house.
Wrestling teams can benefit from having ranch-raised teammates because ranch kids are halfway trained already. The expectations of ranch kids at home are well suited to wrestling teams because a lot of the fundamental skills learned on a ranch are the same as those used in wrestling: hard work and sweating profusely in hot environments. Ranch kids and wrestlers also have a lot of the same experiences, such as ringworm — an occasional gift from wrestling mats and ranches.
Normal wrestling coaches holler their instructions for different moves during a match and sometimes demonstrate in an animated way what they want a wrestler to do. Ranchers instruct their kids in much the same way.
Young cowboys are also used to getting bruised up. Ranch-induced aches and pains make tolerating bruises from wrestling easier because they’re used to it. Getting banged up while handling sometimes feisty or on-the-fight livestock at brandings, calving time, in corrals or chutes is commonplace when working on a ranch. Such situations also give ranch kids an edge in knowing how to counter an opponent’s potentially defeating move when it comes to tense nail-biter action during a match.
The sometimes grueling ranch work that country boys have to do is similar to the tough physical challenges that require using one’s muscles at wrestling practices and matches. Being tough is expected of kids that come from farms and ranches. Packing feed buckets, salt blocks, forkfuls of hay and bulky square bales are chores ranch kids do regularly, and the physical effects of such laborious chores come in handy in wrestling matches.
Wrestlers are always being told that they need to keep moving and to be quick on their feet. Throughout a ranch kid’s entire life, they’re told to hustle, so moving quickly on the mats comes natural.
Kids that have been coached on a ranch are used to being critiqued in order to do things right and know how to listen. Their experiences in learning from their mistakes and being shown how to do a job or task correctly by their rancher father prove useful in wrestling, where one wrong move can get a wrestler pinned.
Being on a wrestling team is an ideal sport for ranch kids. It’s similar to what they do at home, but being on a wrestling team is better. There’s no threat of a mother stopping a good match because something’s going to get broken.
Amy Kirk and her husband raise their two kids on a fourth-generation cow/calf operation near Pringle. She blogs at ranchwifeslant.areavoices.com.