... on Talking Trash in Wrestling
Recently, I have noticed a lack of true sportsmanship during the rigors of competition, even in wrestling...one of the oldest individual athletic events.
Yes, as an official, I have witness what's referred to as "talking trash" between wrestlers during dual meets and tournaments. I, personally, will not tolerate such disrespectful behavior as a referee. Such talk is cheap and lessens the dignity of our sport. Be it veteran or novice, no wrestler should ever forget how demanding the mat sport is for participants of all abilities. Thus, noble respect should be given to all who set foot in the wrestling area.
Of course, the problem stems from what our present high school athletes watch on TV, during professional sports competitions. They think it's "cool" to showboat like the pros. Well, it's not; it's just another sign of the times, where mutual respect is becoming a thing of the past. The complete athlete respects all who are a part of his sport...his opponents, his coaches, and the officials. To bad mouth anyone while competing insults your school, your parents, and most importantly, blemishes all you have worked so hard to accomplish.
Once I happened to be talking to Lance Mehl, and the subject of athletic "hotdogging" came up during our conversation. It was very refreshing to here what this outstanding professional linebacker had to say. Lance stated that in all his years of competition, he never taunted an opponent after making a brilliant, devastating tackle. He considered such actions to be in poor taste. In essence, it was his job to tackle the guy with the ball, and he didn't feel it was necessary to showboat after making good tackles or sacking the quarterback. As Lance put it, "I was just doing what I was paid to do--tackle."
So, the next time you think about acting "the fool" during victory, remember Lance Mehl's words and act like a TRUE champion, not just another winner!
Updated December 2, 1997