Wrestling has played such a significant part in my life and I guess it could be said that this would be obvious with Roy Wood as my father! However, people may not automatically understand the impact that it has had in my own personal world. Parents are role models and so our young eyes watch and learn to understand how to ‘do life’. Watching my father, I learned that wrestling was about so much more than the incredible sport that it is. Whilst it is tough, brutal, demanding, physically pushes a person to their limits, requires exceptional fitness and strength and is a very clever technical sport, it also has a hidden beautiful side that can go amiss for those not as close to the sport. This side is about relationships, closeness of a team, respect, honour and integrity between coaches and wrestlers. A place that build indomitable spirits and people in your corner championing you on in life. A place of respect, self worth, earned credibility and loyalty. And most of all a place where friends become family, team mates become brothers and coaches become parent figures and role models and someone who is a beacon of light when it comes to guiding students into how to navigate this crazy world that we live in!
My father would certainly say that Billy Riley taught him a lot about life and gave him great coaching on the mat but also great wisdom of how to navigate life well as a man. I then have had the privilege of watching my father do this for so many students who have entered the world of wrestling and my fathers life. I also had the chance to try and model this in my own life and help others. My starting point for this was of course wrestling and then led to me setting up a charity, Heartlift as I realised that wrestling was one of a number of ways that lives can be changed. Sport in general has this benefit. But it is not the sport in isolation, it is the people who make the sport. It is their passion, love and care that make the difference!
Snake Pit will often cite “Iron sharpens iron” in relation to the proverb “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27 v 17)
Legends of Catch including Billy Robinson and Karl Gotch recognised this just as my father did and so they chose Rileys / The Snake Pit as their place to train. They realised that if you want to be the best, you must wrestle the best! Good opponents make you the best you that you can be. They demand your best, they quickly highlight to you your areas of weakness and show you where you need to improve, they set a standard to aspire to, they keep you humble. They sharpen you!
This sharpening leads to not just winning on the mat but winning in life, in who you are, what you stand for and what you will leave behind in the minds and hearts of those you invest in!
Time is the most precious thing that we can give anyone and both my father and I have been very honoured and blessed to receive coaching awards and recognition for our investment. However, there is no greater honour for us than this…… To have people who walked in as wrestlers and walked out family! For this we give thanks to our heavenly Father!
God’s blessings to everyone, and thank you for taking time to read this.