Aleksandr Karelin is a name that I would be willing to bet no one knows. Go ahead I will give you a minute to google it if you would like. Well, let me tell you about Aleksandr. He was the Russian Bear, winning 3 consecutive gold medals, and had not lost an international wrestling match for 13 years. But I do not want to talk about those 13 years when he didn’t lose, I want to talk about the 14th year when he did. It happened at the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney when he ran into a chunky boy from Wyoming name Rulon Gardner. Rulon made the finals of the Olympic games and went into a match that everyone said he couldn’t win, but that did not phase him. Rulon ignored everyone and told himself one thing which was, someone has to beat this guy, and why not me? He only thought about how he could beat him, not about all the ways he could lose. It is just a mindset, the same mindset that Herb Brooks gave the USA hockey team when they played the Soviets. Rulon used what Herb Brooks told his team and ran with it; Herb told them “You could play them 100 times and they might win 99, but not tonight. Tonight, you are the best hockey team in the world.” That’s the way Rulon approached his match, tonight I am the best wrestler in the world, not the Russian bear.


You may be asking yourself what this has to do with Claremore athletics. Well, we have a football game Friday night against our own Russian bear, the #1 ranked Coweta Tigers. How do we beat them, the same way Rulon Gardner beat Aleksandr Karelin, mindset. We have to believe and go into the game ignoring what everyone is saying and tell ourselves, they may beat us 99 times if we played them 100, but not tonight, tonight we are the best team in Class 5a.

See you tomorrow night when the Zebras become an overnight sensation, the same way Rulon Gardner and the USA hockey team did. You will not want to miss it.