February 15, 2004

Iowa and Iran�seperated at birth?

Mark writes about one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, and on the strenths and weaknesses of being highly specialized...

Mastery
Last week, I wrote a biography for Dan Gable. Because the sport at which Gable excelled was wrestling, most have not heard of him, but within the sport he is a legend. That's him over there on the right, pictured with his Gold Medal from the 1972 Olympics (in which he went undefeated and, indeed, didn't give up a single point - much to the dismay of the Soviets, who had vowed to "scour the country" looking for someone to defeat Gable). His story is an interesting one, but one thing I'm not so sure I captured in my piece was just how obsessed with wrestling he was. He lived, ate, and drank wrestling. When asked what interests he has besides wrestling, the first thing he says is "Recovery" (of course, he has to be completely exhausted to partake in that activity). How he managed to start a family, I will never know (perhaps he wasn't quite as obsessed as I thought). It made me wonder if being that good at something was worth it...
I don't know much about wrestling, but it seems like an odd and fascinating world. I once studied jujitsu in a small way, so I don't feel totally bewildered. One thing I do know, is that in Iran and that whole Central-Asian region, wrestling is a very big deal. (see my post here, with also a recommendation for a book Neal Stephenson wrote under another name, featuring wrestling, and Iowa, and terrorists...)

I strongly urge that when the time comes that we re-open diplomatic relations with Iran, Dan Gable should be our ambassador.

Posted by John Weidner at February 15, 2004 12:31 PM
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