Sound advice

Published 9:00 pm Saturday, June 23, 2012

About 11 days ago, former professional wrestler Ivan Koloff was overheard talking with an 8-year-old boy who has an interest in becoming a professional wrestler.

While Koloff did discourage the boy from following that dream, the former world champion provided some sound advice for the boy. First, Koloff stressed the importance of academics over athletics, noting that the boy could do well in each area if he worked hard at it. By that he meant working hard in the classroom and doing homework and working hard while practicing a sport and giving one’s all when playing sports.

Koloff told the boy he might want to try baseball, football, basketball, soccer and similar team sports while young. Wrestling — amateur wrestling, that is — could come later, when the boy is more mature mentally and physically, noting that wrestling is a physically demanding sport. Koloff explained the injuries that he sustained while wrestling. And, yes, Koloff explained to the boy that professional wrestling shown on television is entertainment, but entertainment that does carry risks of injury.

Koloff pulled no punches with the boy. Koloff provided straight, no-nonsense answers to the boy’s questions. Koloff made it clear the boy’s goal should be to become champion in the realm of academics before becoming a champion in the squared circle, on the football field or on the soccer pitch. He made it clear that an athletic scholarship can be the boy’s ticket to a college degree.

Koloff is on the right road when he champions academics over athletics but not ruling out the contributions and benefits that athletics can provide in one’s life.