Tag Archives: Reversal

High School Wrestling Movie – Drama, Pain and Redemption – by Eric Linne

High School Wrestling movieWhile New York City is known for theater, Chicago is known for deep dish pizza and North Carolina is known for BBQ, the state of Pennsylvania is known as the hotbed of high school wrestling.  Arguably, the most competitive amateur wrestling environment in the country, both participants and fans alike are passionate about this often overlooked high school sport.

High School Wrestling Movie

Takedowns and Falls is a documentary film that tells the story of a group of Pennsylvania teens and their relationships within a high school wrestling team on a journey to attain a state championship.  It chronicles a season of the Central Dauphin Rams in Harrisburg, PA and highlights the sacrifice of its athletes, the commitment of their families and the dedication of its coaches.

My Takeaway

I think this documentary is interesting for a couple of reasons.  First, the movie demonstrates the level of excellence and competitiveness that high school wrestling has achieved in the state of Pennsylvania.  Second, the film shows that despite hard work, dedication and skill, one wrestler will always lose every wrestling match.  Part of achieving satisfaction in a sport as grueling as wrestling is to accept defeat as well as victory.  When the match is over, shake the winner’s hand and walk off the mat with your head held high.  Learn from your mistakes, continue working hard and look forward to improving in your next match.

Fun Facts about Wrestling

Fun facts about wrestling for those interested in wrestling and for readers of Reversal, a YA novel by Eric Linne.

Ancient roots 

Wrestling fun facts - Eric Linne ReversalLiterary references to the sport of wrestling occur as early as in the Iliad, in which Homer recounts the Trojan War of the 13th century BC.] The origins of wrestling go back 15,000 years through cave drawings in France. Babylonian and Egyptian reliefs show wrestlers using most of the holds known in the present-day sport.

Modern Olympic Roots and Wrestling Styles 

Olympic Wrestling Fun Facts Eric Linne ReversalGreco-Roman wrestling became an event at the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896. Since 1908, the event has been in every Summer Olympics.  In Greco-Roman style, it is forbidden to hold the opponent below the belt.

Freestyle wrestling became an Olympic event, in 1904. Women’s freestyle wrestling was added to the Summer Olympics in 2004.  Freestyle allows the use of the wrestler’s or his opponent’s legs in offense and defense.

Collegiate wrestling (sometimes known as scholastic wrestling or folkstyle wrestling) is the commonly used name of wrestling practiced at the college and university level in the United States

One Great Wrestler  

Dan Gable - Wrestling Fun Facts Eric Linne ReversalArguably, the greatest American wrestler of all time, Dan Gable has become a legend in the wrestling community.  During his high school and college careers, Gable compiled an unbelievable record of 182-1. He was undefeated in 64 prep matches, and was 118-1 at Iowa State. His only defeat came in the NCAA finals his senior year. Gable was a three-time all-American and three-time Big Eight champion. He set NCAA records in winning and pin streaks.

Lots of Motivation – 

Dan Gable is also credited with some of the most memorable quotes about wrestling every uttered.  Among them are:

“More enduringly than any other sport, wresting teaches self-control and pride.  Some have wrestled without great skill – none have wrestled without great pride.”

“Once you’ve wrestled, everything else in life is easy.”

“The first period is won by the best technician. The second period is won by the kid in the best shape.  The 3rd period is won by the kid with the biggest heart.”

Scope of Wrestling Participation

  • Scholastic wrestling ranks 6th of all boys’ sports in terms of participation at the high school level with over 272,000 nation-wide.
  • Wrestling currently has its high participation rates since 1980
  • Since 2002-03, the number of high school wrestlers has grown by over 30,000.
  • Over 10,400 schools sponsors wrestling, which is the largest number ever.

Growth of Female Wrestler Participation 

  • Since 1994, the number of women who wrestle in high school nationwide has grown from 804 to over 8000
  • 22 colleges now sponsor a varsity women’s wrestling program
  • Women’s wrestling is now a recognized Olympic sport
  • Texas, Hawaii and Washington sponsor a state high school girls wrestling championship
  • Females account for 2.9% of high school wrestlers nationwide.

Teenage Girl Wrestler – a PBS Movie

Teenage girl wrestler Tara Neal featured in a blog by Eric Linne author of ReversalCheck out this 13-year-old girl and her story, which was made into a PBS movie.  

Girl Wrestler is a poignant, informative documentary outlining many of the hurdles that girls face while participating in high school (or in this case middle school) wrestling.  The movie follows a year in the life of 13-year-old Tara Neal, as she struggles with cutting weight, competing against boys, the opposition of certain wrestlers and coaches and living up to her parents’ expectations.  When she gets together with a handful of other girl wrestlers at a tournament, the movie is particularly moving as the girls share their experience on and off the wrestling mat.  The documentary, which aired on PBS, is an enlightening view into the experience of being viewed as an outsider in the physically demanding sport of amateur wrestling.   

Message from the movie by Eric Linne about a teenage girl wrestler

“Tara’s story becomes a personal prism through which to view such broader cultural issues as the socially accepted views of masculinity and femininity, athleticism and eating disorders, teenage identity, gender discrimination in organized athletics, and the meaning and value of sports in American culture. Ultimately, GIRL WRESTLER reveals the many challenges and pressures faced by young girls today as they seek to carve out a place in a culture full of conflicting messages about what it means to be a girl.”