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Wrestling And The Controversy Over Weight Cutting.

2504 words - 10 pages

Picture Leo... Leo is a ten-year old boy whose father and wrestling coach is preparing him for his first wrestling tournament the next day. He is five pounds over his weight class so his dad is helping him put on a plastic suit to lose the weight. Leo is sitting on the bench in the locker room and his dad is taping Leo's plastics to make them tight around the ankles and wrists. Then, with sweatpants and a cotton beanie on his head Leo rides a stationary bike until he can possibly go no longer. Later, in the middle of the night, Leo wakes up and goes to the kitchen, pours a glass of juice, takes a drink and spits it out in the sink. He then sees his dad watching from the doorway. He tells Leo how proud he is of him for not taking a drink. The next day, after winning the tournament Leo is in bed clutching his trophy. It is at that moment he feels all of his hard work and weight cutting is worth it.This is a scene from the movie "Reversal." However, Leo is like so many boys who grow up to be college wrestlers. And anyone who has wrestled at the high school or college level knows at one point of time throughout his or her career they have been there. They haven't eaten or drunk anything all day, are laying in bed trying to sleep but all they can think about is how hungry and thirsty they are. This is very personal to me because for the past five years I have dated a college wrestler. I have seen him cut fourteen pounds in twenty-four hours and seen the effects it can have on him. I have also seen him lose the same amount of weight and take home first place at a fifty-man tournament. I have seen him exercise proper weight management and what I would call dangerous weight management. We spent Thanksgiving this year at my sister's house. My family was amazed at the discipline my boyfriend Danny possessed when he packed his own Thanksgiving meal of a small baggie of Wheat Thins and a Power Bar. He stayed in the bedroom while we ate our meal. Everyone admired this discipline. For many years college wrestlers have practiced numerous methods to maintain their weight, some of these reasonable and others drastic. Should these methods be banned, stricter guidelines enforced, or should coaches just look the other way? Are they a form of discipline or are they a dangerous, drastic measure to maintain weight?Three college wrestling deaths took place within three months of each other in 1997. These wrestlers were all trying to lose between eight and twelve pounds in the leading hours before their matches. They all died in the presence of their coaches. Following this, weight-cutting practices were pushed into the eye of the public. This quickly led to new rule changes at the high school and college levels to promote control of unhealthy weight-cutting measures. Hydration tests and weight certifications have been implemented in some schools. "Controversy, however, still simmers about the pitfalls of body fat testing and the fairness of minimum weight rules among...

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