Jordan Burroughs is widely considered to be pound-for-pound the best wrestler in the world (currently competing). He is a 2011 world champion and a 2012 Olympic champion, but more importantly he hasn’t been beaten for a long long time, and he had to face some of the baddest dudes on the planet. No one has been able to stop his double leg.
Enter Kyle Dake, a 4-time NCAA champion in 4 different weight classes, and widely considered to be one of the greatest college wrestlers of all time. He graduated college this year, and started making a transition to freestyle and the international scene. If anyone could stop Jordan Burroughs it would be Kyle Dake. The two were set to clash at the 2013 Wrestling World Team Trials…
The match starts at the 3:40 mark in the video. Don’t blink, the destruction is quick and seemingly effortless.
This match is very relatable to me. I think many competitors have been there from beginner to NCAA champ. Several times in my life, after going undefeated for a sequence of tournaments in my own little corner of the world, I would step up one rung in the ladder to another level and was forced to face someone who is (for me) still beatable but with just another level of speed, power, and technique. It’s like when you switch in the Madden game from the Rookie difficult level to the Pro one. You can still win, but it’s damn hard; you have to be focused and put everything you have physically and mentally into the match. As Dake said in an interview afterwards, in this match he was simply not ready for the speed and power that hit him like a train from the very start.
The second match starts again at the 3:40 mark in the video.
And this match represents everything I strive for in competition. I don’t care about winning in an abstract sense, I care about stepping up against guys that are (on paper) better than me, and giving them the kind of match that breaks them, refusing to back down, and ultimately winning.
Beating the Odds
I’m competing this weekend (and next two weekends after that), and am likely to face at least one such opponent. I look forward to that. When I step on the mat, all fear and doubt are gone. Most of my life I spend doing relaxed nerd things like programming, learning, teaching, and writing research papers, but every once in a while I get a chance to step into a place I’m deeply uncomfortable in, and prove that I can handle the challenge.
Then after all the wrastlin’, exhausted but happy, I’ll be off to celebrate my brother’s birthday over some vodka and good food.