Over the Christmas break I witnessed something very powerful about wrestling in Oklahoma. I saw a unique and indispensable quality displayed by five high school wrestling programs. One that brings wrestlers and coaches together for the specific purpose of making each other better. This rare and excellent attribute is UNITY.
3A, 4A, 5A and 6A schools came together over the course of a week for practice, not a dual nor a tournament, but to simply workout together. These training sessions were perceived by me to be organized for the purpose of developing wrestlers in the state and each one had the flavor of one big family. One coach said to me “Our staff is tired of the monotony of our own room, so it seemed right to mix things up today with some other programs.” One coach brought his daughters to practice and they played and interacted with other coaches. This left me speechless!
I was awe struck as I watched ranked wrestlers from 6A drilling with ranked wrestlers from 3A and 4A programs. I thought to myself “My God this is the middle of the season and these guys are practicing with each other.” Two weeks prior a super competitive match between two Oklahoma wrestlers took place at a state tournament. One obviously beat the other, but now they were in the same room training, teaching each other and giving one another high fives. Are you kidding me?
The coaches from these programs were beacons of light. They preferred one another. They gave and took from each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They worked together in leadership to make wrestling at a state level better, not just their own high school programs. Those schools combined resources for something far greater than themselves and as a result moved wrestling in Oklahoma further down the path of eminence.
My hats off to the outstanding coaching staffs who participated on those days. You men are truly amazing and are transformational leaders. The schools who came together were the Heritage Hall Chargers, OCS Saints, Edmond Memorial Bulldogs, Bridge Creek Bobcats, and the Piedmont Wildcats. A big shoutout to the Standfast youth wrestling program for making your facility an open and safe space for this to occur.
I am truly grateful to have had this experience!