Tag Archives: teenager

13-Year-Old Blind Wrestler Max Lamm

Inspiring teen – 13 year old blind wrestler Max Lamm is wrestling’s amazing student athlete:

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As reported in the Bleacher Report, “Max Lamm is a 13-year-old wrestler from Mars, Pennsylvania with an incredible story. He lost his sight as a result of cancerous tumors that developed in both eyes when he was an infant. Despite being unable to see, Max finished last season with a 10-1 record, dominated his weight class in a regional summer tournament and managed to win his school’s geography bee.”

Click on the video to see his remarkable story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Books can Change Lives

Reversal, YA novel by Eric Linne, changes livesEvery once in a while, I remember why I love being a writer.  My modest goal is to have my books read by as many people as possible, to get good constructive feedback from readers and periodically hear how my book touched somebody’s life in a positive way.  I had one of those moments a few days ago.

I had sent out a single book to a reader who wanted a copy for her daughter, but could not afford the bookstore or online price.  After a few weeks, I got a private message on Facebook from the reader’s mother, expressing how much the book meant to her daughter.

The mother explained that my book had changed her daughter’s life.  The girl, who is overcoming a slight learning disability, struggled with the story at first, but persevered to the end and loved the main character, Kayla Burbadge.  She said that after reading Reversal, her daughter is becoming more independent and is less reliant on others for help.  She went on to explain that the daughter has been willing to challenge herself to participate in activities that she’d previously been fearful of.  Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the Mom explained that for the first time ever, the young girl is looking forward to returning to school in the fall (middle school, no less)!

So while riches, movie deals and critical acclaim may elude the majority of working writers, every once in a while, you get a reminder of what is really important about this work – having the ability and opportunity to positively impact a young person’s life.    

YA Author Eric Linne Signing Reversal March 29, 2014

Reversal by Eric Linne as seen in South Park LifeEric Linne will be signing his YA novel Reversal at Three Sisters Books on March 29th from 11 to 1. If you’re in the Shelbyville, IN area, drop by and have a chance to talk with Eric about his new book.

The novel is about a midwestern teen, Kayla Burbadge, living in a small Indiana farm town.  As her life spirals downward, an unlikely mentor steps in and offers Kayla a challenge – to join the high school all-male wrestling team.   

This “unconventional choice of a high school sport leads her on a path towards friendship and self discovery. I urge you to read this book.” WC, Santa Rosa, CA

Takedown on Ethics from High School Wrestling

Ethics and WrestlingIn my son’s first high school wrestling match in an important tournament last weekend, a rather strange thing happened.  Strange for a wrestling match, at least. 

At one point in the match, with the score tied and my son in control of his opponent, my son let the other boy up, pointed to the kid’s face and looked at the ref in question.  The ref signaled the boys to continue wrestling.  While my son was looking at the ref, the other boy scored a takedown and ended up winning the match by one point.

When the match was over and I’d given my son a cooling off period (essential, as any wrestling parent will tell you) I approached my son and asked him what happened.  He said that the boy screamed and then shouted, “My eye!”  So he let the boy up so that the ref could stop the match for an injury timeout.  But in this instance, the ref either didn’t see an injury or didn’t feel that the injury was serious enough to stop the match.  Also, my son’s decision to let the boy up may have cost him an otherwise winnable match in an important competition

Takedown on Ethics via the High School Wrestling Mat

After my son walked off to join his teammates, I started to think of a parent’s ethical obligations in a situation like this.  Should I have encouraged him to ignore the boy’s cries and continue wrestling until the referee stopped them?  Or should I have congratulated him for deciding that the other wrestler’s eyesight is more important than a high school wrestling match?  I should mention that my son is 17 years old, a high school senior and in his final year of competing in wrestling (having decided to forgo competing in college).

As it is, I took the third route.  I simply said, “Good match” and walked back to join our group of parents.

One of the hardest jobs as a parent is to realize that at a certain age, our children have internalized the value system that will guide them through the myriad of ethical choices that they will face as adults.  In this instance, my son didn’t need me to tell him whether his choice was right or wrong.  During a heated competition, he used his own ethical compass and decided to err on the side of avoiding further injury to his opponent .  At the time, he didn’t know that this decision would cost him the match.  And I doubt that he would have acted differently had he known that.

So my advice in this instance is to myself (and maybe any other parents of athletes reading this).  Once your kids reach a certain age, trust them to do the right thing.  Most of the time, you’ll be proud of their decisions. And you’ll feel like you’ve done an OK job as a parent. That’s my advice to myself and I’m sticking with it!

A Grueling December for Charlotte, NC High School Wrestlers

High School Wrestling in Charlotte NC Rigors by Eric Linne, Author of ReversalOnce wrestling season starts in the Charlotte, NC area, things take off with a bang.  Many teams try to squeeze in 50 or more matches for their wrestlers before tournament time rolls around in late February.  One of the more popular ways to maximize the number of matches for a wrestler is with multi-day dual meets.  These meets, in which athletes wrestle as many as 10 matches over two days, are grueling affairs for the competitors. 

Grueling Schedule for High School Wrestlers

To wrestle the maximum number of matches in a day (5) is tough.  But to compete in 5 match days back-to-back can be brutal.  Often wrestlers are still competing at  10 or 11 p.m. at night, a time when their non-wrestling friends may be considering sleep (but probably not).  Then to board a bus at 6:30 a.m. the following day to hit the mat at 8 am takes a level of fortitude that is hard for a non-wrestler to imagine.  

But the grueling days prepare the most competitive wrestlers well for the pressure of the all-important state tournament.  

So when February rolls around in Charlotte and venues across North Carolina, three or four matches in one day seems like a walk in the park.  But the ground work for those competitions get laid in old drafty gyms throughout the state, after dark, on cold December nights. 

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.

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.”