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Unmasking the truth about Covid and wrestling
Unmasking the truth about Covid and wrestling

Well its fall now, and the biggest question on every wrestlers mind is:

Will there be a season?

My answer? 

I have no idea.

How’s that for decisiveness?

The truth is, no one knows at this point.  All we can do is everything in our power to

  • Help make it possible to have a season, and
  • Be ready for it when (if) it happens.

The good news: high school football is moving along.
Playoffs are around the corner and so far, all is well.

More good news:  wrestling training and competitions are opening up.

Schools are also in session again in many districts across the state and the country.

Now for the worrisome news:

  • Covid cases are on the rise again – in Ohio and almost every state in the country (all but 10 states are seeing an increase in positive tests).
  • Hospitalizations are up in many locations, and having the space to treat patients is starting to become an issue again in many hospitals
  • The mortality rate has been dropping, which is very good news, but as hospitalizations go up, that number will be closely monitored as well.
  • Many colleges are seeing a spike in cases, meaning a danger to students as well as threatening the very financial viability of these institutions (many colleges will close within the next two years – some have already).
  • Wrestling training and competitions are opening up.

Right now you’re wondering, how can that last item be a positive and a negative?

Here’s how:

As we are seeing throughout the country, large gatherings can and often do lead to super-spread situations (just look at the white house – from a distance of course).

And there’s often a couple-week delay between event and wide-spread infection.

Right now, people are starting to relax their standards – in and around our wrestling world as well.

Concerning events taking place such as:

  • Big tournaments being held like no Covid ever existed.
  • Crowds starting to pour back in with little or no safety protocols in place.
  • Wrestling trainings and camps taking place like nothing ever happened – gyms packed, again, tons of wrestlers pouring in, little or no health protocols in place, no regard to health or safety whatsoever, leaving YOUR KIDS EXPOSED to this deadly virus.

Now some of you think the virus is a hoax.  Or political in nature.

There are over 210,000 Americans that provide proof that it is no hoax

Some also believe young people can’t get the virus, or if they do, they won’t be affected by it.

And while their young immune systems are certainly better equipped to handle it than mine, or other older people, some have been adversely affected by it.

This quote from a local school administrator puts it in its proper perspective:

We’ve only had one case of Covid among our students.  But while he recovered, he also developed a heart issue that has been associated with the disease, and now he has to hope he can get cleared by a cardiologist so he can play sports again.  But its possible that he now has a lifelong heart condition due to this virus.

Look, the truth is, I could have done what many other trainers have done – ignored the virus and just swung my doors wide open, just like every other year.

But I feel a deep sense of responsibility, not only to the students who train here, but also to their parents, grandparents, other relatives, and their communities as a whole.

So I bite the bullet, accept smaller, manageable numbers, enact the most stringent and health-minded protocols anywhere in the sport – and do everything I can to protect the young people who entrust their health and training to me.

At this point, ACE signup is closed, although I would accept a student here or there who I could trust to follow health protocols and who would fit in to a group (junior high and high school).

But at this point, I have a self-imposed open date.

I’ve left Mondays open for just this occasion.

I am willing to open up a Monday training for a team, under these non-negotiable terms::

  • No more than 6 athletes
  • all on the email list (they can join at my website’s home page
  • all of whom are willing to follow my health protocols,
  • all willing to make an ACE-like commitment (every Monday for 9 weeks, eg).
  • the group should prepare to have athletes that match up by size (in other words, don’t plan on 5 115 lbers and one 215 lber who could crush you all like a grape).

The arrival time would likely be 7 pm. 

You can view the details at the ACE page – the training setup would be similar to that.  I have not created a separate landing page for this yet.  If you have an interest, and have a group of 4-6 athletes willing to make the commitment, email me.

PS:  Important Note:   I’m only taking one group of 4-6 athletes.  First accepted, first in the gate – so don’t delay, if you have some athletes who are looking to train hard in a safe environment.
PPS:  This Monday training is not limited by age group but all the kids in the group should be similar in age (in other words, it could be 6 high schoolers, or 6 4th-6th graders, etc).

The Marcus Lemonis principle I adhere to

If you haven’t heard of Marcus Lemonis, I behoove you to check out his award-winning television show, The Profit.  In it, Marcus personally invests in struggling businesses and utilizes the three P’s as his guiding principle when assessing a business.

His 3 P’s:

  • People
  • Process
  • Product

The one I am focusing on today is a major guiding principle for my attack system training as well.  That is….


Or, as I sometimes refer to it, the Attack System Process.

Our process starts with potential athletes/parents being on the email list.  Yes, I’m a tyrant about this step of the process, and here’s why:

  • email is my main means of communication.  Other sources – Fakebook, instagramm, etc – not so much.  I might see the message, I might not.  Email, I check constantly.
  • every athlete in my training program receives email reminders about sessions, as well as bonuses.  And if something changes at the last minute – I can whip out an email to the entire group very quickly.
  • You gain a full understanding of my attack system philosophy
  • Added bonus if and when the emails are entertaining.
  • You understand the entirety of my process.

That last one is more important than ever before, in the age of Covid-19 (which I covered extensively in my book),  we have detailed procedures meant to keep you and your family safe, and as well as everyone who enters the room. 

And when everyone understands the process – training goes more smoothly.

Athletes are safer and healthier.

The Barn is a much more appealing place to be (all on board, no divas allowed).

That’s why this summer, I made a subtle, but way overdue change in my process.

All signup pages for training programs are hidden behind my deep, dark, nearly impenetrable firewall.

The only way to access them is via invitation from the email list.

Final reminder, we start Sunday.  We have a few openings remaining.

The process starts here.


My friend went into quarantine and all I got was this nasty stick rammed up my nose

I recently opened up about my son getting released from the hospital after spending basically the entire summer in there.

Here’s the part I didn’t talk about yet.

In the process of shuffling back and forth between three different facilities for tests, blood work and treatment…

He was also tested for Covid-19.


After the 3rd test, the doctor shared this cheerful news:  “his Covid test came back negative, but we think there’s a good chance he has it.  So we are testing him again.”

To add to the drama, news broke just a few days before our scheduled summer training event, “The Impossible Event” (which, ironically, came close to fulfilling its own prophecy).

immediately went into self-quarantine (I had just spent the previous evening in the hospital with aforementioned offspring) – and hoped for the best.

I didn’t leave my house or see anyone until the next test result came back.  It was a tense couple of hours…

but the next test also came back negative, and the doctor declared that, based on the nature of his pneumonia, he was no longer considered Covid-19 risk.

First thought:  “Yeay, my son doesn’t have Covid-19!”

Second thought:  Impossible Event:  Now Possible!

My third thought:  I’m so glad I don’t have to get the Covid test.

It is not a pleasant experience.  The test is administered by inserting a 6 inch long “Q-Tip” so far up your nose that it ends up between your nose and your mouth (yes its as bad as it seems, but it gets worse) – then they roll it around up there for about 10-15 seconds.

Then they REPEAT it on the other side – just for good measure, and send it off to the lab for testing.

[I’m just now remembering I forgot to include the ‘unpleasant graphic details’ warning at the top of this article,]

Just speaking for myself but, not only do I have no desire to contract Covid-19….

I have even less desire to be tested for it.

And I will do everything in my power to avoid both – for myself, my family, and my wrestlers.

That’s why the standard here is so high when it comes to our health protocols, especially in this, the Covid Age.

These standards include, among other things:

Before each session…..

  • every surface that’s been touched since the last session, is cleaned with a strong disinfectant.
  • The mats are disinfected with The industry standard-setting Kenshield cleaner
  • Every wrestler’s temperature is taken
  • Every parent must verify by email that their son passes the state-standard covid-19 questions (I’m sure you know them by heart by now)
  • Every wrestler gets a thorough skin check
  • Every wrestler showers and changes out of street clothes (clothes that, for all we know, could have just been sneezed on at the grocery by a covid-carrier)
  • Every wrestler changes into clothes he did NOT wear in to the building.

And after every session…

  • every wrestler showers and changes out of the clothes he wore during the session.  
  • The cleaning protocol is repeated in between every session.  
  • All surfaces disinfected.  
  • All showers disinfected.  
  • All surfaces (door knobs and handles, etc, disinfected.

A lot of work, yes. 

But to take every precaution in preventing you, or me, from having that 6 inch Covid-Q-Tip stuck up my nose so far it touches the back of my throat, then swabbed around for 15 seconds, and then repeated on the other side?

You bet its worth it.

I also think about that unpleasant Covid-Q-Tip every time I:

  • Wash hands
  • Wear a mask in Speedway
  • Read about a super-spreader event somewhere
  • Observe big crowds of people not social distancing, wearing masks or taking any precautions whatsoever

Some of these include wrestling venues – open mats, tournaments and camps, that follow close to none of the above protocols as they pack their gyms, providing a breeding ground for Covid-19, along with other less publicized but very unpleasant diseases such as ringworm, impetigo, and even staff, MRSA-staff, and herpes.

For your safety (and to help you avoid the Q-Tip From Hell), I have completely re-imagined Attack Club East, aka, ACE, the area’s longest running wrestling club, which starts at the end of the month.  Available spots are strictly limited, and, after opening this up just yesterday, some of the training groups are already near capacity.
Many of them will be filled very soon.

And yes, I’m adamant about you AND me avoiding the Q-Tip From Hell – so once a group is filled, its filled.  

You can read all the details here

To snag your spot before someone else does, go here (please note that the form isn’t included on the first link, only this one. 


Wake Up Ohio!
Wake Up Ohio!

Here in the Buckeye State, a glimmer of hope among a sea of clouds…

Many counties in Ohio are turning to “orange” from “red” on the Covid scale.  

Red being BAD of course.  
Orange being Caution.

We are in the middle of a quandary here in the Buckeye State, as are Americans throughout the country.

The number of infections are going down in many places.

Some school systems that have adopted all remote learning, as well as cancelled fall sports (Columbus City comes to mind), have started to reverse course, announce sports re-openings, and adopt hybrid (some in-school, some remote) learning methods.

And colleges, some of which haven’t even approved fall sports (or have cancelled them altogether) rush forth with plans on filling their dorms with students.

Are we out of the woods?

Not even close.

There are troubling signs at many locations, and we may very well be jumping the gun.

Last time we got a little careless (protests and riots, rallies, big events), the numbers spiked back up.


I can say without a smidgeon of doubt, that we are about to see another huge resurgence.

Life is NOT about to return to pre-covid normal.  Not yet anyway.

Now that we think we have it on the run, and start to venture out to more events, (including, even more political rallies and peaceful? protests), and take fewer precautions along with way, as well as opening up schools and colleges across the country…

We are going to see another spike.

Kids are going to get sick.  Large outbreaks will happen in the dorms, and on college football teams, and everywhere there are gatherings.

As a result…

  • Schools will shut down again.
  • Activities will close again.
  • And we may well be seeing a return to a few months ago.

What to do?

In my humble yet often accurate opinion, I think we need to CHILL.

Chill until the end of September.  See where the numbers get us then.  Right now, they are NOT LOW ENOUGH YET to resume all activities.

And, because I am forward-thinking, and the end of September marks the start of Central Ohio’s longest running wrestling club (the only one to hit the 30 year in a row mark)….

I am already making plans behind the scenes as to what ACE 2020 will look like – keeping athletes’ safety, as well as our own, at the forefront (assuming things aren't so bad that we aren't able to train at all).

The format is definitely going to change.

Opportunities are definitely going to be limited.

And no doubt, some athletes will definitely miss out due to our new numbers limitations, format and very strong health protocols (which top all others I've seen anywhere in the wrestling community)

My advice?

Get on the ACE Waiting List as soon as it opens.  

I will let you know when that is – I’m sure it will be soon.

In the meantime, there will be updates to the ACE page very soon (they haven’t happened yet, so all the info out there is from the previous year.  You are welcome to take a peak at it now though, if you’d like)


“Will there be a season?” My Prediction
“Will there be a season?”  My Prediction

My latest email from a few days ago might have rubbed some people the wrong way, but the point was, I have been able to predict the future with very strong accuracy ever since I started writing my book, Wrestling in the Coronavirus World(which I finished in March).

Recently, someone asked me the question on everyone’s mind:  What’s your prediction on the 20/21 wrestling season?

My answer:  
First, all schools will end up moving to remote learning through the rest of 2020 (if not from Day One, soon after).  All sports will be postponed until January 2021.

There’s a possibility – make that, a probability – of another major shutdown.  

IF we get the virus under control, we could see scholastic wrestling starting in January 2021.  Its a big IF though. 

I”m not convinced the shutdown will work.  The virus is here and it is determined to stay.

I personally despite the lockdowns, and because some of the elements are based in zero science (Michigan, we're looking at you), and amount to a seizing of power, leading to government overreach in many ways, people have been fighting the restrictions.  That trend will continue.

Example in point:  There is no scientific reason to require wearing a mask outside when no one is around.

As a result of the mess left behind, we are likely to still be dealing with this in 2021.

The biggest concern right now: 
This virus has mutations (as I also mentioned in my book would happen), and now kids are getting sick a lot more often.  That’s why I think schools will end up all remote.

Finally, this dire hope-I'm-wrong-but probably-not-prediction:  

Schools, state and local governments, and colleges have a huge financial issue on their hands.  

Many colleges will fold (some will shock people).

Colleges will continue to drop sports.

On the big stage, if football doesn’t happen – the other sports won’t (since football revenue funds the other sports).  

The end result being:  any program that isn’t self-funded – able to pay for everything themselves, is at risk of getting canned.  Penn State is probably the safest school in the country due to their endowment program.


PS:  Regarding privately owned training, tournaments, etc.  I was deeply critical of trainers that I mentioned in my book – people who don’t take safety into consideration and are reckless.  Personally, I’d rather put the kids’ safety first – hence our very strict health protocols for the recent SuperGroup trainings that we concluded.  I address this in my book as well, especially in Chapter 4:  The Danger Zones of Wrestling.

The path forward for wrestling is here

I hate it when I’m right

Back in March, I said this in my book: In all likelihood, Covid-19 is not going away anytime soon. After all, SARS saw a resurgence in Toronto after its initial wave…

I went on to add this:

It is a unique time in our society, and also for our sport. A scary time to be certain. But this moment in time also provides a unique opportunity to get our act together as a wrestling community – plug the holes in our health protocols that relate not just to Covid-19, but a host of medical issues that the wrestling world faces.

In Chapter One, Alarming statistics and dire predictions by health experts, I added this:

If you think the government can protect you from coronavirus or any future pandemic, all you need to do is study history so you’re not doomed to repeat it.

As we stand right now, March 2020, there is no cure – and it will take a minimum of 6 months to develop a vaccine.
The most prepared government in the world is never prepared for a pandemic. The next pandemic, like this one will be upon us, in our communities, with people infected, literally before we know it exists.
That’s why it is imperative that you take safety measures now, and in the future, to protect yourself and your family.

Additionally, this from chapter two:

It is likely that this virus is not going away anytime soon…..and precautions enacted by authorities could stem the threat – however, variant strains of this virus may well rear their ugly heads for many years into the future.
Our lives, in essence, could be drastically changed forever.

Chapter Three explains why the wrestling world is doomed (it certainly is, unless changes are made quickly, as outlined in the book, and especially chapter 5, Health protocols to keep your wrestlers safe).

Many of these protocols apply to life outside the wrestling room as well. Want extra assurance that you’re taking every precaution to keep your athlete safe and healthy? This book can certainly help.

You can check out the book here


PS: Combine all this with what our current situation is:

  • Covid-19 roaring back, in our area as well as many parts of the nation
    fall sports everywhere being postponed
    schools on remote learning
    colleges and universities, as well as state governments and business as a whole, facing enormous financial deficits (see what I said in my book about Penn State and why they are likely to survive while others fail).
God never gives anyone everything
God never gives anyone everything

“Tell me something:  are those NFL players tough?”

That was the question that the great Pat Pecora, Carlton Haselrig’s collegiate coach asked him.

His answer:

Naw.  They’re not tough.  Those 125 lb college wrestlers – Those guys are Tough.

Carlton would know.  Haselrig, drafted in the 12th round of the 1989 draft, despite having not played football since high school (Pitt-Johnstown doesn't sponsor a football team), developed into an all-pro guard for the Steelers, following a stellar, record-shattering collegiate wrestling career at University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown, where he won an unmatched 6 national championships – 3 in Division 2, and 3 in Division 1.

Before 1990, Division 2 and Division 3 champions were extended an invitation to compete in the Division 1 national championships.

Haselrig’s success led to the appropriately nicknamed Haselrig rule, which was enacted in 1990.  After he won both Division 2 and Division 1 titles- 3 seasons in a row – they changed the rule and rescinded the invitation to D2 and D3 champs.  Because of this, his feat can never be matched, unless they change the rule again.

After his collegiate career ended, he was drafted in the 12th round by the Pittsburgh Steelers.  

When it came time to find an agent, he asked his college coach, Pat Pecora, to represent him.

I need somebody I can trust, he told Pat.

So Pecora, now the winningest wrestling coach in NCAA history, obliged him.

Pat once said this about Carlton Haselrig:  God never gives anyone everything.

He was blessed with great athletic ability and work ethic, but cursed with substance abuse, which ultimately ended his football career and occasionally landed him in jail.

It was a sad ending to a brilliant career.

Carlton Haselrig died on July 22.  He was 52.

Pat Pecora is an old friend of mine.  Long ago, I worked his wrestling camps along with my friend and fellow coach, John.  I came to know some excellent people – wrestlers on the UPJ team, coaches from around the area, and some excellent Pennsylvania wrestlers.  It was an experience that positively shaped my coaching for years to come.

It was Pecora’s belief that every human being, no matter how great, has built-in strengths and weaknesses.  Certainly the sport of wrestling highlights this – nowhere is it more prevalent to wrestle to your strengths and exploit your opponent’s weaknesses.

It is also a fundamental key to finding success in one's life.