Editorial: Grappling with success

Pigeon Forge wrestlers came close, but they’re champs in our book
Feb. 06, 2013 @ 11:43 PM

Outside of the death of a loved one, there must be few things as heartbreaking as coming so very close to reaching your dream, achieving your goal, winning a title.

One can only imagine the disappointment and pain experienced by the members of the Pigeon Forge wrestling team. They finished second in the state for the third straight year, losing last weekend to Greeneville by two points. The wrestlers had made a sparking and dramatic comeback to get close to the win, but it wasn’t meant to be.

And so the team drove back from Franklin dejected. At least for a little while. Kids have a remarkable capacity to adapt and adjust. At some point on the bus ride back, they probably began to come out of it, to reminisce about the successes and the triumphs, to remember the fun times and funny times, and put the whole season in perspective.

It is remarkable that little Pigeon Forge, known more for tourists than athletics, can put together a sports team of such skill that it can be right there on the verge of a state championship for so many years. Many may think of wrestling in terms of what the brutes do on the so-called professional, gimmicky level. Amateur wrestling is rooted in skill, not theatrics. It requires tremendous strength and endurance as well as talent and self-sacrifice. These guys don’t draw the crowds or the attention that other sports do, so they are motivated by their own personal desire to win.

Wrestling has a place for the 110-pounder as well as the 250-pounder. You can’t say that about most team sports. Wrestling is where someone not talented in ball sports can find a home and excel. It helps to have a coach with special skills, as well. That describes Greg Foreman, who is teacher, counselor, coach, friend and, when he has to be, chief critic. Pigeon Forge would not succeed in this sport without someone like Foreman to guide the team.

So the Tigers didn’t win the state championship. That’s a disappointment, to be sure, But they took second, and there are dozens of schools throughout this state that would have even loved a shot at the title. Maybe the team members should remember this: They made it to the finals. They had their chance. They came up short, but so did every team left in their wake.

Congratulations, Pigeon Forge wrestlers. Success is not always measured in trophies. By almost any standard, you are successful. And this community thinks of you as champs.