I gave tickets for a University of Iowa dual meet to a kids club from Dubuque in 2008 on a whim. I had been involved in internet discussions on ways to increase interest in the sport and getting kids to meets seemed like a good idea. The next year I got serious about it and named the effort “Tickets for Kids”. We raised some money and sent four or five groups to Hawkeye meets.
We have now given away over 5,000 tickets to events from Corvallis, OR to New Brunswick, NJ and Minneapolis, MN to Stillwater, OK. Members of kids’ wrestling clubs, middle school teams and youth organizations have gone to some of the highest profile wrestling duals in the past six years. Over 1,500 youngsters have been able to attend intercollegiate national championship events.
I am occasionally asked – “why tickets?” Here are a few of the reasons.
“Just wanted to give a quick shout out to Wrestling for Life for the opportunity for some of our Waukon youth who had the chance to see the Iowa Hawkeyes wrestle at Carver-Hawkeye last night. Thank you so much for that. I wish you could have seen their faces when entering the arena. The kids enjoyed the whole night. We ended up staying late and getting a few autographs from the Hawks.”
Jack Regan - Coach, Waukon, IA kids’ wrestling club
“Coming off a spirited dual wrestling match between BTS-Hamilton and BTS-Lakeland, we are excited to attend the University of Maryland at College Park vs. University of Iowa, Big Ten wrestling match tonight. We would like to thank the Wrestling for Life organization for sponsoring our young wrestlers. We realize that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Thank you.”
Lydell Henry - Coach, Beat the Streets - Baltimore
Through Wrestling for Life, I was able to bring all of my middle school wrestling team to the DIII National tournament. Most of my team are first year wrestlers who are trying the sport for the first time, and for them to be able to see what kind of future they can have in the sport was invaluable. For many of them this was the first time they had seen a wrestling meet outside of a middle school gym, so for them to see multiple matches going on multiple mats was almost a wrestling overload for them (but in a good way). I think this is a great program and a huge opportunity for kids to get involved with the sport of wrestling. I had at least 5 kids on my team last year that had never been involved in wrestling, who after getting the chance through Wrestling for Life to watch the morning session, talked parents or a sibling into bringing them to the evening session. The program had a huge effect on the kids in my school.”
Nolan Wrage - McKinley Middle School wrestling coach, Cedar Rapids, IA
Norman Borlaug was a native of Cresco, Iowa. While he is best knows for winning the Nobel Peace Prize (1970) for his work in helping alleviate world hunger through research in new types of wheat. But did you know he was also an all-state wrestling champion at Cresco High School from 1929 through 1932? How about the fact that he has been inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as well as the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame?