From: Claudia Cicchetti
As a wrestling mother and one of the persons present at the discussion involving the seven-year-old (age) issue featured in The Anne Arundel County Sun, Tuesday, January 7, 1992 ("Wrestling enthusiasts denounce age rule"), I feel some things should be clarified.
I willnot deny that the things stated in the article were said. However, the manner in which they were repeated does not truly reflect the way they were meant.
What it boils down to in my opinion is this: Herein Anne Arundel County we as parents do not have the choice to let our children wrestle when we feel they are ready. The Department of Parks and Recreation has made that decision for us. This adversely affects not only our wrestling program, as Coach Linton stated, but also the children involved.
For example, we have lots of brothers signed up for our wrestling program. Some of these boys are only separatedby two years, age-wise. So, now you have brothers, who both love thesport. They practice together, go to tournaments together, learn to wrestle and have fun doing it together. Yet the brother who is not 8 years old can't even get on the mat for an exhibition match at any county meet.
This just is not fair. There are 12 year olds who should never step on the mat. To categorize all children as having the same mental and physical ability is wrong.
Another thing that I thinkis somewhat overstated was the comment about "breeding champions" and the direct inference to 3-year-old Gregory Baesch. The point that was actually being made was that wrestling with skill is only acquiredafter three to four years on the mat. Little Gregory at this time isonly on the mat to have fun. It just tickles him to be part of the team just like the big boys.
Anne Arundel County is the only countythat has the 8-year-old age restriction. We have wrestled as far away as Salisbury, Oxford and Aberdeen, just to mention a few places. Atthese tournaments we have seen children wrestle as young as 4 years old.
The word "competition" is only secondary to these children. Gregory Baesch wrestled in Dundalk this November against another 4-year-old, 45-pound wrestler. He wrestled three periods and lost the match. He came of the mat smiling.
His comment was, "Mommy, I had fun!"
It was only later when someone asked him how he did wrestling that he turned to his mother and asked, "Mom, did I win or lose?"