Ethos Clash

Leo’s wrestle coach seems to want to pick a fight!


Probably because I’m a Brit and rather attached to the principles of fair play and encouraging your friends. His view is that “you gotta be number 1!” and therefore, by definition, better than your friends. Leo’s view, shared by Chris and his other friends is that you want the whole group to be top notch and so you encourage each other… if you master some new technique your job is then to help the others to do the same.

He gets this from me (I hope!) and it has rubbed off on his friends, but it is seen as “not American”. It is not good enough, apparently, to want the whole wrestle team at High School to be brilliant – although I’m sure the coach does want that – but he thinks excellence can only come from wanting to be better than everyone else in that team, which I just can’t agree with. It is not how we have ever worked.

Add to this Leo’s distaste (also from Dave and I) for team games like (American) football, baseball and basketball, and you can see why Leo (and now Chris and the rest) have started to earn the contempt of their coaches despite being brilliantly fit, dedicated weight trainers, acrobats, circus stars…

jeans wrestle

I guess this is all our fault, really. And this little rant is prompted by the phone call I received complaining about ‘all of the above’ along with supporting submission wrestling rather than collegiate, which means that the boys like training shirtless and use moves they shouldn’t!


Oh dear. Have we blighted their school sporting careers for ever? Do hope not. Guess it is all going to be a bit of a fight…



3 way in fight barn

This guy also implied that I cannot be a very good gymnastics coach if I do not instil this American ethos into my students.



This guy is such a contract to most excellent and much lamented Andy, who was around when Dave and I made a brief appearance at that school 15 years ago, and encouraged acrobatics at our request. Happy days – all written about in Loving the Boy and The Power of Love. Written about alongside finding gay love, discovering circus, and all that other stuff (and available in e-books too if you don’t like turning pages. Part three is more of an adventure – Against All Odds.

After fuming for a while after the phone call, and getting Dave to inflict some punishment on me to make me calm down (!), I asked Leo if he thinks I am wrecking his school sporting career – what with that and having gay parents. A big kiss and then he attempts to throw me to the floor. He’s getting stronger by the day (nearly 14)… he’ll do!

OK. Rant over. Some additional pictures for you now, starting with some ‘play’ acrobatics:



(best use for a parking meter)

…some open-air resistance training…



…and, inevitably, back inside in the gym…



Enjoy being fit, and sharing the success with your mates!

musl_hangin around


About tonycavanagh

Born Northampton UK; school Oxford UK and Oak Ridge Tennessee, where I met my wonderful partner Dave, also from UK. Oak Ridge is our main training base for acrobatics and circus stuff, but we also established a base in Wales (UK) to serve us when we are working in Europe. Our 'story', of finding gay love, learning the acrobatics trade and then of how we got shot at during our show (and worse was to follow - just to prove that the risks of being an acrobat are not always the most obvious ones!) are now available in my three books 'Loving the Boy', 'The Power of Love' and 'Against All Odds'. Links available on most blog posts. Actually, waiting for the imminent arrival of the first printed copies was far scarier than anything we do in performance. A fourth book - not about us but exploring the sadness of a gay Native American boy denied his true identity - is currently with an agent for evaluation. watch for 'Let The Future Find Me' in due time. And now to book five... another boy, another quest... seems its always boys...
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2 Responses to Ethos Clash

  1. Mike Evans says:

    It might be worth asking the coach what the schools policy states with respect to encouraging students to work together, or does the policy state “free for all”, and how does this fit into teaching best practice?

    After all, in the engineering industry, it is extremely rare that one person is the sole driver of a successful project. The biggest successes are huge team efforts, where loads of people do their utmost, and teach each other the secrets of their success…

    Yes, we should strive to be the best, but not to the extent that we push away our colleagues and friends.

    In MMA, we all train together, but in the ring “may the best man win”.
    Even the least capable in training has something to add.

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