If winning is everything, why is that that in any wrestling match there is only one winner? Basic math tells us that when it comes to wrestling, winning is only half the story. Two men start the match, both (assumingly) out to win; yet only one man prevails. 50% of combatants win; while the other half will lose. It's just a basic fact about our sport.
Take me...I've been a jock for most of my life. And though I'm into my 50's now, I still consider (and define) myself to be an athlete at heart. Winning is something that I was programmed to be focused on. I worked hard on my high school football team to be the best linebacker possible. With determination I fought to take my team to the state championship. I used this same determination as a short stop in baseball; never stopping short to play with all I had. Yet wrestling, as you know, (if you follow my blogs) was the sport that truly caught my passion and drove me to accept the fact that winning is everything. But, sadly, winning is only half the story.
In any sport there's a winner and there's a loser. Someone will always come out on top. One person has to accept the concept of the "agony of defeat". Despite all of my skills and drive to succeed, a loss for me was actually a learning experience. With a loss, I learned that somewhere in the match, I made a mistake. Perhaps I missed an opportunity. Maybe I left myself open for a move. My defenses were down. My offense fell short. In my analytical mind, I needed to find out WHY I lost. In a way, I accepted defeat as a natural option – yet I hated the thought of it. When I won a tough match, I never replayed it over and over thinking about what I did right. Yet, with a loss, it stayed fresh in my mind. I'd recall each move, each defense and replay the match over and over and over again until I could pinpoint that ONE moment where I let winning, slip through my hands. I'd dissect the match until I learned from my mistakes. (I'd obviously have to assume that I made a mistake since my ego didn't want to think that the other wrestler was actually better than me.) What this taught me was the while winning was everything; losing provided a much better way to learn the sport. It was through losing that I could make an honest assessment of skills and performance. I'd learn from my mistakes and come up with a game plan to correct it; and include it in my arsenal of moves and defenses. I learned to train harder and smarter to avoid the loss. With each win, I added another notch to my win column; but with each loss I added three and four times the skills I needed to win.
Fast forward to a now where I'm still the guy who has the passion and drive; but may be a bit slower (I'm giving myself some credit here). While I'm still the same competitive, driven guy I've always been, there are times when I get outsmarted and out-wrestled. I accept that loss; but then continue to make improvements. I'd like to think that I don't get beaten by the same man twice; but that depends on my ability to learn. One loss shouldn't define you. But on the flip side, don't wrestle solely for the purpose of winning. If you're winning all your matches, maybe you aren't taking on the tougher opponents. Challenge yourself. Maybe you're trying to over-compensate for another area of your life and your ego needs the win. Lighten up. No one likes a sore winner. Remember, winning is only half the story. See what losing can do for you.
Wrestling has always been the one sport that defines the will of a man to me. Though I’ve competed in several team sports, wrestling is the only sport that pits one man against another in struggle for dominance. It’s simple and it’s primal. But very decisive.
Another thing about wrestling for me – whether I’m watching it on TV, attending an event, engaged in it myself, or checking out the latest video – is that I find myself rooting for the guy who has the better body. I know, I know, before you call me shallow; I’ll admit it’s not the best way to determine a winner. But face it, a guy who is fit, has defined muscle and looks like he’s got more stamina and power should come out on top. Skill, however is the most important part…and I’ll get to that. But for now I want to focus on why I tend to always pull for the guy who has the edge in the physique category.
To me, nothing says fitness quite like a tight muscled body. And when I see guys hit the mats, I naturally will find myself accessing their physiques and based upon my shallow observations, I’ll pick a favorite. I love the idea of a muscled guy going to town on a less proportioned opponent. There’s nothing hotter than muscle flexing and moving and locking in holds on a hapless victim. Even in my educated mind, I can’t help but allow muscle to equate with skill and power. I can’t help but give the muscled guy the edge. It’s just natural in sport such as ours to give extra points to the man who looks the part. If 17 inch biceps are the standard, then they guy possessing them will certainly be able to win a wrestling match against an opponent with 15 inch guns.
I’ve seen it happen countless times – and I’ve done it many times myself. I’ve seen matches where the more muscled guy gets the advantage and manages to control the action and score a win. It’s hot. It’s primal. And it feels totally natural.
But, wrestling is rarely about just muscle and perceived strength. Good wrestlers naturally will have good bodies, due in part to their training and nutrition. Great wrestlers rely more on skill and strategy. So while I, like many of you, will automatically side with Mr. Pecs, that lean and lanky guy may just be able to kick the shit out of any muscle stud who dares square off with him on the mats. And here’s the thing – as much I love to see the muscle guy prevail, watching “a lesser man” owning a muscled guy out there on the mats can be exhilarating. I’m not talking about the staged muscled jobber stuff we see in pro wrestling; but the built collegiate wrestler or MMA fight who looks like he has the goods to get the job done quick and convincingly…then falls way short. Sure, muscle looks incredible as it flexes in victory. But when it meets up with a skilled opponent with less admirable physical traits it can results in thrills of a totally different type. While I want my muscle man to win; an occasional upset can be an incredible sight to behold.
So guys, what end of the spectrum do you fall? Do you root for the guy with the better body, or do you enjoy the site of that muscle taking a solid beating?
I read a post on Facebook the other day that put an evil grin on my face. The post would put that same grin on many of the faces of the members of MeetFighters. The post was from another guy into wrestling and it read: “It is wrong that I want to wrestle one of my co-workers?”
See…I’m sure all of you reading this have that evil grin and are nodding your heads like I did. I wanted to respond, ‘that’s not only 100% right, but that’s a daily occurrence for anyone who gets into wrestling, fighting or any type of power-based sport”. Face it, not a day goes by when you don’t see a guy that you’d love to wrestle. Maybe it’s his face that grabs you as you wonder what that handsome face would look like trapped in your biceps as you lock on a headlock. Or maybe it’s his body that propels you to launch into a fantasy world where you have a need to determine if you could beat him in a match.
It happens in the office. It happens on the street. In the train on the way to work. At the beach. In the gym. In a restaurant. Any place where able-bodied men are allowed to roam freely. It’s natural for guys into wrestling to fighting to experience a heightened curiosity about a well-built guy they encountered in everyday life. I’ve found myself obsessing over guys I’ve seen on the beach or in the gym. Something about seeing more of their bodies or their muscles engaged in an activity tend to get my mind racing about squaring off against them. And groups like this only intensify our curiosity since we see that wrestling attracts a much larger cross section of men than we may have thought possible. Maybe that stud you are checking out on the pec deck is just as into the primal needs to beating the crap out of another man as you are. Perhaps that hot young Republican looking dude filing away at the office has the same needs that you have that only can be squelched by an hour on the wrestling mats.
I’ve found these day dreams to be quite normal. Any guy drawn to wrestling and fighting will naturally size up an opponent and wonder about the skills and power of another man. It beckons up those primal needs that draw us to wrestling in the first place. We need to see what another man can do, how his muscle and mind will respond to our moves and holds. Do we have the skills to take this studly stranger down? Is he hiding a secret talent under that suit? So the next time you see a guy that makes you wonder, give an evil grin, bounce your pecs…and maybe just maybe, you’ll find an opponent.
Ok, call me shallow. But I think many of us can be guilty of being shallow when it comes to muscle and wrestling. While we each have our own reasons why we wrestle, there’s plenty of common ground that we all share. We like the aggression. We like the primal, man on man contact. We like the battle between two men. I agree with all of that. Now this is where I will come off a shallow. Muscle. A great body. And a guy who knows how to use his physique in a match. The allure of wrestling for me is to test out another man’s muscle to see what they can do. Yes, I know. I know. We are more than just our physiques. And I DEFINITELY know that wrestling is won in large part by the strategy in which we use against our opponent. Sheer strength doesn’t decide a match; nor does a bigger set of pecs mean you’re gonna win. But, let’s face it, there’s a part of us all that gets a little weak when it comes to a great physique.
There’s just something about a hot guy sporting a hot body that elevates a match for me. This doesn’t mean that I expect my opponents to be fitness models. Face it, they look good, but not many of us get to actually see a fitness model on the street, let alone on the mats. But I like a guy who is no stranger to the gym and one who is not ashamed to let that muscle do some talking once we step onto the mats. For me, a built guy makes me want to be a better wrestler. It automatically makes me kick into my A Game.
In my own matches I’ve witnessed how the lure and allure of a decent physique can give a man the upper hand. There have been times when I meet an opponent, take off my shirt and get into gear when they automatically assume that I will completely dominate them on the sole attribute of being in shape. I’ll use that to my advantage and I don’t mind stooping to some pre-match flexing to further psyche a guy out. It’s like muscle is that secret ingredient that guys just crave to feel while they are wrestling. On the flip side, I’ve been the guy that drools when an opponent shows off their body. Somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind, I want to feel them use that muscle and power to take control. I hate to admit it, but there’s always that sense that the better built man SHOULD win.
But that’s not how wrestling works. Despite the initial impression – ok, let’s call it was it is – muscle lust – sets in and you settle into the match, the mix of skill, strategy and strength are what leads to the win. Talent wins. Muscle doesn’t guarantee a victory.
Finally, for me, I prefer to wrestle a guy who is fit, mature, athletic and confident. Yes, muscular helps, but I want them to know how to wrestle. I know we all come in different shapes and sizes, and I’ve wrestled the gamut – but my heart gets racing when my opponent has a good set of pecs and guns. It’s one of the things that drew me back in wrestling. I’d see a hot guy on the street and I couldn’t help but wonder how’ I’d do against him. Muscle has its allure.
I’ve never been into boys. Ok let me correct that, I’ve been into guys for a very long time. But boys just never really did much for me. Wrestling them was too easy. Talking to them was too dull. Men were, and continue to be, what turns me on. Even as a boy, I remember my sexual fantasies and lust centered squarely on men weren’t ashamed to be over 40. Guys who couldn’t be intimidated by the gym. Guys who had no problem showing the results of their battle against aging. Maybe it was my first glimpse of Robert Conrad in Wild, Wild West. Or my uncle’s biceps that constantly threaten the seams of any short sleeved shirt he ever owned caused my infatuation with men and muscle. The combination of number birthdays and muscle were one of the few things that consistently have made me weak in the knees. Muscle Daddies evidently were my thing.
My wrestling coach, back in the day, didn’t help matters. At 5’8” his height wasn’t ever intimidating to me. But those biceps. Those lats. The legs. No other teacher ever challenged him. And I’m betting I’m not the only wrestler ever on this team to bone up over him. Even in my 30’s I recall some of my hottest romps and matches with guys well into their 50’s. One man in particular, Ian totally hit all my hot buttons. We met at the gym and I noticed him immediately standing in locker room in just the gym-issued towel. He had abs of a 25 year old athlete and the face of a 55 year old professor. He inspired me to a great workout that day. To my surprise, 90 minutes later he was still in the locker room. And happy to see me. We wrestled the next day and the intensity and power and sweat defied his age. And snagged me hard. But sadly, he was off to return to Dallas that evening.
Fast forward to now when I am the one who have tallied up the birthdays and find myself north of 50. Like my idols from my youth, I’m committed to the gym. I love working out and I’m determined to keep it up. And what I like about MeetFighters is that there’s no shortage of guys who inspire me. This isn’t a group of boys. It’ been who still look good. Still wrestle…and wrestle hard in one of the most challenging sports there is. I look around at the guys who are older than me who still inspire me. One guy in particular has been a friend for years. We’ve helped each other through high and lows in life and have always been there for each other. In his late 50’s he asked for my help in getting back into the gym. I shared my workout routines. He followed them. Improved them. And showed more commitment than even me. In less than a year his body morphed into something special. Now at 62 he’s back in the gym and pushing himself harder than most 26 year olds. And I like that our relationship has changed and morphed along with his physical changes. I’ve happily climbed off of the pedestal he put me on. And I am thrilled to see him achieve his goals and turn heads. I’m proud of him and proud of the countless other men who keep fighting the fight. Keep building and defining and making age a badge of honor. To me, you’re all Power Studs.