by Eric Johnson, Middle School Principal
Wrestling is the world’s oldest, (and in my opinion), greatest sport, dating as far back as the earliest recorded history. I believe nothing can compare to it when developing young men. I know I have an extreme bias toward wrestling. I have been involved in the sport for almost 40 years as a competitor, coach, consultant, and fan. I have dedicated much of my life to wrestling because of the benefits I and many others have received from the sport.
Why is wrestling so great? Wrestling offers so many positive benefits to its participants. I played other sports growing up. I have taught & coached hundreds of teenagers who have played practically every sport possible. I believe they, along with most sports, teach many valuable lessons. I just know wrestling is one of the best to educate people about life.
Wrestling is hard. It is hard physically, mentally, and emotionally. Your body gets banged up and your ego gets damaged. Each day of the wrestling season your mind toggles between feelings of confidence, doubt, and insecurity.
So why then should every young man wrestle?
1. Wrestling teaches people to deal with adversity.
2. Wrestling teaches people a strong work ethic.
3. Wrestling teaches people to sacrifice.
4. Wrestling teaches discipline & mental toughness.
5. Wrestling teaches self-reliance.
6. Wrestling makes you stronger, more balanced, and develops kinesthetic awareness.
7. Wrestlers are ALL shapes and sizes.
The points above are why all young men should wrestle, not to mention that it is just a natural thing boys do anyway in the back yard or on the living room floor. It is hard. It will be challenging, especially when a child starts out, as there is a big learning curve. There is a lot to learn to be successful. Most kids lose more than they win in the beginning. If they stick it out and work hard, eventually they will see success in terms of wins and losses, and it is never too late to start. More importantly though, they ALL will learn many life skills that will take them great places as adults which will stay with them for a lifetime.
Eric Johnson came to ELCA in 2005 to teach, as well as, be the Head Wrestling coach. Little did he know that the Lord would call him to serve as principal in just his second year at ELCA. Coach Johnson was born in Hershey, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Cedarville University in Ohio in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education. He received his Masters of Education in Administration from Troy State University in 2003 and his Specialist degree in 2006 from Lincoln Memorial University in Educational Administration and Supervision. Coach Johnson and his wife, Gwen, were married in December of 1991, and have two children, Trent (ELCA Class of 2016) and Victoria (Class of 2023).