Wrestling teaches life, sports skills
April 29, 2010
SCHOFIELDAca,!E+BARRACKS, Hawaii - The Tropic Lightning Screaming Eagles wrestling team, a Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Youth Sports program, here, teaches military children of all ages disciple, self-reliance, good sportsmanship, friendship and sacrifice.
These teaching points sound a lot like the Army core values of loyalty, duty, respect, self-disciple, honor, integrity and selfless service that their parents embrace each day.
"Wrestling is the only sport that you have no one to help you, but your team depends on you," said Staff Sgt. Kevin Corbett, member of the Hawaii Air National Guard, volunteer Screaming Eagles head coach and wrestling coach for Campbell High School boys and girls junior varsity and varsity teams.
"I'm in the military myself, and it's like coaching my own family," he said. "The difference between military and local teams is the military kids leave, and you don't always get to finish what you started with them."
The Screaming Eagles competed in a round-robin tournament, April 10, where wrestlers were matched by age, weight and experience.
If possible, boys and girls are separated, but as there are less girls in the sport, they do throw and takedown with the boys.
Hawaii is one of only three states that has female championships and is the top state for female wrestling recruitment programs, Corbett said. Female wrestling is the fastest growing sport in colleges.
The Screaming Eagles coaching team adjusts the program philosophy based on the age of the athlete, which ranges from 5-18 years old.
Younger children are taught the basics of the sport like neutral, offensive and defensive positions through repetitive drills and games to encourage enjoyment.
For the older kids, things get more intense.
"I believe that nothing in life worth having comes easy or cheap," Corbett said. "We win our championships in our practice room, through hard work and sacrifice."
The team grapples against local state teams but has the opportunity to travel to other islands and the continental United States, if desired.
They travel to Maui for Folk-style championships; and Idaho, Utah and North Dakota for Amateur Athletic Union Western Regionals and Nationals in Folk-style, Freestyle and Greco-Roman, depending on the age and individual style of the competitor.
Travel is voluntary, as it self-funded along with the uniform shirt, short, shoes and headgear.
FMWR supplies the facility, tape, mats and the singlets, which are the one-piece spandex suits used in wrestling.
The Screaming Eagles is the only wrestling program on island that has all-volunteer high school coaches running the program rather than parents, according to Corbett. But, he never turns anybody away that wants to learn or help.
"I really fell in love with teaching, spending time with the wrestlers and building a program," he said. "I coach, it's what I am. I have always been competitive, and there is nothing better than wrestling."
As a parent of male and female wrestlers, he said there is nothing better than watching your child grow as a person and an athlete.
"As a previous wrestler and in 22 years of coaching, I have never met anybody that was sorry that they wrestled, only the ones that were sorry they didn't," he said.
All the competing Screaming Eagles earned a medal in Saturday's round-robin, and the team would have placed second, if there was an award for overall team scores.
Contact the Schofield Barracks Youth Sports programs at 808-655-6465 for more information.