BY MATT MENCARINI | STAFF WRITER
I don’t know how Greg Schwartz does it.
He coached football and wrestling at Seabreeze for 16 years before stepping down as the head coach of the latter, after receiving a promotion to assistant principal at South Daytona Elementary School.
He also happens to be the president of the Ormond Beach Pop Warner program. And if that weren't enough, he runs a wrestling club for kindergarten through eighth-graders in the Ormond Beach area.
The club is his way of trying to turn Ormond into a wrestling “powerhouse,” which he says would be possible with a little city support and funding (for wrestling mats and training space).
But that has its obstacle
“It’s tough,”Schwartz said. “There’s not a lot of people that have wrestled in the area. We’re not in Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, you live and breathe wrestling.”
In places like Pennsylvania and Iowa, wrestling is as big as baseball, football or basketball, and wrestling teams are stocked with freshman who have wrestled for years.
Here, wrestling seems to take a backseat. And Schwartz wants to change that.
Most of the wrestlers in his club are third-, fourth- and fifth-graders, although he also has one wrestler in seventh grade, and a pair of brothers who are 5 years old.
“Really, with that group, it’s more having fun and playing,” Schwartz. “When they’re in the room, it’s keeping it fun because they're 5 (years old).”
But isn’t that the best way to develop a child in any sport?
I can’t remember not having fun playing baseball, soccer, football or basketball when I was younger. I don’t think I would’ve kept playing if my first experience wasn't about learning and enjoying the game.
If the wrestling club sounds like something you or your child might be interested in, or if you think you could help in any way, send Schwartz an email: [email protected].
I, for one, think the more youth sports programs focusing on fundamentals and fun, the better for the athletes and the community.
Plus, youth programs produce the future high school stars.