Four Days to Glory: Wrestling with the Soul of the American by Mark Kreidler

By Mark Kreidler

Someplace past the circle of cash, glitz, medicines, and controversy that characterizes specialist activities in the United States, remnants of a fantastic exist. In Iowa, that excellent survives within the kind of highschool wrestling. each one a three-time kingdom champion, Jay Borschel and Dan LeClere have an opportunity of their senior 12 months to hitch the sport's so much elite crew: the "four-timers," wrestlers who win 4 consecutive country titles. For Jay, a ferocious competitor who feeds off feedback and doubt, a victory may suggest vindication over the nice mass of skeptics anticipating him to fail. For Dan, who incorporates on his again the burdens of his tiny farming neighborhood, the desires of his hard-driving trainer and father, and his personal own demons, one other identify is the single appropriate final result. 4 Days to Glory is the tale of the US as informed via its small cities and their connection to recreation how it was usually perceived: as a method of mattering to the people round the corner.

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With the gymnasium lights dimmed and a single spotlight trained, theater-style, down upon the wrestling mat, Dan goes to work, quietly enforcing pain and selecting an angle of attack. The years of experience flow through him. That first move feels comfortable and familiar to him—an “outside single” in the vernacular, meaning Dan goes to the outside of his opponent to grab the ankle and is already moving halfway behind the Cascade boy before he knows what is happening. Now, in his vision of the match, Dan sees what comes next.

Doug qualified for the State Tournament himself as a wrestler at North-Linn 40 / FOUR DAYS TO GLORY in 1978. The day he saw the looks on the faces of those champions and saw the great love and affection that rained down on them from the farthest reaches of the Barn, he told himself that someday he would make it possible for his own children to have that experience. It has been driving him, for better and for worse, ever since. At most, they’re recovering their breath from the intense series of one-on-one simulated matches they’re undergoing—drilling, so-called in a wrestling practice — in time to go again.

It is impossible for him to pretend otherwise. And so Doug stands there, “bleeding like a stuck pig,” by his estimation, but it is still the middle of practice, and he is not done. “Wrap it up,” he says, and he jams some fresh cotton and gauze near the earlobe where the blood is. One of the kids brings another roll of gauze, which he helps the coach wrap round and round the circumference of his head to keep the bandage in place. And then Doug, the old man with the kids who wrestle—like all the other old men with kids who wrestle in Iowa—gets back out there and starts thundering away at Tyler Burkle once again, because time is short.

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