The Norman Transcript

Sports

December 11, 2012

Making college wrestling a better sport

NORMAN — Sunday afternoon I was at McCasland Fieldhouse for Bedlam wrestling.

It wasn’t a very good day for the Sooners, who fell 26-9, won only 2 of 10 bouts and lost for the second time in less than 72 hours. Still, packing up and walking out of the arena I had the same thought I always have when walking away from the mat.

That was fun, when does it happen again?

I looked at OU’s schedule. Iowa State visits Jan. 5. West Virginia arrives Jan. 20.

That’s it.

Seriously.

It seems like the season just began. The Sooners welcomed NAIA power Oklahoma City to the old field house. Binghamton was in Norman a week before Bedlam. Then Bedlam and only two more duals?

We know wrestling will never rival basketball the way it once did around here, and interest may never be as broad for it as for college baseball, nor may the mat Sooners become the cool new team on the block the way Patty Gasso’s OU softball team has been the last 15 years. Yet it would stand a much better chance if OU was at home more than five times a season.

Another thing about the mat.

It may not generate deep interest beyond anybody without a cauliflower ear, but in the moment, when a reversal comes out of nowhere, an escape beats the buzzer or even when a weak spot on the roster simply avoids being pinned, saving the team a point or two … when those things happen, when it’s meaningful and top drawer, wrestling is better than basketball, baseball even football.

Because nothing is more exciting than a 3-2 ninth-inning pitch with two outs and runners at the corners and a guy who can really hit on deck; or fourth-and-4 with minutes to play in a razor-tight game; or coming out of timeout, down a point with 15 seconds to play. But so many things must first happen for those moments to ever happen.

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