Opinion: A Certified Nerd’s Newfound Appreciation for Wrestling

Christopher “CJ” Krum, St. Johns junior, in his match against Olivet on Feb. 1. This is the second wrestling meet that the author attended in their discovery of the excitement of wrestling (Photo courtesy of Marissa Smego).

I’ve never cared about watching sports. I played a few, badly, in elementary and middle school, but even then I couldn’t care less about watching them. In high school, I didn’t go to any games or meets because we didn’t even have sports teams. 

I am in no way a jock: I avoid exercise at all costs, as well as big crowds. My idea of fun is curling up with a mug of hot chocolate and watching the little people on my computer play Dungeons and Dragons.

I didn’t attend any Albion sporting events until this fall when I attended the homecoming football game with my best friend. I had promised I’d go with them – and I wanted to be able to say that I had gone to at least one sporting event while I was in college. 

We were there for 30 minutes before I convinced them to leave with me – I was so bored, and the heat didn’t help.

I attended my second Albion sporting event a few weeks ago with the same friend, but instead of a football game, we went to a wrestling match. My friend has a class with one of the wrestlers, St. Johns junior Christopher “CJ” Krum. It seemed right to attend the first wrestling meet of the semester to support him. 

Krum’s been wrestling since he was five years old when his family got a flier in the mail about a youth wrestling club. 

“From there, I just fell in love with it,” Krum said. 

Krum preps for a match by listening to music, bouncing around and pumping himself up, adding that success is all about self-confidence.

“I’m constantly telling myself ‘you got this, just let it fly,’” Krum said. 

I went with my friend to watch Krum’s match; since he was the last one on the team to wrestle, we stayed for the whole meet. To my surprise, it was a blast. I had much more fun watching wrestling than I’ve ever had watching other sports. 

Why? Because it’s fun to watch people fight. 

Human beings are entertained by conflict and combat: we watch action and fantasy movies with drawn-out fight scenes, eavesdrop on couples arguing in public and gather around a brawl breaking out in the parking lot. There is something both thrilling and safe about watching a fight you aren’t a part of.

The meet was intense; while I knew it was just for sport, every match felt like a fight to the death. 

Some matches were up to eight minutes long, with the opponents seeming well-matched in strength and skill. Sometimes that would mean they stayed in the same position for a long time, neither one able to move the other. Other times it was back and forth, opponents switching between being the grappler and the grapplee. 

Some matches were short; these were especially exciting. During the first meet we went to, Krum’s match was like the grand finale. The match lasted about a minute, ending when Krum flipped his foe straight onto their back. It was awesome. 

I can engage in watching wrestling in a way I’ve never been able to when watching other sports. Football, for example, is impossible for me to understand. There are lines on the field that mean different things, the players have specific job titles, they stop the game every ten seconds and they’re trying to get the ball through a big tuning fork. 

Compared to that, wrestling is very simple. You only have to look at two guys, they’re very close together, there’s no ball to keep track of and the rules are pretty intuitive. My friend knew some rules from Krum, and the other stuff was easy to pick up on:

If our guy gets on top of the other guy, that’s good. If he can get the guy flat on his back, that’s really good. If our guy’s in a hold, that’s bad, but if he gets out of it, that’s a point. 

That is the extent of my knowledge of the rules of wrestling. It reminds me of combat in Dungeons and Dragons, actually. 

The enemies make opposed strength checks; one of them wins by grappling the other or knocking them prone. As a nerd, that’s how my brain processed what I saw – I wasn’t watching a sport, I was watching live-action role-play. 

I think nerds often believe that there’s nothing in sports that will appeal to us, but that’s not true. Fantasy nerds are all about battles and duels, and that’s basically what all sports are. I’m not into football, but I can acknowledge that those are warriors in full plate armor, battling for the glory of their kingdom. I once watched a joust at a Renaissance fair, and wrestling feels a lot like that – a noble duel.

So, to my fellow nerds: the next time you’re trapped in the living room while football is on, or your friends drag you to a volleyball game, try to look at it from a different perspective. Imagine both football teams are after an ancient relic – the ball – and the order of benevolent wizards is trying to keep this powerful magical object out of the hands of the forces of evil. 

It could be fun; you never know. 

I would recommend attending a wrestling match to all Albion students, nerds and non-nerds alike. If you do come to a meet, Krum says to get ready to be loud, since the cheers of the crowd are impactful during a match. 

“If something happens and the whole crowd goes nuts, it’s a really big swinging momentum towards us,” Krum said. 

Whether you like sports, movies or board games, the thrill of wrestling can appeal to anyone. 

“Be ready for the highs, be ready for the lows,” Krum said. “The momentum is going to swing, but it’s definitely an experience you don’t want to miss.

About Jocelyn Kincaid-Beal 6 Articles
Jocelyn Kincaid-Beal is a sophomore from Ann Arbor, Michigan. They are an English major who's interested in all types of writing, and are exploring their options through being an editor of the Albion Review and a volunteer writer on the Pleiad. Contact Jocelyn via email at JAK17@albion.edu.

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