Perry wrestling making a call out to the community

Cesar J. Toledo - Sports Correspondent

The proverb, “it takes a village,” is being put into practice after a message appeared on the Perry Bluejays Wrestling’s Facebook page.

With the season set to kick off on Nov. 30, practice is already underway with current and prospective wrestlers beginning their daily workouts this Monday.

The Nov. 11, post by head coach Mark Weber serves as a call for a all current/former wrestling parents and wrestlers to come together for the good of the program.

“The main goal of the post is to secure a good supply of used shoes (and headgear) that kids can use and donate back again once they are done using them and have grown out of the shoes,” Weber said. “Wrestlers are expected to return the equipment at the end of each season so that it is efficiently available for the next group.”

Various people from around Perry, and around the state, some from Weber’s hometown, have contacted the coach about donating. So a big thank you to them, said the head coach.

“In the Perry community, there are dozens of young boys and girls who would like to start wrestling but are not able to purchase wrestling shoes for the season,” Weber wrote in the post. “If anyone has extra shoes or ones that no longer fit (any size, big or small), the kids in our community would benefit greatly from your generosity.”

In total Weber posed six questions ranging from, if you had ever been part of a wrestling team, to what if you would’ve joined?

“What role did the sport of wrestling play in your life? How important was wrestling to get you to where you are at in your life today? If you had never wrestled, would your life look any different?”

The second set of questions urges the individuals to look deep into themselves and ponder if you would take an opportunity to help a child in need.

“Now apply those questions to the life of a young boy or girl? If you had one opportunity to significantly impact a child’s life, would you take the chance? Would you accept the offer, or turn it down? If we want to change the world, let’s start with one child at a time.”

Currently the post has been shared once and received just 10 likes so it seems as if the Bluejays’ head coach and the team has seen a significant impact.

The practice of donating equipment like shoes is something very familiar to the Perry High School and athletic director Tom Lipovac.

For several seasons we visit several of our sports teams and put the word out for anyone looking to donate shoes, especially after their career has come to a close, said Lipovac.

“We have had a similar practice in football, where a supply of lightly used shoes are available for reissue,” he said. “It has worked well for football. We have had occasions in Track & Field also, with spikes being donated.”

People interested in donating can comment on the post or message Weber directly, according to the message.

“Myself, my coaching staff, and the Junior Jay board is always working year round to recruit young boys and girls and help them to develop an interest in the sport,” Weber said. “We do this predominantly through face-to-face interaction with teaching, coaching other sports, out in the community, etc. We want the kids to know that we can be great mentors for them to learn from.”

The donations will go along way according to Weber who is happy to see how great the sport is doing at the school and throughout the community.

“Our numbers are still very healthy at the HS level with almost 40 wrestlers and a wrestler at all 14 weights,” he said. “At the MS level, we have around 20-25 boys and girls out (there are 7 girls out right now, which is amazing for them and for the sport of wrestling - girl’s wrestling is on the rise in Perry). I would like to see the MS numbers grow closer to a consistent 30 but it is a work in progress.”