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David Gillaspie

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Member Since: Mar, 2010

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Arthur Ashe's Wrestling Advice
By David Gillaspie
Monday, August 16, 2010

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Champions, living and gone, teach us in sport and life. They've solved many of the problems of every day life to achieve greatness.

What’s a tennis player got to do with wrestling?

From this one, plenty.

This man is different.

He’s not an Eastern Euro automaton. Not a Scandinavian baseliner or midwestern momma’s boy.  He’s not a New York City cry baby or a Swiss watch.  Or a Spanish firecracker in sleeveless shirts showing his unloaded guns.

Instead, Arthur Ashe is a son of Richmond, Virginia.  A black son, who on his death was given an honor only accorded to General Stonewall Jackson.  That alone is enough for former Army Lieutenant Ashe.

But there is so much more.

Arthur Ashe is a champion, a winner in a white man’s country club sport.  He was the Tiger Woods of tennis in the mid-60′s without the grief of poor personal choices.

He was a minority in a white pastime who forced his way to the very top against enormous odds.

Sound familiar?

Do you wonder now what he has to offer wrestling?  Maybe it’s more than wrestling, but since there is little that is more than wrestling, let’s go with that.

What do you need after you’ve drilled up, trained up, and wait for the next round?

You need words you can trust.  They come from the coach in your corner.

Arthur Ashe speaks to them.  

“Start where you are.”

Has a coach ever asked you where you are?  They’re not asking you to recite an address.  They’re asking where’s your head’s at?

Try and not go all English teacher and say “behind that at.”  Save it for another time.

Where are you?  If someone stands in front of you and asks, “Where are you” they’re not looking for a geographical location.  They want to know what you were thinking when you drifted off and let bad things happen.  They’re asking what you are going to do about it.

“Start where you are” offers hope, hope for you and your coach.

Where are you?  If you hear that question, you’re in a world of hurt.  Starting where you are begins the process of taking away the pain.

The right answer to “where are you?” is, “Right here.”

Dan Gable defines “Right here”  from

“When I lifted weights, I didn’t lift just to maintain my muscle tone.  I lifted to increase what I already had, to push to a new limit.  Every time I worked, I was getting a little better.  I kept moving that limit back and back.  Every time I walked out of the gym, I was a little better than when I walked in.”

During the summer before Dan Gable was a freshman at Iowa State, he worked out with Bob Buzzard.  Buzzard had won two Big Eight wrestling titles.  He recalls, “Dan was a tough kid.  Some days I’d crunch him, some days I’d fool around and let him make some moves.  But on the last day before I went back to Eastern Michigan University, I wanted to show him he had a ways to go, even though he had won three consecutive state high school championships.”

After Buzzard finished with Gable that night, Dan fell to the mat crying tears of anger.  Right then Gable recalls, “I vowed I wouldn’t ever let anyone destroy me again.  I was going to work at it every day, so hard that I would be the toughest guy in the world.  By the end of practice, I wanted to be physically tired, to know that I’d been through a workout.  If I wasn’t tired, I must have cheated somehow, so I stayed a little longer.”

You know how that worked out.


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