Massachusetts’ USA Wrestling is the Real Deal
By Kim Dunbar
Hulk Hogan. Andre the Giant. The Rock. We hear these names and instantly think of wrestling (OK, and maybe one lame reality show…but I digress). However, the actual sport of wrestling is very different what we see these “wrestlebrities” do on World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
“The WWE is a form of sports entertainment completely separate from real wrestling,” said Aaron Polansky, director of the Massachusetts division of USA Wrestling. “It’s fun to see guys like Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle in the WWE doing their thing and making some money, but it’s vastly different from real wrestling.”
In fact, RealPro Wrestling, a professional wrestling league, celebrated its inaugural season this past year. “RealPro Wrestling is a Professional League of real wrestlers who are paid to compete,” said Polansky. It features a hybrid style of wrestling and combines the classic styles of Greco-Roman and Freestyle, the two Olympic sanctioned sports, along with elements of college and Sumo wrestling.
But before pro wrestling there must come programs like USA Wrestling. USA Wrestling is the national governing body for the sport of wrestling is the United States. Divisional outlets like Massachusetts USA Wrestling, along with the organizations in the 49 other states, are responsible for promoting the sport in their respective states and reporting directly to the national offices in Colorado Springs, CO.
“Massachusetts USA Wrestling is responsible for promoting the sport of amateur wrestling at all levels here in the state of Massachusetts,” said Polansky. He reports that in the past three years USA wrestling has received promotion help from former Olympic Gold Medalists John Smith, Rulon Gardner, Cael Sanderson, and Dan Gable, all of whom have run clinics in Massachusetts, and also from several Division I NCAA Champions who make appearances and assist with developmental programs.
Massachusetts USA Wrestling and the entire sport have evolved immensely over the past several years. In fact, it is the fastest growing sport in the state. “Four years ago, our organization was operating in the red and wrestling tournaments were slim pickings,” said Polansky.
But they have come a long way. Last year, the organization awarded a grant valued at more than $15,000 by the City of Boston, and through their grant program Stance in Motion, and with the help of partners World Wide Sport Supply and Dollumar Wrestling Mats, Massachusetts USA Wrestling presented the Boston Center for Families and Youth with a brand new Dollumar Wrestling Mat along with over 100 uniforms.
The organization is also opening the state’s eyes to wrestling by sponsoring several wrestling events throughout the year. “We now sponsor an annual IRONMAN Weekend, a Belt Series that runs an entire weekend, and other numerous 1-day tournaments open to all ages,” said Polansky.
MA USA Wrestling has also introduced a schedule of clinics, competitions, and practices that allow wrestlers to compete and train year round. “We offer training for wrestlers at all levels,” said Polansky. “There are wrestling clubs throughout the state where wrestlers can train, or simply be
introduced to the fundamentals of wrestling.”
This open training not only encompasses old, young, skilled and novice, but also male and female. “It is a common misconception that wrestling is only for men,” said Polansky. “Women’s wrestling is an Olympic Sport and has seen a major increase in participation over the past four years here in the United States of America,” he said.
It’s simple: Anyone can join USA Wrestling. Whether you’re a beginner looking to improve or experienced wrestler looking to advance, visit www.themat.com or www.usa.masswrestling.com for more information on how to become a member, or give your local chapter a call:
Boston Union Wrestling Club, 47 Orchard Street, So. Grafton, MA, 774-287-9574 (Club Leader: Will Boberg)
Snakepit Wrestling Club, 360 Merrimack St., Bldg #5, Lawrence, MA, 978-557-9413 (Club Leader: John Ryan).
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