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« "Something's Missing:" Poetry and the Unthinkable [by Ailish Hopper] | Main | "Labyrinth" [after Henri Michaux] -- by David Lehman »

August 06, 2012


Excellent article!

I was a high school wrestler and also was briefly on the wrestling team in my first year at Columbia University. There was no comparison between the two levels. In college what seemed like the end of a practice was actually the half. A few thoughts on the topic of wrestling:

Among recent US writers, I believe the only really good wrestler is John Irving. The fact that he was an assistant coach at U of Iowa is very impressive.

I think Ken Kesey wrestled at Stanford but I'm not sure how good the program was at that time. He was a farm boy.

Al Franken was a high school wrestler and I feel I know exactly what kind of wrestler he was. Strong, slow reflexes, and with a very abrasive beard. I wrestled a similar type in HS and received a cut from his sandpaper face. The cut took a long time to heal. This also happens from cuts made by coral.

My practice partner at Columbia went on to be a high ranking career officer in the Navy SEALs. When we practiced together I never once defeated him in any drill of any kind. It was embarrassing! Yet he treated me like I was the greatest wrestler in the world. In fact, all the wrestlers were very non-judgmental about people's ability.

I believe John Milton did some wrestling, and blind wrestlers are not really uncommon.

Chimpanzees and grizzly bears are two animals I don't especially care for. Yet both species would make excellent Olympic wrestlers. Ants would also be great.

I love Mongolian wrestling in which the winner is expected to "fly" around after the match with his arms extended like wings. There is a lot of laughter. You don't find laughter in American wrestling.

As a child I met the pro wrestler known as Yukon Eric at a YMCA in Chicago. He later took his own life and I hope I didn't have anything to do with it. This meeting made a great impression on me.

Andy Kaufman had a deep, deep understanding and appreciation of pro wrestling. He truly loved it, just as he loved and understood Elvis.

I notice that collegiate wrestlers today do not shake hands before the match. This was always done in my day and was one of my favorite parts of the sport. Although you were supposed to give the other guy a "dead fish" handshake I always made it more of a standard grip. Not extreme, like a car salesman, but not a dead fish either.

Basta por hoy.

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