Rob Ranalli – Like a Chicken With No Head

The past few weeks I have running around trying to find something big to do this summer. I have already been rejected (insert Dikembe Motumbo meme here) by a Fellowship at UC Berkeley, and am currently applying to an internship back in DC. Last year I was in Georgetown University’s Semester in Washington Program, but this year – hopefully – I’ll be staying at George Mason for the Engalitcheff Institute for DC Internships. This is an economic and public policy opportunity, which is something near what I am interested in after law school. I also have an interview with the ACLU of New Jersey sometime in March or April to interview for a position in August or in the fall. On top of that, I may call my high school headmaster and ask to teach a course during summer session (St. Benedict’s, my high school in Newark, NJ, runs from August to June). So, I have to juggle three possible opportunities (if I get them), or none! Sometimes it’s good to be paranoid.

Otherwise, I’m just writing papers for classes, finishing up the wrestling season and enjoying myself. Wrestling has been going well; I was able to wrestle in 8 matches and be competitive and I’ve been fortunate to travel with the team and still be around the sport. Speaking of which…what is wrong with the International Olympic Committee? Dropping wrestling from the itinerary for the 2020 games is absolutely ridiculous. How are golf, racewalking, and most of the other “sports” still a part of the games, but wrestling – the original and oldest Olympic sport in human history – not? Wrestling is the epitome of sport (my water-polo friend told me so), combining strength training equivalent to Olympic weightlifters, the endurance of soccer players and swimmers, and the strategic intelligence of point guards or chess players. Wrestling is the sixth most popular sport among prep school schools across the country, with 275,000 participants; that number does not include the hundreds of thousands of youth wrestlers and college wrestlers. Hopefully, wrestling can beat out baseball/softball (I played baseball for a decade, wrestling should be in), rock climbing, wushu, karate, squash and wakeboarding. Honestly, a lot of what we do are hobbies. You can go to the courts in the park and play a pick-up game of basketball, or find a partner for tennis, or wakeboard or rock climb for fun. Wrestling can be a great experience and great fun, but you don’t “play” wrestling.

Wrestling reaches back to the ancients, Plato took his name from his pancration (Greek wrestling) abilities. Genesis 32:23 is a story about Jacob wrestling with an angel until the angel blesses him. Cultures all over the world have some form of wrestling. It is a great tool for learning life lessons and seeing other parts of the country, and the world. Wrestlers are family, and as the saying goes: once you have wrestled, you are always a wrestler. In the words of one of the greatest American athletes, Dan Gable: once you have wrestled, everything else in life is easy.


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