The awful, sickening and gruesome video in question appears below:
I write this somber article coming from the perspective of a concerned coach. I have no idea what sort of instruction they were offering youth bear wrestlers in 1997 wherever this was filmed (by the way that the human child wrestles underneath the bear, it would leave me to believe the child is from the USA), but I am left appalled by the thoroughly shitty technique displayed by this kid against a decent, yet not great, ursine opponent.
After reviewing the film, I have picked out a few choice moments which really point to the alarmingly titanic holes in this tiny human’s game.
Here the kid salvages a half-assed shot attempt by getting in on the bear’s leg, but instead of securing the single leg elbow-deep, he fails to even get his hands locked before the bear limp legs out.
Bears do not just let you in on their legs, and when you get there, you better convert the move into some points. Kid, it’s not too hard to figure out how to score here – we are talking about finishing a single leg, not splitting the daggum atom.
To the right, you see the kid actually get the bear on its back, but before he can secure the pin the bear bites him on his arm, and he rolls over like a little nancy boy. STRAP ON A PAIR OF BALLS, KID! One day life is going to take its own giant razor sharp grizzly teeth and chomp you much harder in a place more tender than your wrist. When that happens, are you just going to roll right over and give up? No! Not there and not here, either.
Youth bear wrestling is about teaching life lessons. The lesson we learned here is that this kid needs to toughen the hell up.
When I saw the mangled mess of terrible wrestling on the left I got so mad that I snatched my whistle off my neck and chucked it against the wall, thus ripping a hole in my sweet poster celebrating sportsmanship and civility among wrestling coaches.
For some reason the kid cuts the bear loose. I guess he thought he might start accomplishing something on his feet for a change. Inexplicably, as the bear turns to face him, the kid just stands there like he’s waiting for the school bus in the morning, and the bear obliges him by blast doubling him right onto his ass. Drop back into a stance, kid. You are making this bear look like Jordan Furroughs.
If you want to escape, you can start with a little HAND CONTROL!
This kid needs to realize he isn’t wrestling the Teddy Ruxspins on J.V. anymore. Real bears are not going to fall for this sloppy-sag headlock garbage. The boy gets what he asks for when the bear gets a body lock and plants him right on his back. That kind of weak crap will get you mauled.
Look to the right and you will notice that there is a little thing this kid needs to learn how to do called sprawling; it helps a tiny bit when your opponent shoots on your legs. Here the bear gifts him a telegraphed shot, but still scores with a head-inside single, easy as can be. The takedown was so effortless you would think the bear’s name was Jordan Pawliver. That’s cool though, kid, just watch the damned bear grab your leg and do nothing about it. Maybe you should stick with opponents with rainbows on their tummy.
If this kid gets tooled like this against this cub, what can he expect when he runs up against one of the Stiebear brothers? The bear scores two more emphatic takedowns – first with a head wheel finish off a single, and then with a knee pick with basically zero resistance. You can start doing some actual wrestling any day now kid, there’s no rush I guess.
Now, ladies and gentleman, insult added to injury. The kid looks like he is actually going to finish a shot, but the bear kicks him over in an elevator from his back side (the boy possibly takes a paw in the groin, but so what, this is bear wrestling not bear pat-a-cake). I guess the bear made some serious film study of Minnesota’s Dylan Ness in the finals of the Big Ten championships last year. Maybe if the kid spent more time watching good wrestlers in action instead of shopping for ugly windbreakers, he would have been ready.
(Minnesota’s Dylan Ness doing the elevator)
I really doubt there’s much anyone can do for this kid; you can’t coach heart. I guess it’s convenient that he’s already dressed for winter track; it saves him the need to change.
I’ll close with a message to parents. If you are going to have your kid wrestle a bear, at least provide your kid with some cursory instruction on the fundamentals of wrestling. It would save everyone involved a great deal of embearassment.
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