Young Abe Wrestlers program teaches children


Physical Education Teacher Mr. Yeager worked with two participants in the Young Abes wrestling Program last fall. The program continues under Yeager’s leadership for a third year. MHS Purple Wings file photo.

Zaria Whitacre, Reporter

Memorial physical education teacher, Mr. Yeager, sponsors the Young Abe Wrestlers program, which allows children to get a feel for wrestling while having a blast. Young Abe Wrestlers has children not necessarily learning “the moves,” but spacial awareness and learning how their body moves on the mat and among other wrestlers. Those are the things that make a good wrestler according to Mr. Yeager.

In previous years there have been upwards of 80 participants in Young Abe Wrestlers, but this year Mr. Yeager started the program earlier on the school calendar. This was to invest time on children who truly want to focus on wrestling and hopefully will be a part of the program on a high school level in the future. “The timing was to get a feel that these were the ones that were truly dedicated to wrestling rather than the 88 last year who focused on hockey and basketball as well,” Yeager said.

“If the parents are on board and care, you’ll have a successful program. We can only give kids so much in a 45-minute window, it’s up to the parents to go over it with them and make it a game.” Yeager himself didn’t begin wrestling until his freshman year in high school saying he was intimidated by the aggressiveness of the sport. But making it a game was important for him to appreciate the sport as it is now when he leads the Young Abe Wrestlers program. “The number one goal is to allow kids to have fun. The kids keep coming back and they’re rolling around learning skills that they wouldn’t otherwise.”

Yeager goes on to say, “It (wrestling) builds a lot of willpower and confidence and teaches you to push past your limits or what you think your limits are. When I went to Iraq there were a lot of stressful situations and my mental toughness, which I attribute to wrestling, helped.” And when asked if he has high hopes for his young children to enter the world of wrestling he responds, “My son isn’t quite two, and he’s already walking around in a stance. If he wants to, he’ll do it. I’ll lead him towards it, but allow for him to do what he wants.”

Finally, the most important thing Mr. Yeager wants everyone to know is that the program is completely free and you can come out any time. Young Abe Wrestlers meets Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Memorial High School in the wrestling room.

Yeager advocated for his program saying, “Try it out and you won’t lose a dollar. And if you love it, you’re welcome back. We’re always looking for wrestlers.”