February 21, 2013

Wrestling, by contrast, requires long, grueling training, superhuman strength, speed, courage, discipline, nerve, endurance of pain and injury, concentration, and preposterous amounts of skill and strategy. Wrestling involves facing an actual opponent in the most direct and intimate way conceivable. Wrestling, unlike volleyball or sailing, is not something any lout with the apportioned number of appendages can do. The differences between an Olympic badminton player and a guy who plays with his nine-year-old niece at the family picnic are probably not obvious to the untrained eye. But put an Olympic wrestler on the mat with any non-wrestler, and the hierarchy of athletic achievement will be obvious before they take off their shirts.

Modern right-thinkers loathe hierarchy. Wrestling is the most hierarchical of Olympic sports. Wrestling had to go because it is a vivid and primal embarrassment to the types of pious equalist halfwits who get to sit on committees such as this. Wrestling is not some silly game you play at the beach or at family gatherings; it is primordial combat. This is as against modern “elite” felicities as dueling with pistols. Modern “elites” contemplate wrestling with the same horror that a Victorian dowager would view a homosexual orgy.

There are 4,500-year-old Sumerian and ancient Egyptian representations of the classic wrestling holds. There are no 4,500-year-old representations of ping-pong ninjas or volleyball players. Reputedly the oldest book in the world, the Epic of Gilgamesh featured no contests of synchronized swimming between Enkidu and Gilgamesh. It was a wrestling match between primal forces of the wilds and civilization. The good Lord didn’t challenge Jacob to a game of handball to test his mettle. “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.” Would the Jews have been God’s chosen people if Jacob had won a game of ping-pong?

The Iliad didn’t feature a dramatic badminton match between Odysseus and Ajax. There were no ancient Greeks vying for the laurels in canoeing or golf, but the wrestling matches from the Olympics 2,300 years ago are remembered to this day. Feudal Europe trained kings in the arts of wrestling, and the greatest American presidents were wrestlers rather than golfers. The first modern Olympics had no roller skating, water skiing, or badminton, but wrestling was contested, as it has been every year since then.

Wrestling requires more physical prowess than ping-pong, softball, or golf. It also requires more personal character and courage than water skiing, sailing, or canoeing. US Special Forces organizations preferentially recruit high-school wrestlers for their physical qualities and strength of will. Special-forces recruiters don’t go after BMX bicyclists, badminton adepts, trampoline experts, synchronized swimmers, or ping-pong champions. What manner of egalitarian ninny thinks ping-pong or golf is a superior sport to wrestling? The mincing blockheads who sit on Olympic committees these days are more like community-college sociology professors than commandos. We can doubtless look forward to the ever popular “putting the condom on the banana” and the “spot the racist” events in future Games.

Image of wrestlers courtesy of Shuttterstock


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