#3 Jumbling Weight Classes

I love this idea by the way. It makes Doubling Up; doubly exciting, doubly interesting and doubly strategic.

Here’s how it works. The sport still has a flip of a coin before the match with the winning coach selecting the first weight class to be contested. But after that, with jumbling weight classes the other coach gets to select whatever weight he wants to put out on the mat next. He doesn’t have to follow any weight class order. And so on back and forth until the 10 weights have concluded.

As a result, every dual meet would be different.

Do you see where this could go? Similar to military strategy, where and when do you attack; how do you take advantage of actual or perceived weaknesses, and which asset do you throw into battle next?

These two rule alterations, Doubling up and Scrambling Weight Classes are outstanding in so many ways that they should both be, let’s do it.

And here’s the kicker; no one knows who’s wrestling next except the coach whose turn it is to decide, and of course his athlete. How exciting would that be for the spectators; each one trying to armchair quarterback who’s going out on the mat next, and better yet, who do they believe should be next?

Think of the tactical value of this? Does the coach whose turn it is to select send his best wrestler out to stop the momentum the opposing team has built up or hold him in reserve for a later match?

What weight class does a coach use after Spencer Lee just finished winning a close match against one of his better athletes? Should he jump a couple of weight classes and get Spencer off the mat in case he was going to double up, or should he challenge him with his nationally ranked 133-pound wrestler?

Maybe the coach should jump to 184 and try and take advantage of the one athlete on the other team’s bench who hasn’t been warming up?

The strategic possibilities are endless and exactly what spectators yearn for; to have something they can debate, or argue among themselves over regarding whatever decision the coach makes.

All this is terribly important to attracting, and keeping fans who want to give wrestling a try. The more we compound the number of strategies that coaches have available to them, the more we correspondingly engage those who are sitting in the stands.

It’s critical that we give our fans the ability to out-think, at least in their minds; or out-coach those whose decisions determine the evening’s outcome.

Armchair quarterbacking is a great thing in sports.

As to the naysayers for such a rule, most of them will claim that not knowing what weight is going to go next isn’t fair to the opposing athlete. Why isn’t it fair? Anytime you make changes that are uniformly applied to all, then by definition, isn’t it fair for all?

I’ll agree that alternating weight classes is a far cry from what we’ve grown accustomed to but that by itself doesn’t make it unreasonable. Isn’t that exactly the same way that most if not all other sports operate? A basketball player doesn’t know when he’s going to hear, “White, get in there for Bruno.” In baseball, “Miller, get over there on first, you’re pinch running for Darby.” In football, “Jones, Winburg’s hurt, grab your helmet, your in.” In reality, there are far more sports that substitute players without notice than do.

Only in wrestling do we feel our athletes are again, so fragile that they need to be forewarned.
There’s simply no physiological reason why this rule is bad and only because “we’ve never done it before” doesn’t mean we shouldn’t.

So if we don’t give it a try are we actually admitting that athletes in those other sports are tougher than wrestlers? We already have one foot in the grave doing things the way we’ve always done them, so what’s there to lose?

Not the spectators we already don’t have. Once again, we only need to remedy one thing to become successful as a sport; that’s the number of people we have in the stands. If we can fix that, we’ve fixed most of what ails us; a lack of finances.

Here’s a quote that I thought was apropos.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The rebels. The troublemakers. The ones who see things differently. While some may see them as the crazies, I see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Steve Jobs

4 Comments

  • Rick S. says:

    This is a good idea, Wade.

    Each wrestler, in a dual meet, can be thought of as a chess piece. Which chess piece do you use next?

    It might add some fan excitement if the fans knew what to expect from each wrestler.

    Having agreed with you, I still question if we understand fan “excitement”.

    We speak of fan “excitement”. What is that?

    Let me give you a simple, from the gut, definition.

    Fan excitement is when the fan’s heart gets pumping.

    How long, and how often, is a fan’s heart pumping watching amateur wrestling?

    What about other sports.

    Take arm wrestling. You can’t take your eyes off the match. The match could be over at any moment. Do you feel your heart pumping?

    What about a tug-of-war. Two teams are on opposite ends of a rope. The rope has a flag at the center. The referee gives the signal and the teams begin to pull. If you look away, you might miss something. Is your heart pumping?

    In the cases of arm wrestling and tug-of-war, the action is simplistic, primitive, one could almost say very little action, in comparison to the complexities of amateur wrestling.

    Why is your heart pumping when you watch an arm wrestling match and or a tug-of-war, and not in the case of watching amateur wrestling?

    Why can you take your eyes away from an amateur wrestling match and feel you haven’t missed much, but you don’t dare take your eyes away from an arm wrestling match or a tug-of-war for fear of missing something?

    How would others explain fan “excitement”?

  • Jack Schwartz says:

    I love the ideas and think we need to make it more spectator interesting as the sport is dying.

    • Wade Schalles says:

      Jack . . . appreciate you responding here. It’s just that we’ve been doing things the way we have for so long that it seems anyway, that we haven’t stopped to think if we’re headed in the right direction. Everything is about the coaches which is akin to giving the foxes the keys to the hen house. All the major sports have non-coaches making and administrating the rules with the concept of “will this change bring in more fans and increase media interest?”

    • Wade Schalles says:

      Jack . . . appreciate you responding here. It’s just that we’ve been doing things the way we have for so long that it seems anyway, that we haven’t stopped to think if we’re headed in the right direction. Everything is about the coaches which is akin to giving the foxes the keys to the hen house. All the major sports have non-coaches making and administrating the rules with the concept of “will this change bring in more fans and increase media interest?”

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