WBEZ | Fremd http://www.wbez.org/tags/fremd Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Grappling with an IOC decision that makes no sense http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-02/grappling-ioc-decision-makes-no-sense-105678 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_olympic_wrestling_paulsancya.jpg" style="float: right; height: 179px; width: 300px;" title="Looks like the IOC has pinned wrestling. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)" />One of the oldest sports in the world was kicked to the curb a couple of weeks ago. The International Olympic Committee removed wrestling from its list of 25 core sports. Now the wrestling world is in a battle to try to get it restored so it will be part of the Olympic Summer Games in 2020 and beyond.</div><p>It was really quite a shock that one of the oldest sports (and one that seems so synonymous with the Olympics) was put on a list of seven sports on the chopping block.</p><p>There are two more IOC sessions before the fate of the seven sports is determined. Only one will get a chance to get a stay of execution. The IOC executive board meets in May and a&nbsp;final decision will be made in mid-September.</p><p><strong>The seven sports in danger are:</strong></p><p>Karate &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Roller sports</p><p>Climbing</p><p>Squash</p><p>Wakeboarding</p><p>Wushu (Chinese martial arts)</p><p>Baseball/softball</p><p>Wrestling</p><p>Come on, just seeing wrestling on this list even looks wrong. All the other sports are newer to the Summer Games. Wrestling was an original.</p><p>The threat to Olympic wrestling is being felt on the college and high school too.&nbsp;</p><p>There are 77 (soon to be 78) Division I college programs in the U.S. The Big Ten Conference is considered the best in the country. Northwestern University wrestling coach Andrew Pariano told me he would really like to know the reasoning behind this decision. Last summer, Olympic wrestling wasn&rsquo;t on television. It was only available online. That should have been a tip off. Pariano and his staff had an Evanston restaurant put it on a flat screen TV.</p><p>&ldquo;The actual event was extremely well attended it was a difficult ticket to get in London,&rdquo; he said.&nbsp;</p><p>Which makes anyone wonder, why it was diminished to wind up online?</p><p>On the high school level, Fremd High School assistant wrestling coach Ruben Hinojosa looked at the decision for what appears to be the root of it.</p><p>&quot;My thoughts on the IOC removing wrestling are confused and wondering why they would remove one of the oldest sports in the games, I have learned that when things just don&rsquo;t make sense it comes to money and politics, so I would guess these two things have something to do with their consideration,&rdquo; Hinojosa said.</p><p>With the Olympics isn&rsquo;t it always politics and money?</p><p>For one Palatine High School wrestler, Matt Buffo, that isn&rsquo;t on his mind. But losing the dream is.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;When you wrestle all the coaches say the goal is to aspire to get to the Olympics,&rdquo; Buffo said. &ldquo;The dream is always the Olympic gold and now it isn&rsquo;t, because they are taking it out.&rdquo;</p><p>The high school sophomore loves the sport that his father Bob, a former wrestler, turned him on to.</p><p>It is emotional for me too, since my late father wrestled at a Chicago Public High School in the late 1940s. Now my nephew, Jeremy, wrestles in junior high school.</p><p>&nbsp;Wrestling is one of the purest forms of competitions. It is one-on-one, you are in a weight class and its strength against strength. It&#39;s tough physically, and according to Buffo, mentally.</p><p>&quot;Your team can cheer you on, but it is basically just you, you are making the decisions, &lsquo;Are you strong enough to push yourself to get that extra two (points) before the period is over-or are you just going to huddle there and wait for the clock to run out,&#39;&quot; he said.</p><p>If the sport does not survive the Summer Games after 2016, how will it impact the sport? Coach Pariano believes the collegiate level will respond.</p><p>&ldquo;We may ban together to become stronger, because if there is not an International style, the pinnacle would be an NCAA champion,&rdquo; Pariano said.</p><p>However, there are still concerns expressed by Hinojosa.</p><p>&ldquo;I think eventually this may impact scholarships at the college level, but I truly believe that wrestling will be back in the Olympics,&rdquo; he said.&nbsp;</p><p>And that is the hope of the huge wrestling community. Pariano pointed out there is two hundred countries&nbsp;that participated in wrestling at the Olympics. It made it one of the most diverse sports at Games.&nbsp;USA, Russia and Iran are all being very vocal trying to reverse the IOC&rsquo;s decision.</p><p>&nbsp;So it still goes back to the question as to why wrestling is on the cut list. Is it because it is not one of the glamour sports?</p><p>Not exactly, according to Hinojosa. &ldquo;I am not sure if glamour has anything to do with it,&quot; he said. &quot;There are still sports in the Olympics like speed walking, archery, shooting, etc&hellip; that are not too glamorous.&rdquo;</p><p>However, in an era of appealing to the viewing audience and retaining sports that can put money in the coffers of the IOC, it is a plausible thought.</p><p>For Buffo and the rest of the wrestling world that IOC decision will be like a match.</p><p>&ldquo;When you win it is one of the best feelings, when the ref raises your hand and you see the points go up for your team,&quot; Buffo said. &quot;When you lose it is pretty upsetting.&rdquo;</p><p>Here&rsquo;s hoping the wrestling world will have their hand raised in September.</p><p>&nbsp;Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout">@CRayeStout</a> and Facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame">Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame</a></p></p> Mon, 04 Mar 2013 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-02/grappling-ioc-decision-makes-no-sense-105678 College football bowl games more than a game http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-01/college-football-bowl-games-more-game-104681 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_1ap3Outback%20Bowl%20Chris%20O%27Meara_0.jpg" style="width: 300px; float: right; height: 416px" title="Outback Bowl was one of 35 bowl games. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)" />Most people - like me - have had the view that there are way too many college football bowl games.</div><p>There are 35 in all starting on Dec. 15 and finishing on Monday with the Championship game in Miami between Notre Dame and Alabama.</p><p>I was used to only four games on New Year&#39;s Day: Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl. You spent only&nbsp;a day planted in front of a television and when the final second ticked off the game clock that was it. Over until next year.</p><p>My personal experience for a bowl game was zero. Having gone to a college without an athletic program there was never a vested interest in&nbsp; &quot;my&quot; team. However, there were many programs that caught my interest and were enjoyable to watch, but still no personal interest.&nbsp; Face it - the football programs nearest to Chicago have not set the world on fire until recently (except Notre Dame). That is a major reason why the Irish have such a huge connection to Chicago.&nbsp;</p><p>This year it was different for me and not because of a team, but because of an opportunity that my son Jaxon&#39;s high school, Fremd of Palatine, gave to their marching band program. This is where my&nbsp; personal experience changed my thoughts on bowl games.&nbsp;</p><p>A year ago, the band students voted on going to Florida to play at Disney and the halftime of the Outback Bowl on New Year&#39;s Day. Over a hundred-twenty students and chaperones with their band director Matthew Moore took the six-day excursion. They marched down Main Street at Magic Kingdom, worked with a Disney musical director at Epcot and traveled on to Tampa to be part of the Outback Bowl.</p><p>This is where my eyes were open to the college bowl happenings and the atmosphere surrounding the game. For a city like Tampa, this is an important endeavor and a boost for their economy. The city rolls out the red carpet for the fans, (in this case Michigan and South Carolina). It is also extended to the students and families, like ours, that had traveled a distance to be a part of this event.&nbsp;</p><p>The Outback Bowl had three major events for the students to perform, a competitive music festival (they did great), the Outback Bowl Parade on Dec. 31 with a trip to Busch Gardens to celebrate the New Year, and then the big event: being part of eighteen bands with over 2,200 musicians playing as part of the halftime show at Raymond James Field home of the Tampa Bay Bucs. They had two long practices to prepare for the halftime show with all 2,200 kids.</p><p>The day of the game, it was entertaining to sample the crowd and the media gathered for the game. The Michigan fans were dressed in their maize and blue and the South Carolina in their burgundy and gray. Old and young alumni filled the stadium and partied in the parking lots. All the souvenirs stands had lines and the food and drink flowed like any game. It hit me that this was more than a game for most of the fans: it was an extension of something they hold near and dear to them. It was flat out fun.</p><p>The game was actually the best of the college bowl games for the day. Michigan had nice solid drives and South Carolina had big plays and finished the game with a last second touchdown for the win. &nbsp;</p><p>The halftime show was the culmination of a year of planning and practicing for the students that participated. They followed the Michigan and South Carolina bands.</p><p>And from the stands, a mom could see her son play the saxophone and realize there is much more to a bowl game. They can have a hundred bowl games, it is all right by me.</p><p>&nbsp;Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout" target="_blank"><font color="#006896">@CRayeStout</font></a> and Facebook <a href="http://facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame" target="_blank"><font color="#006896">Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame</font></a></p></p> Fri, 04 Jan 2013 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-01/college-football-bowl-games-more-game-104681