Can you smell what the Rock is cooking? Probably not. Wrestling is almost as old as mankind itself, and was one of the original Olympic sports. However, professional wrestling is a fairly new sport.
That doesn’t mean people don’t take it seriously. That also doesn’t means amateur wrestlers don’t take their sport seriously either. In fact, since it isn’t scripted, Greco-Roman wrestlers take their craft very serious. Too serious for one competitor in Illinois.
During a tournament on April 8 at Oak Park River Forest High School in Oak Park, Ill., an ugly incident happened that looks to be ripped straight from a WWE story line. Fox News reports:
Police have launched an investigation into an Illinois youth wrestling match that got ugly after a wrestler suckerpunched his opponent after losing.
During the “Beat The Streets” tournament on April 8 at Oak Park River Forest High School in Oak Park, Ill., Hafid Alicea of Maine West High School was defeated by Cooper Corder of SPAR Wrestling Academy. The final match score was 14-2.
As is custom in wrestling, the referee invited the two wrestlers to the center of the mat to shake hands and announce Corder as the winner.
Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose. Sometimes you go full on WWE and lay the smack down on an unsuspecting opponent.
The key in youth sports however, is are you teaching kids how to win and lose with grace and class? Apparently the coach of Maine West High School and the parents failed spectacularly when it comes to teaching sportsmanship. During the post match handshake, things took a decidedly pro wrestling turn. Fox News continued:
However, things took a turn when Alicea went to shake Corder’s hand, but instead punched him square in the face, sending him down to the canvas.
Parents immediately rushed onto the mat and were not happy for obvious reasons. The referee made sure nothing escalated as the parents began screaming in the direction of Alicea.
Corder reportedly suffered a broken nose from the punch, per TMZ Sports, and will not have to wear a special face mask in upcoming events.
“He is making the best of the situation and is already back to training,” SPAR Academy founder Justin Pearch told TMZ Sports on Tuesday.
It is understandable that tempers will flare in a sport as physical as wrestling. When you factor in the testosterone and the age of the competitors, this incident is not surprising at all. That doesn’t excuse the thuggish behavior of the losing opponent, but it does bode well for his future in the squared-circle.
— FREE the Words (@FREEtheWordsnow) April 19, 2023
All kidding aside, the coaches and parents need to do a better job of instilling a sense of right and wrong. We have all lost and wanted to clean house like a battle royale, but you simply can’t. Whether it is a board game, an athletic event, or something work related, we have all experienced the sting of defeat. The difference? The vast majority of us don’t lose our minds and physically assault someone.
Spar Academy issued a statement:
“As you may know, wrestling matches can get heated but nothing leading up to the punch would give cause to such bad decision-making on the opponent’s part.
“It’s not tolerated in our sport and Spar Wrestling will never condone that behavior.”
Unfortunately this type of behavior merits a ban from the sport, and hopefully the young man will learn a valuable lesson on sportsmanship and how to lose with grace. Barring that, I’m sure Vince McMahon or whoever owns the WWE when this boy turns 18 will be keenly interested in signing him to a contract.
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