Thursday, August 26, 2010

I Am Wrestling - Do Not Weep For Me

This speech was given as a farewell tribute to Marquette University wrestling at a gathering in Milwaukee, WI. on 11-3-01 by Ohio State Head Coach Russ Hellickson.

From the ancient walls of Samaria and from Hieroglyphics written on the tombs of Egyptian Kings, we know that wrestling is a sport of the ages. It touches the lives of all who participate in it and many times even those who just observe it.

Who can forget the emotional victory of Jeff Blatnick over cancer before his gold medal win in Los Angeles in 1984 or the heart rendering upset victory of Rulon Gardner over previously undefeated wrestling icon Alexander Karelin in Australia at the 2000 Olympics.

You can see the impact of the sport in the eyes of even its youngest combatants. Perhaps in apprehension of that very first one on one or that glorious twinkling elation that comes from the first victory over the vanquished foe.

And for those who stay the course for a career, their eyes reflect a passion that penetrates deep into their very soul, a look that impacts for a lifetime and yes a look that makes them what they are.

Here is an image that I want to leave with each of you tonight:

I am Wrestling! Do not weep for me!!

Weep for those who will never experience me.

Weep for those who will never feel the exhausting pain of my training,

Weep for those who will never sense the bond of camaraderie that once established, will never wane or die.

Weep for those who will never comprehend the demands of my discipline

And most of all, Weep for those poor souls who will never miss me, because they never knew me.

I am Wrestling! Do not weep for me!!

I have been experienced in virtually every culture and civilization known to mankind.

I have been contested in over 150 documented forms in written history.

There is no Nation on this planet that throughout all time, has not experienced me.

I am Wrestling! Do not weep for me!!

Look to those seated around you and think of the qualities that make them what they are:

Accountability, responsibility, persistence, fortitude, strength, compassion, work ethic, ingenuity, determination, integrity, honesty, focus, diligence, and resolve.

Wrestling is not the only place they could acquire these, but By God they all reside here!! And if you live with me long enough these will become you.

I am Wrestling! Do not weep for me!!

No political agenda or political interpretation can ever destroy me. My merit and my worth is no threat to any cause, but rather through my values, I am a model for others.

I am Wrestling! Do not weep for me!!

Celebrate what I am, celebrate what I have been, celebrate what I represent, and celebrate the many ways I have impacted your life. I will survive this test as I have survived others, I am forever etched into the very fiber of all mankind.

The world needs me.
Time is on my side.
History guarantees me!

I am Wrestling! Do Not weep for me!!


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