Episode 39 of the program offers two well-known athletes who have plenty to say about a variety of recent topics.
First up is US National Team member and three-time Armed Forces gold Lucas Sheridan (97 kg, Army/WCAP) to discuss some of the challenges currently facing military athletes — as explored in a massive article released earlier this week on our platform. With coronavirus restrictions beginning to ease up in many regions around the country, more and more Senior wrestlers are finding opportunities to get back on the mat.
That is not the case for those in the military, however. Between having to abide by several tiers of guidelines from state and local authorities as well as the Department of Defense, Army wrestlers in particular have been caught in a holding pattern since lockdown originated in March. Sheridan describes how the flow of policy trickles down to he and his teammates in the World Class Athletes Program, what he has been doing on his own to fill in the gaps, and why the US Nationals scheduled for this coming October was not the most-welcomed news on base at Fort Carson.
The second segment features a wrestler who enjoys a sort of “folk hero” status in the the US, Corey Hope (77 kg, NYAC). A top competitor and noted student of the sport, Hope is also recognized as one of the nation’s most dedicated, hardest-working Greco athletes, and his passion clearly comes across in this interview. Hope’s first appearance on the show begins with a conversation about the phrase “wrestling is wrestling”, and where he believes there may be a disconnect. He explains how differences between Greco and other disciplines are too contrasting to ignore, and what he sees as the most effective mechanisms to recruit participation.
After that, Hope digs into what is currently a most controversial topic: the policies and societal ramifications which are the result of the coronavirus pandemic. There is a lot to unpack here. Hope doesn’t hold back when sharing his perspective that masks and face-coverings do little to protect people against the virus that causes COVID-19. He then goes on to intimate his frustration regarding what he feels is fearful behavior in others. The segment reaches its conclusion with some talk about the aforementioned Nationals and the impending start to bowhunting season in Colorado.
A Few Highlights
Sheridan on the US Nationals in October
“Maybe I’m being a little selfish and thinking with a Greco-mindset only, but like we said, we have four of six weights qualified (for Tokyo), some of those guys haven’t been on the mat yet, and you’re pushing this concept of competing knowing that we’re not on the mat. Now you’re putting us in a position to make this decision. We’re all adults, so that’s not the issue. It’s more the thought process, right? You want us to go and compete at this tournament knowing that we have not trained and are not training as of this moment, and you want us to come out for this? It’s almost mind-blowing when you look at the statistics of all the guys from the Army, Marines, and Air Force who are qualified for the Olympic Trials — but they want this (tournament) to happen. I don’t know, it’s confusing.”
Sheridan on how he has likened lockdown to an ongoing “test”
“I’m getting closer to the end of this test. And this test started way before the pandemic. I deleted all of my social media about a year ago. I started picking up books soon after that, I got engaged. I am trying to better my life and that is being reflected by my achievements on the mat. All of these things. Going to bed earlier, eating the right things… All of these extra things are contributing to the end of this test. So while the pandemic is part of the test, it isn’t the whole test for me. It is that crappy last essay question at the end, that one you have to punch through to get that ‘A’.”
Hope on how his high school coaches advocated for the international styles
“Their biggest point was that it’s not going to hurt. It’s not going to hurt for you to learn Greco, it’s not going to hurt for you to learn freestyle. If anything, it is going to make you a better folkstyle wrestler, it’s going to make you more well-rounded. And I think that’s very true. I think for little kids who are apprehensive about it, it is, Do you want to get better? Do you want to improve? And yeah, you can do that without wrestling Greco or freestyle, but — it won’t hurt. There are more benefits than there are negatives.”
Hope on his perspective of the coronavirus entering the new school year
“At the end of the day, we all have to go back to our normal lives and stop wearing masks and stop being afraid, because kids should be going back to school. Your kids shouldn’t live in fear and they should go back to school and socialize with people, and their friends. At some point, we’re going to have to go back to something that is somewhat normal.”