The Anti-Duck

The all dreaded accusation…”ducking”…go ahead, use that word with a coach or wrestler and see what happens.  Here’s the thing, IT HAPPENS.  Way too much.  We can justify it.  We can explain it.  Maybe you really do feel like you “have to protect his/my seed”.  All of those things could be true.  However, what is also indisputably true is that our sport would be MUCH better off without it.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been contacted privately by a frustrated parent or coach and told of a situation where some wrestler or team “ducked” their kid.  Sometimes its real, sometimes its imagined, but it IS a reality far too often.  We can say things like “well, I’m just playing the system the way its set up.”  That is true.  I would also remind you that just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD.  We are a small, often misunderstood, community.  Parents and spectators in other sports have an innate ability to grasp the more common, publicized sports.    We have to fight tooth and nail to just to keep our sport alive, never mind grow it.  Doesn’t that burden us all with a greater responsibility to the sport beyond our teams and athletes?  Shouldn’t the measure of “should we do this” have to pass through the “is this the best thing for our sport” test?  I think it does.

All of this being the long way toward saying THANK YOU.

Thank you Salem, Thank you Nashua North.

Thank you Shaun Sullivan, Thank you Nic Eddy.

THANK YOU Tristan Cabinta, THANK YOU Wayne Nolette. 

The decision, and make no mistake it was a willful, planned decision, to send two of our states best wrestlers into the circle Wednesday was an all too uncommon one.  You have two wrestlers that while close, are currently wrestling in different weight classes.  You have two wrestlers that will surely be there at the end of the Season, competing for State and New England titles.  You have two wrestlers that could have easily stayed in their respective weight classes and avoided wrestling each other, not as a “duck” but because they would have been valid in doing so based on their current weight classes.  Instead you got coaches and wrestlers that evaluated their rosters through the prism of what’s best for the wrestlers and the sport in the long run.  These individuals went out of their way to make something happen that far too many actively seek to avoid.

When asked how the match came to be, Nashua North coach Shaun Sullivan was pretty straight forward.  “I just messaged Nic Eddy, the co-head coach there who I have known for years. I just asked what he thought about making it happen.  I have a team full of freshman and it’s hard for Wayne (Nolette) to get a great match in the room. So for me to help get Wayne prepared, I think he needs these matches.”

Asked about the infrequent nature of matches like this coming to fruition Sullivan added “Too many people ducking nowadays to save seeds. I just want to see kids get the best match ups for themselves. We no contested weights that we could have gotten forfeits for, to bump kids to wrestle.  Forfeits don’t do anything for anybody.”

There may have been an official result to the match wrestled on the mat, but on Wednesday night at Nashua North, there were no losers.

1 thought on “The Anti-Duck”

  1. Tough issue and agree from a sport and a personal perspective. My son has been “ducked” each of the past two years. As a freshman he made a splash losing to a top wrestler 1-0 in a tournament in December. Later in January we had a duel meet at their place; the top wrestler had become “sick”. We had several friends on that team – the sick wrestler had been in school all day, had helped set up mats, etc. Even been in the locker room till just before our team arrived. Mystery illness evidently, but protected his seed. Other times we have had top wrestlers at duels not brought out at their appropriate weights, instead the other team sent out a JV wrestler or just a forfeit and then had the top wrestler come out next, one weight higher than he weighed, to collect an easier win and avoid a potential loss. It is always disappointing, there are only losers. True wrestlers participate seeking the tough victories, the ones which push and test themselves. Congrats to Salem and Nashua North for doing it right.

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