ON AND OFF THE MAT:

LEADERSHIP THROUGH WRESTLING

by Samuel W. L. Shames
MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

From Alexander the Great to Abraham Lincoln, wrestling has been preparing leaders for thousands of years. What enables a successful wrestler to become a leader is the mental toughness, heart, and confidence that the sport instills. Successful wrestlers develop these traits through unparalleled preparation, perseverance, and discipline. Together these virtues enable wrestlers to work with allies to create the opportunity to execute a shared vision, as evidenced by the experiences of wrestlers who became leaders in fields like politics, writing, and medicine.


Before he was a president, Abraham Lincoln was a wrestler. In 1831, in the most important match of his career, the twenty-two-year-old Lincoln wrestled Jack Armstrong for the right to be called the toughest man in New Salem, Illinois.[1] New Salem was a tiny pioneer settlement, where life was demanding and only the most determined could survive.[2] Lincoln had come to New Salem to work as a clerk in a general store for a man named Denton Offutt. Offutt’s rival, William Clary, owned the other general store in New Salem.[3] Clary’s store was known to attract tough men, and twenty-seven-year-old Jack Armstrong was known as the toughest of them all.[4]

Soon after Lincoln arrived, Offutt began to brag to Clary that the six-foot, four-inch and 185 pound Lincoln — huge for the time — was the strongest man he knew. Wrestling was the best way to determine the strength and will of a man, and matches were a regular occurrence in New Salem. Long and lean, Lincoln had the perfect build for wrestling and had developed strength and endurance from years spent swinging an axe.[5] Talk of a match between Lincoln and Armstrong quickly reached the point where neither man could back out without being labeled a coward. Tired of Offutt’s boasting, Armstrong accepted the challenge to wrestle Lincoln.[6]

Lincoln and Armstrong met in the grassy area between the two general stores, with as many as one hundred men gathered to witness the event.[7]When the match began, the two men started pushing and pulling, trying to take each other to the ground and gain control. Though unequally matched in size and temperament, evidence suggests that Lincoln defeated Armstrong that day, and in doing so gained his respect and earned status in the village. After the match, Armstrong reportedly said to his friends, “Boys, Abe Lincoln is the best fellow that ever broke into this settlement. He shall be one of us.”[8]

As it did for Lincoln, wrestling has been challenging men for thousands of years. Regularly cited as the world’s oldest sport, wrestling was practiced by ancient Greeks, Nubians, and Indians.[9] Records show that the ancient Egyptians were practicing wrestling over five thousand years ago.[10]Wrestling is mentioned in The Epic of Gilgamesh, the Bible, and The Iliad, three of the oldest pieces of literature known to man.[11] A wrestling match pits two people against each other in a battle for control, where determination, grit, and pride are the keys to success. The dominant wrestler imposes his[12] will on his opponent and tries to break his spirit. While strength matters, technique, leverage, and heart are the deciding factors in many matches.[13]

Wrestling came to the Americas in the early 1600s with the first colonists.[14] During this period, wrestling was a pastime, a sport, and a way to stay in shape.[15] Award-winning wrestling historian Mike Chapman makes a distinction between the organized and rule-based wrestling of today and the rough-and-tumble forms practiced by early Americans, which he refers to as tussling.[16] Tussling was common in the military, and presidents Jackson, Tyler, and Taylor likely participated during their time in the army. President Grant was also a tussler, and liked to wrestle with his boys on his hardwood floor.[17]

After Grant’s presidency, in 1888 the Amateur Athletic Union formed and began to organize competitions. These competitions had a carnival atmosphere, comparable to the mixed martial arts fights of today, and were hugely popular throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s.[18] In the early 1900s, wrestling was among the most popular sports in America, and President Theodore Roosevelt was a huge fan.[19] Roosevelt strongly valued fitness and in his autobiography wrote “wrestling enabled me to get a good deal of exercise in condensed and attractive form.”[20] In fact, as governor of New York Roosevelt invited the champion middleweight wrestler of America to work out with him three or four afternoons a week.[21]

President Taft, who succeeded Roosevelt, may have done wrestling as an intramural sport at Yale.[22] President Coolidge may have briefly wrestled in gym class at Princeton, and President Eisenhower learned wrestling at West Point from the legendary Tom Jenkins, former American Heavyweight Champion.[23]

Since Eisenhower, wrestling has continued to evolve, and today over 180 countries participate in the sport. In the last decade alone, high school participation has increased by 40,000, and today wrestling ranks as the sixth most popular boys sport with over 270,000 participants nationwide and 10,488 teams. In addition, the number of women who wrestle in high school has increased ten-fold since 1994 to over 8,000.[24] Most recently, wrestling helped the United States, Iran, and Russia find common ground when the countries united to help save Olympic wrestling and secure a bright future for the sport.[25]

With new levels of participation come new opportunities to use wrestling to develop character and prepare young men and women for life and leadership. Warren Bennis — one of the world’s leading experts on leadership and a man who has advised four U.S. presidents — says that leadership is the factor that ultimately determines which organizations succeed and fail.[26] Being a successful leader requires developing and executing a shared vision, seizing opportunities, and creating allies. Wrestling can prepare someone to become a successful leader in any domain by providing a series of experiences that instill confidence, heart, and mental toughness. As today’s wrestlers prepare to become tomorrow’s leaders, they can learn from these leaders, whose experiences reveal how wrestlers develop these traits, and why they enable someone to be a leader on and off the mat.

Successful wrestlers develop the virtues to become leaders through discipline and preparation. No wrestler better exhibits this than Dan Gable, whose legendary work ethic translated into a confidence that he could outwork and fatigue every opponent. Gable’s commitment to out-preparing his opponents won him 181 straight matches through high school and college, a seven-year streak that was snapped when Gable lost in the last match of his college career in the NCAA finals.[27] A true champion, Gable was able to come back stronger from his loss and won Olympic gold in 1972 without giving up a single point, a feat comparable to winning Wimbledon on serves alone.[28] Gable’s preparation allowed him to wrestle at such a high intensity that he once made a great Soviet wrestler quit in the middle of the match because Gable had broken his spirit.[29]

After he retired from competition, Gable then went on to coach and created a dynasty at the University of Iowa, where the team had never won an NCAA title before he arrived. In his twenty-one seasons they won the Big Ten Championship every year and the NCAA Championship fifteen times, including nine times consecutively. As a coach, Gable was known for his grueling workouts that combined drills, live wrestling, sprints, rope climbing, and weight training.[30] These workouts made Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle write that he “[wanted] to die right there. I had nothing left and I had to wrestle for another forty minutes straight.”[31] Jim Zalesky, a three-time national champion for Coach Gable and the man who succeeded him as the Iowa coach, captures his coach’s belief in preparation by saying, “he made us believe that the most important we do isn’t winning but the effort we put into winning.”[32]

Gable epitomizes the commitment that makes a wrestler successful. While being a successful athlete in any sport requires these traits, wrestling is special due to the degree to which they are required. Richard Mendelson, founder of a consulting firm specializing in human capital management, captures this sentiment in an article in Forbes entitled, “Why Wrestlers Make the Best Employees”:

Wrestling, in particular, is thought to require more individual commitment than most other sports due to the nature of the training and competing itself…With other sports, an athlete can go to practice or a game, and then go home to relax. Wrestlers, due to the weight class requirements, have to maintain their focus and drive around the clock for years at a time. In addition, wrestling is an individual sport and the athlete experiences both failure and success as an individual. As a result, the wrestler endures more physical, emotional, and psychological stress, both positive and negative, than an athlete in another sport.[33]

John Irving, award-winning novelist and wrestling’s unofficial poet laureate, echoes Mendelson’s words, saying, “We’ve all had enough to do with other sports that we know that wrestling really is harder.”[34] Irving credits his stamina as a writer — the ability to write for eight or nine hours a day — to wrestling, saying “the discipline of wrestling has given me the discipline to write.”[35]

Irving learned discipline through countless hours spent drilling wrestling moves. He compared the repetition and drilling he first did as a wrestler to the revising and rewriting he does as a writer. “Doing anything well,” he said, “requires…doing the same small things again and again.”[36] That repetition is what helped 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist Ed Banach to become a champion. After a tough loss during his senior year at Iowa wrestling for Coach Gable, Banach was determined to do whatever it took to become an NCAA champion, and at the suggestion of Coach Gable added a third workout at five am to his training regime to drill a single takedown seventy-fives times every morning.[37] By the time nationals came around, he had practiced the move over 3,000 times. In the national finals, wrestling against the same opponent who had beaten him earlier, he used that takedown to avenge his earlier loss and win his third NCAA title.[38]

Jim Leach — former Iowa Congressman, state champion, and Division One wrestler at Princeton — understands how Banach’s work ethic made him a champion. “Discipline matters: gifted athletes lose to the person who has worked harder. Proper preparation is essential.”[39] Governor of Rhode Island Lincoln Chafee — a former Division One wrestler at Brown, and the son of Senator and National Wrestling Hall of Fame Outstanding American John Chafee — learned that lesson during winter break one year when he was in college. Chafee did not keep in shape as much as he should have, and when he returned he had to wrestle against an opponent from Yale.[40] He was so exhausted after the match that he did not know where his team’s bench was. As a politician Chafee also recognizes the importance of preparation, saying, “Today with all the public eye and TV cameras, you always have to be prepared.”[41]

Wrestling also teaches the importance of perseverance. In a wrestling match, you can be losing even in the final seconds and still have a chance to win; you are never completely out until the match ends, so you learn never to quit. Governor Chafee has a story that he calls “the highlight of my coaching career.”[43] He had a wrestler losing 8–4 with thirty seconds left, when he told him that he needed to escape, take his opponent down, and put him on his back. When the whistle blew, “he powered out like a stick of dynamite and took him down like a lion to win.”[44] Congressman Leach also credits wrestling with developing perseverance, which only becomes a part of you when “you participate, and continue to participate. That gets ingrained in the wrestling room.”[45] Jim Nussle — a congressman from Iowa who joined the wrestling team in high school for conditioning — echoes Leach’s sentiment, saying there is “nothing like doing it over and over.”[46]Nussle says that the work ethic he developed in wrestling is similar to the work ethic for politics, with conditioning, practicing, and always competing being especially important.[47]

Although perseverance and discipline helped Governor Chaffe’s wrestlers win, even Dan Gable lost a match. Every wrestler experiences defeat, and when a wrestler does lose it is more disappointing and humiliating than in other sports because of wrestling’s one-on-one nature; with no one else out on the mat alongside him, a wrestler must shoulder the burden alone. Brandon Slay, who won an Olympic Gold Medal in 2000, lost every single match his first year wrestling, and his experience is common because when wrestlers first start competing they are often matched up against more experienced opponents.[48] Taking your lumps before you succeed is the nature of the sport. Part of taking your lumps is having a match where “you’re not only going to lose — you’re going to be dominated, humiliated.”[49] The difference between a normal loss and getting dominated is the feeling of total helplessness — that nothing you could possibly do will stop your opponent — that accompanies the latter. Through that process, wrestlers develop thick skins and a strong sense of humility. Steve Cooper, a contributor to Forbes and former collegiate wrestler, writes that “over the years I learned that getting knocked down was just part of the process to work even harder and to improve.”[50]

Mark Reiland, a former Division One NCAA Champion, describes how he learned about humility during his first year at Iowa, when he “went from dominating in high school to the bottom of the food chain in college.”[51]When he first got to college, Reiland would have “weeks where I would only score a couple of takedowns. But you keep working and all of a sudden it’s one takedown a practice instead of one a week…and you gain confidence and the drive to improve.”[52] Olympic medalists and World champions Tom and Terry Brands had the same experience. When they first arrived at the University of Iowa to wrestle for Coach Gable they “couldn’t even score a point in a workout, but they never stopped, ever.”[53] Every leader has a similar experience, and “learning how to confront and respond to those difficulties is where the real payback of wrestling comes.”[54]

Politicians also need to show humility, especially when it comes to elections, where “winning 55% of the vote means that 45% of the people didn’t want you.”[55] No politician better understood this than Abraham Lincoln, who lost eight elections before he became president.[56] Wrestling helps with the “recognition that you don’t win everything, and even when you win, there are a lot of humbling experiences.”[57] Every wrestler develops a sense of humility that accompanies the failure he experiences on the mat, enabling them to connect with others and build the trust that is essential for leadership.

Characterized by their preparation, discipline, perseverance, and humility, successful wrestlers develop the mental toughness and heart that translates to achievement on and off the mat and becomes as much a part of them as their cauliflower ear. This enables wrestlers to carry these traits off the mat and use them to accomplish whatever they set out to do. As John Irving said, “wrestling is a discipline; long after you stop wrestling, you carry the discipline with you.”[58] With that discipline comes the ability to lead others, and it begins by constructing a vision around which a group of people can rally.

Developing and communicating a vision is perhaps the most important part of being a leader. In his study of over ninety of the most effective leaders across the nation in both the public and private sector, Warren Bennis said that vision was one of the traits most apparent in these leaders, “their ability to draw others to them, because they have a vision, dream, set of intentions, an agenda.”[59] Vision is equally important on the wrestling mat; no one ever becomes a champion without first dreaming about it. What makes a leader’s vision special, Bennis notes in his study, is that “leaders know themselves; they know their strengths and nurture them.”[60]Wrestling also gives people the opportunity to learn about their strengths and weaknesses, and in the process learn how to translate a vision into reality.

Successful wrestlers work with their coaches to develop a vision of how to use their talents to create a unique style that will win matches. Vision was essential for Dan Gable, who used visualization to “[win] the state title a thousand times in my basement before I ever won it for real.”[61] John Irving used vision to compensate for “limited athletic ability” learning to be successful by “[keeping] the match close…[slowing] everything down.”[62]Understanding strengths and limitations is the reason why “the most talented wrestlers’ aren’t always the ones who succeed.”[63]

Learning to develop a vision of how to be a successful wrestler can also help someone off the mat. Irving applied the same recognition of his strengths and weaknesses on the wrestling mat to his writing, where he plays to his strength by “speeding up the pace…with potential chaotic situations.”[64]Irving also describes how his “visions as a novelist require clarity and conviction,” and how competitive sports like wrestling can help impart that conviction because they “[take] tenacity and belief in yourself.”[65]Congressman Jim Leach credits wrestling with helping him begin to understand himself. “Life is quite competitive,” he says, “and an aspect of being competitive is knowing what you can do and how it relates to someone else.”[66]

Congressman Jim Nussle applied this lesson to politics, where “you have to pick the issues that are interesting to you…and become an expert.”[67] He compares this to picking a takedown to master or deciding to change weight classes if there is a state champion already in the lineup. Governor Chafee learned the importance of keeping a vision simple during his senior year at Brown where the new wrestling coach had the team focus on basic moves, and they ended up having their best year. Chafee used that lesson as governor by “[focusing] on the basics like education when the economy was down.”[68]

Vision is arguably the most important job of a coach. Only a coach who gets his wrestlers to believe his vision of how to be successful will have a team that push each other to bring out their best. Dan Gable’s success as a coach resulted from his ability to “transfer his intensity to others,” helping his athletes develop the mentality of a champion.[69] When Gable’s wrestlers were exhausted and ready to break, he would have them visualize going out in front of 14,000 fans to compete and ask them what they were willing to do to make sure they did not lose.[70] These visualizations helped his wrestlers learn to function when they were exhausted and develop the mental toughness that gave them the edge. This resulted in the confidence to outwork any opponent, knowing that their ruthless workouts gave them the stamina to outlast anyone.[71]

Getting a team to buy into “the shared vision of individuals and the idea that everyone is giving maximum effort” results in a special camaraderie that Governor Chafee discovered when he was coaching.[72] Coaching also helped teach Chafee the importance of incentives in a vision. Despite spending weeks working with his team on a new move, no one used it in a match until Chafee offered a silver dollar to the first person to use it. He found this incentive got his team fired up, because all of a sudden there was a challenge of who could be first.[73]

Through the help of their coaches, successful wrestlers learn about themselves, set goals, and develop a vision of how to accomplish them. Their vision allows them to see the connection between the work they put in and their success. This helps wrestlers become leaders by enabling them to work to create opportunities that other people do not see or think are too difficult.

One of the most difficult challenges wrestlers face is making weight, the process of carefully dieting for weeks or months at a time in order to reduce their weight to the lowest possible weight class. Making weight is one of the most grueling aspects of the sport, but a wrestler who does not make weight does not get the opportunity to compete. He cannot simply move up a weight class after not making weight because that would be taking the spot of a teammate with the discipline he lacked. Through making weight, wrestlers learn that it takes work just to create opportunity. All leaders must learn this lesson, and it is especially true in politics, where you first have to gather signatures in order to be able to get on a ballot, and then have to win an election before actually having the opportunity to govern.

Dr. William Gahl — former captain of the MIT wrestling team and current Clinical Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute and Director of the NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Program — succinctly captures this idea in an essay he wrote about the impact wrestling had on his life:

Certain achievements are only tickets to the arena. Training and making weight only allow a person to step on the mat. Going to college permits one to look for certain jobs; getting an MD and a medical license allows the practice of medicine; having a lab and a university position lets one compete for funding; being invited to speak provides a podium. The real effort follows: The wrestling; the working; the care of patients; the discovery of science; the convergence of knowledge with message.[76]

Just as Dr. Gahl found that certain achievements in medicine were only starting points, Congressman Leach notes that the same is true with politics. “Politics,” he says, “doesn’t end with elections, it starts there — just like making weight.”[77]

Bruce Kinseth was known for his ability to make weight by losing ten pounds in a one-hour workout, a feat made possibly by his “incredible physical shape…but really…his mental toughness.”[78] That toughness propelled Kinseth to pin every opponent he faced in the 1979 NCAA tournament and win both a national championship and the outstanding wrestler award.[79] Of course, Kinseth would never have achieved greatness if he were not first able to successfully make weight. Wrestlers understand this instinctually: they cannot compete without first making weight; they cannot win a state or national championship without first grinding through an entire season. All leaders also learn this same lesson: you do not get to lead without first doing the unglamorous work to create the opportunity.

Behind every successful leader is an outstanding team, and behind every successful wrestler are outstanding teammates and coaches. Though wrestling is an individual sport, it takes a team to succeed. Without teammates to work out with, a wrestler would be unable to train, and without a coach to believe in him, a wrestler would never reach his potential. A leader also needs allies to succeed, and finding people who support their vision is one of the biggest challenges a leader faces.

The principal challenge in creating allies is building trust. “Trust is essential to all organizations,” according to Warren Bennis.[80] To earn the trust of those he seeks to lead, a leader must demonstrate reliability and consistency.[83] All wrestlers learn the importance of consistency; they discover that skipping even one workout or eating just one unhealthy meal can make the difference between winning and losing. They have to do the right thing constantly to be successful. By doing so, they earn the trust of those around them and gain the ability to influence them. In New Salem, Lincoln found that beating Jack Armstrong earned him the trust and respect of the townspeople. “The wrestling match with Jack Armstrong may well have been the thing that proved [Lincoln] was the type of man to be followed,” believes Raymond Montgomery, a close student of Lincoln’s days in New Salem. Lincoln survived in New Salem, Montgomery says, “by his ability to make people like him and want to help him,” and “[the people] rallied around him.”[84]

An equally important aspect of finding allies is influencing each other’s ideas. Congressman Leach understood this importance as a legislator: “when working on a bill, you need to get feedback from others…Other people need a stake in your ideas, even if it’s the greatest idea in the history of man. The collectivity and shared accountability matter.”[85]

Wrestling teams are built on this shared accountability, and teammates and coaches become some of the strongest allies a wrestler develops. During a year as a high school assistant wrestling coach, Governor Chafee made lifelong friends.[86] Congressman Nussle also stuck with wrestling “in part because he liked the guys on the team.”[87] Nussle acted as an ally to his state-champion teammate, serving as his workout partner and someone who would consistently push him to get better.[88]

Part of the reason that wrestlers become such strong allies is the strong sense of community they have. Wrestlers are bonded to each other by their discipline and beliefs. John Irving describes this bond and how it creates a strong sense of community:

I feel more a part of the wrestling community than I feel I belong to the community of arts and letters. Why? Because wrestling requires even more dedication than writing because wrestling represents the most difficult and rewarding objective that I have ever dedicated myself to; because wrestling and wrestling coaches are among the most disciplined and self-sacrificing people I have ever known.[89]

The wrestling community is so strong, in fact, that wrestlers serve as allies not only for their teammates and coaches, but also for their competitors. Congressman Leach believes “wrestling is a unique community, with a huge amount of respect for all involved,” in large part because of the “equalitarian competitive ethic.”[90]

No story illustrates the way wrestling can turn competitors into allies than the story of Lincoln and Armstrong. After Lincoln defeated Armstrong and earned the respect of the community, he and Armstrong became lifelong friends, and Lincoln would often visit Armstrong’s cabin and help with farm work.[91] Their bond would continue after Armstrong’s death, and when Lincoln discovered that Armstrong’s son was accused of murder, he told Armstrong’s wife that he would defend him, writing “gratitude for your long-continued kindness to me in adverse circumstances prompts me to offer my humble services gratuitously in his behalf.”[92] During the trial, Lincoln proved that Armstrong’s son was innocent by showing that a key witness was lying about his testimony. As president, Lincoln famously put his former political rivals in his cabinet, again converting former competitors into allies.[93]

Although it clearly had a large impact on his life, wrestling does not define President Lincoln and cannot take sole credit for his exceptional leadership. No single experience, even one as enduring as wrestling, makes a leader. As Congressman Nussle puts it, “I am the sum total of all my experiences, of which wrestling is a small part.”[94] However, the mental toughness, heart, and confidence that wrestlers develop are the same traits it takes to be a successful leader, which explains why so many wrestlers become leaders at whatever they choose to pursue.

While all sports can teach these lessons, wrestling instills its virtues into its participants so deeply that they become ingrained, enduring long after their time on the mat and translating into the rest of their lives. That is why Congressman and two-time NCAA Division One wrestling champion Jim Jordan wrote that “[wrestling] gives individuals the critical character qualities that benefit them throughout life,” and why in 1860, Lincoln’s former law partner John T. Stuart called his match against Armstrong “the turning point” in Lincoln’s life.[95] [96]

Because becoming a successful wrestler requires so much discipline and dedication, wrestlers have the confidence to do anything, including lead others. Dan Gable, who ran six miles the day after winning Olympic gold, put it best when he said, “Once you’ve wrestled, everything else in life is easy.”[97]


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Wrestling has made me into the person I am today, which is the reason I choose this topic for my paper. I would like to use this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported my wrestling career, especially John Staulo, my high school coach and the man who introduced me to the sport. I would also like to thank all my other high school and college coaches as well as my friends and family. Lastly, I would like to thank everyone who helped make this paper possible, including Professor Richard Larson, Michael Strazzella, and everyone who took the time to let me interview them. Wrestling and writing this paper have been a privilege and a joy, and I am grateful and indebted to everyone who made this possible.

Originally published at wrestlingstories.org.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Academy of Achievement. “Keys to Success: Preparation.” Accessed January 1, 2014. http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/steps/prp?target=irv0-010.

Akinnagbe, Gbenga. “A Metamorphosis on the Wrestling Mat.” New York Times, March 3, 2012. Accessed October 20, 2013.http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/04/sports/for-gbenga-akinnagbe-a-metamorphosis-on-the-wrestling-mat.html?_r=3&

Bennis, Warren G.. An Invented Life: Reflections on Leadership and Change. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley Pub. Co., 1994.

Chafee, Lincoln. Interview with author. Phone call. Cambridge, MA. December 13, 2013.

Chapman, Mike. Interview with author. Phone call. Cambridge, MA, November 14, 2013.

— . The sport of Lincoln. Newton, IA: Culture House Books, 2003.

— . Super Book of Wrestling Trivia and History. Newton, IA: Culture House Books, 2013.

— . Wrestling Tough. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2005.

Cooper, Steve. “Why Wrestlers Make the Best Employees.” Forbes, July 31, 2012. Accessed October 30, 2013.www.forbes.com/sites/stevecooper/2012/07/31/why-wrestlers-make-the-best-employees/print/.

Gahl, William. “Grappling with Life.” Wrestling Stories, Accessed December 1, 2013 http://wrestlingstories.org/project/william-gahl.

Goodwin, Doris Kearns. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005.

Irving, John. Interview by author. Email. November 26, 2013.

Jensen, Keld. “Rock Bottom: How Great Leaders Triumph Over Failure.” Forbes, August 8, 2012. Accessed April 10, 2014.http://www.forbes.com/sites/keldjensen/2012/08/08/rock-bottom-how-great-leaders-triumph-over-failure/print/.

Klingman, Kyle. “Author John Irving still wrestling with his writing.” WIN Magazine: Amateur Wrestling News, December 8, 2010. Accessed November 18, 2013. http://www.win-magazine.com/2010/12/author-john-irving-still-wrestling-with-his-writing/.

— . Interview by author. Phone call. Cambridge, MA, November 12, 2013.

— . Interview with John Irving. Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine, February 1, 2013.

Krumrie, Matt. “Don’t Fear Failure: The Value of Letting Kids Test their Limits.” USA Wrestling, October 15, 2013. Accessed November 18, 2013.http://www.themat.com/section.php?section_id=3&page=showarticle&ArticleID=27090.

Leach, James. Interview with author. Phone call. Cambridge, MA, December 11, 2013.

National Wrestling Coaches Association, “Wrestling Facts.” Accessed January 2, 2014.http://www.nwcaonline.com/nwcawebsite/savingwrestlinghome/facts.aspx.

Nussle, James. Interview with author. Phone call. Cambridge, MA, December 10, 2013.

Roosevelt, Theodore, Theodore Roosevelt An Autobiography. New York: The Macmillian Company, 1914.

Slay, Brandon. “Wrestle for yourself.” BrandonSlay.com. Accessed January 21, 2014. http://www.brandonslay.com/slaywritescontent.asp?ID=16

Stephenson, Nathaniel W, editor. An Autobiography of Abraham Lincoln. Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company Publishers, 1926.

USC Marshall School of Business. “Faculty Profile Warren Bennis.”Accessed October 30, 2013.http://www.marshall.usc.edu/faculty/directory/warrenbennis.

Zaccardi, Nick. “’Rumble on the Rails,’ a unique spectacle in New York City landmark.” Sports Illustrated, May 15, 2013. Accessed January 14, 2014.http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/homepage/news/20130515/rumble-on-the-rails-a-unique-spectacle-in-new-york-city-landmark/


Footnotes

[1] Chapman, Mike. The Sport of Lincoln. Newton, IA: Culture House Books, 2003. 2.

[2] Ibid 6.

[3] Ibid. 13.

[4] Ibid. 12.

[5] Ibid. 11.

[6] Ibid. 12.

[7] Ibid. 13.

[8] Ibid. 14.

[9] Akinnagbe, Gbenga. “A Metamorphosis on the Wrestling Mat.” New York Times, March 3, 2012. Accessed October 20, 2013.http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/04/sports/for-gbenga-akinnagbe-a-metamorphosis-on-the-wrestling-mat.html?_r=3&

[10] Chapman, Mike. The Sport of Lincoln 2.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Although the number of women participating in wrestling has grown over the past several years, because most participants are still men, I choose to use masculine pronouns.

[13] Akinnagbe, Gbenga. “A Metamorphosis on the Wrestling Mat.”

[14] Chapman, Mike. The Sport of Lincoln. 8.

[15] Klingman, Kyle. Interview by author. Phone call. Cambridge, MA, November 12, 2013.

[16] Chapman, Mike. Interview with author. Phone call. Cambridge, MA, November 14, 2013.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Klingman, Kyle. Interview by author.

[19] Chapman, Mike. Interview with author.

[20] Roosevelt, Theodore, Theodore Roosevelt An Autobiography. New York: The Macmillian Company, 1914.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Chapman, Mike. Interview with author.

[23] Ibid.

[24]National Wrestling Coaches Association, “Wrestling Facts.” Accessed January 2, 2014.http://www.nwcaonline.com/nwcawebsite/savingwrestlinghome/facts.aspx.

[25] Zaccardi, Nick. “’Rumble on the Rails,’ a unique spectacle in New York City landmark.” Sports Illustrated, May 15, 2013. Accessed January 14, 2014.http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/homepage/news/20130515/rumble-on-the-rails-a-unique-spectacle-in-new-york-city-landmark/

[26] Bennis, Warren G.. An Invented Life: Reflections on Leadership and Change. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley Pub. Co., 1994.

[27] Chapman, Mike. Wrestling Tough. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2005. 22.

[28] Cooper, Steve. “Why Wrestlers Make the Best Employees.” Forbes, July 31, 2012. Accessed October 30, 2013.www.forbes.com/sites/stevecooper/2012/07/31/why-wrestlers-make-the-best-employees/print/.

[29] Chapman, Mike. Wrestling Tough. 22.

[30] Ibid. 56.

[31] Ibid. 56.

[32] Ibid. 143.

[33] Cooper, Steve. “Why Wrestlers Make the Best Employees.” Forbes, July 31, 2012. Accessed October 30, 2013.www.forbes.com/sites/stevecooper/2012/07/31/why-wrestlers-make-the-best-employees/print/.

[34] Klingman, Kyle. Interview with John Irving. Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine, February 1, 2013.

[35] Academy of Achievement. “Keys to Success: Preparation.” Accessed January 1, 2014. http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/steps/prp?target=irv0-010.

[36] Klingman, Kyle. “Author John Irving still wrestling with his writing.” WIN Magazine: Amateur Wrestling News, December 8, 2010. Accessed November 18, 2013. http://www.win-magazine.com/2010/12/author-john-irving-still-wrestling-with-his-writing/.

[37] Chapman, Mike. Wrestling Tough. 99.

[38] Ibid. 100.

[39] Leach, James. Interview with author. Phone call. Cambridge, MA, December 11, 2013.

[40] Chaffe, Lincoln. Interview with author. Phone call. Cambridge, MA. December 13, 2013.

[41] Ibid.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Chafee, Lincoln. Interview by author

[44] Ibid.

[45] Leach, James. Interview with author.

[46] Nussle, James. Interview with author. Phone call. Cambridge, MA, December 10, 2013.

[47] Ibid.

[48] Slay, Brandon. “Wrestle for yourself.” BrandonSlay.com. Accessed January 21, 2014. http://www.brandonslay.com/slaywritescontent.asp?ID=16

[49] Irving, John. Interview with author.

[50] Cooper, Steve. “Why Wrestlers Make the Best Employees.”

[51] Krumrie, Matt. “Don’t Fear Failure: The Value of Letting Kids Test their Limits.” USA Wrestling, October 15, 2013. Accessed November 18, 2013.http://www.themat.com/section.php?section_id=3&page=showarticle&ArticleID=27090.

[52] Ibid.

[53] Chapman, Mike. Wrestling Tough. 50.

[54] Ibid.

[55] Leach, James. Interview with author.

[56] Jensen, Keld. “Rock Bottom: How Great Leaders Triumph Over Failure.” Forbes, August 8, 2012. Accessed April 10, 2014.http://www.forbes.com/sites/keldjensen/2012/08/08/rock-bottom-how-great-leaders-triumph-over-failure/print/.

[57] Leach, James. Interview with author.

[58] Klingman, Kyle. Interview with John Irving.

[59] Bennis, Warren G.. An Invented Life: Reflections on Leadership and Change. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley Pub. Co., 1994.

[60] Ibid.

[61] Chapman, Mike. Wrestling Tough. 155.

[62] Klingman, Kyle. Interview with John Irving.

[63] Ibid.

[64] Ibid.

[65] Irving, John. Interview with author.

[66] Leach, James. Interview with author.

[67] Nussle, James. Interview with author.

[68] Chafee, Lincoln. Interview with author.

[69] Chapman, Mike. Wrestling Tough. 64.

[70] Ibid. 74.

[71] Ibid. 22.

[72] Chafee, Lincoln. Interview with author.

[73] Ibid.

[75] Ibid.

[76] Gahl, William. “Grappling with Life.” Wrestling Stories, Accessed December 1, 2013 http://wrestlingstories.org/project/william-gahl.

[77] Leach, James. Interview with author.

[78] Chapman, Mike. Wrestling Tough. 110.

[79] Ibid. 110.

[80] Bennis, Warren G.. An Invented Life…

[82] Ibid.

[83] Bennis, Warren G. An Invented Life…

[84] Chapman, Mike. The Sport of Lincoln.

[85] Ibid.

[86] Chafee, Lincoln. Interview with author.

[87] Nussle, James. Interview with author.

[88] Ibid.

[89] Chapman, Mike. Wrestling Tough. 237.

[90] Leach, James. Interview with author.

[91] Chapman, Mike. The Sport of Lincoln. 32.

[92] Stephenson, Nathaniel W, editor. An Autobiography of Abraham Lincoln. Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company Publishers, 1926.

[93] Goodwin, Doris Kearns. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005.

[94] Nussle, James. Interview with author.

[95] Chapman, Mike. Super Book of Wrestling Trivia and History. Newton, IA: Culture House Books, 2013. 8.

[96] Chapman, Mike. The Sport of Lincoln. 30.

[97] Cooper, Steve. “Why Wrestlers Make the Best Employees.”

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