Opinion: When Squirrels Fly
I recently wrote an opinion piece for Intermat that explores the wrestling communities multi-layered reaction to the on-mat acrobatics of 20-year-old Greco-Roman wrestler Ellis Coleman. The goal of the article was to stoke the creative minds within the American wrestling community in the hopes that they see the need for ideas like Wrestling Roots, which seek to push the conversation about wrestling in new and exciting directions.
Amateur wrestling needs to ask itself if it is willing to track towards a more professional style of wrestling (celebrations anyone?), or if we do a complete and total re-branding that includes themes that are both easily transmittable to our core communicators like Jason Bryant and repeatable by our athletes, coaches and fans.
Changing the popular perception of American folkstyle wrestling will depend on fresh analysis and much better marketing strategies from leading organizations. No matter the cost, wrestling needs to recover some of the core audience it has lost over the past several years and recruit more from the ranks of mixed-martial arts. Do that and the sport will thrive; fail to do so and the sport will continue to contract in size at the upper levels and be ridiculed by the press.
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The Flying Squirrel