On March 4th, Santa Monica High School wrestling coach Mark Black drew national attention for subduing and restraining a high school student in his classroom. The student was arrested for possession of drugs on a school campus, possession of a weapon, and battery; while an additional student was also arrested for battery. Much of the incident was caught on cellphone video, went viral, and soon made it's way to local and national television. The video clearly showed Coach Black grabbing a single leg, changing to a double, and holding one boy down while waiting for security. Coach Black was struck several times with fist and a sharp pencil. Coach Black was put on suspension pending an investigation. From the information that is currently out there, Coach Black told the student that he cannot sell drugs on campus and to knock it off, when he took action to stop it he was struck, and when he restrained the student from hurting him or other students he was suspended.
From the public support that Coach Black has received so far, it would seem that he will be cleared of any wrong doing. Hopefully he will be publicly acknowledged for doing what he knew was the right thing.
This incident really got me thinking about what it takes to do what you know is the right thing, even when it is difficult. It takes courage. There are few places on the planet that develop that type of courage and we are extremely fortunate to be part of a community where that is fostered. Courage is found daily on the MAT! While wrestling at the University of Oklahoma we were running 8 miles a day as part of our two a day practice. Hall of Fame coach Stan Abel professed to us that beyond the conditioning benefits we would find courage during those runs. The courage to finish the takedown or go beyond our physical and mental limits, because of the work that we had already done. We earned the courage to do the difficult.
One more shinning life example of how mat time, teammates, and coaches are so much more than just a sport. My hat is off to Coach Mark Black for his 30 years of high school and club team coaching, Veteran's National Championship title, and the courage he displayed to do what he knew to be right. Thanks Mark for your contribution to the wrestling community.
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