Four Days to Glory

When I was a little kid I was a gym rat. Partly that was because my father was a teacher and spent a lot of time supervising sporting events, and partly because when I was young the school was still the center of the community, and the town would turn out for school events. So in the winter Friday night was the basketball game and Saturday was the wrestling meet or tournament. I haven’t seen a wrestling match since I was young, and frankly I find it a hard sport to fathom, and really, to support with its ridiculous diets, dehydration, weight loss techniques, it just seems unhealthy. But there is something to say about a sport that when you walk on to the mat the only person responsible for your success is you. I am pasting in my review of Four Days of Glory below. I don’t do this very often as the review is for an entirely different audience than the blog, and has a bit of a different tone but I think it says it pretty well.

In most of the country wrestling is a dying sport, evidenced by the drastic reduction of Division I college wrestling programs. However, in Iowa thousands still turn out for the State Championships, and wrestling still captures a community’s attention, particularly when a chance at greatness presents itself. In 2005 two wrestlers had that chance, the opportunity to become only the fifteenth and sixteenth wrestlers to be four time state champions in the long history of the state tournament. Despite wrestling for different high school teams Jay Borschel and Dan LeClere have known each other since youth wrestling and as seniors in high school faced similar pressures and road blocks to establishing their legacy as exceptional wrestlers.
Mark Kreidler introduces the novice into their world, if not into their hearts and minds. He treats the sport with respect, which is essential to the outsiders of the wrestling world. Wrestling, a sport of deprivation that thrives on an ethos of pain is a difficult sport to understand. And at times LeClere and Borschel are the embodiment of the difficulty of understanding the passion and commitment the sport demands. They are enigmas. But the world of Iowa wrestling, and the communities that embrace it are painted both in their glory and in the head shaking dismay that wrestling can induce. The occasional lapse of grammar can mar a section, but it is hardly a commonplace occurrence. Your wrestlers will appreciate a book that speaks to them, and respectfully about them, and your sports fans may find a new sport to appreciate.

I would be remiss if I didn’t say upon finishing this book I have a lot more respect for the sport.


One Response

  1. Thats what I was looking for.

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