Both Tony Dungy(former Indianapolis Colts Head Coach) and Mike Zimmer(current Minnesota Vikings Head Coach) laud the positive long-term impacts of wrestling.
“I think one of the things that wrestling helped teach me and I try to teach our players is that no matter how tired and how fatigued you are, you still have to compete,” Zimmer says.
As a University of Minnesota alumnus and former star quarterback, Dungy remembers the training intensity of Gopher wrestling greats like Pat Neu and Larry Zilverberg.
“I always remember as a freshman in the dorms, the wrestlers worked just as hard as we did, but they sacrificed beyond practice with their weight, not only to be better, but also to make the team better,” Dungy explains. “Those were great lessons for me as an 18-year-old.”
These lessons aren’t limited to the football field or any other single sport. They carry value in all facets of life—in the classroom, at work, or raising a family.
That’s why Zimmer urges kids to wrestle.
“I think you learn more from wrestling than any other sport,” Zimmer says. “You find out so much more about yourself and about competition. When it gets down to it, it’s you and the guy across from you. When I was wrestling, for the six minutes that you’re out there, it is one of the toughest, most demanding sports that I’ve ever been around. I think guys that can go through that and compete with all the different things going on, it really defines who you are.”