Gods Walking with Men
In all early cultures gods and men interacted. The story behind this picture by Titian starts with Theseus, who was the son of Aegeus, King of Athens. Theseus went to Crete to kill the Minotaur, who lived in the Labyrinth and dined on Athenian youths. The Labyrinth was built by Daedalus and Icarus under the orders of King Minos (how did they escape and who flew too close to the sun?). Theseus got help in his quest to kill the Minotaur from Ariadne, who was the daughter of King Minos. She gave Theseus string so he could find his way out of the Labyrinth after killing the Minotaur. Ariadne ran off with Theseus, but when they were sailing home they stopped at the Island of Naxos, where the god Dionysus (also called Bacchus) claimed Ariadne as his wife.
When you look at this picture think about keeping your feet on the ground, and don’t turn your back on your opponent (except during some throws when good technique may require turning your back).
Abraham is considered to be the original founder of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. One day his god told him to kill his son. Abraham meekly went about doing what he was told (note that in another story Abraham argued with his god to spare the few good people of Sodom and Gomorrah). When Abraham was ready to kill Isaac an angel (what is an angel?) held back Abraham’s hand, and a ram that was conveniently caught in a nearby bush was sacrificed instead. Some anthropologists say that this story is merely a parable about when people stopped making human sacrifices.
Elements of this story have a Greek equivalent. Agamemnon was advised that he would have to sacrifice his daughter, Iphiginia, before the proper winds would blow to allow the Greeks to sail to Troy (to rescue Helen from Paris and the Trojans). After much deliberation he agreed to sacrifice her, but at the last minute a goddess appeared and replaced the daughter with a ram.
As wrestlers you must make sacrifices, but you must not sacrifice either school work, wrestling practices, or chores at home.
Rembrandt – Jacob and the Angel (1660)
Abraham’s son Isaac became the father of Esau and Jacob. They wrestled together in the womb of their mother, Rebecca. Jacob was the younger brother but through trickery he acquired Esau’s “birthright” and the blessing of the old blind Isaac. Jacob then had to escape his brother’s wrath. He went back to Mesopotamia, but eventually returned with his two wives.
The night before Jacob was to meet his brother for the first time in many years he met an angel and had the world’s most famous wrestling match. They battled to a draw. The scene has been painted many times by many famous artists. Jacob had twelve sons, including Joseph (the owner of the coat of many colours), who became the number-two in command in Egypt.
In Rembrandt’s version of Jacob and the Angel we question whether Rembrandt knew anything about freestyle wrestling. Unless of course Abraham has just shot an inside single and was caught at the moment he switched to a double. To see a video on following through and finishing your attack click here.
Gods and mortals often mated to produce a “hero.” Zeus and Alcmena produced Hercules. Thetis and Peleus produced Achilles. Zeus and Semele produced Bacchus (he was elevated to the status of an immortal by helping the Olympians in the battle of the Titans). Zeus and Danae produced Perseus, who became famous for cutting off the head of Medusa and for rescuing Andromeda. Zeus came to Danae as a shower of gold. Looks like free money. If you want to see how you might get free money click here.
Wrestlers don’t have to think about gold (or silver or bronze). Just think about improving “technique”, and the medals will look after themselves. To hear what Coach Thomas has to say about this subject click here.
An angel told Mary that a god would father her child. When this happened to a woman in Greek mythology she usually figured it out for herself.
Wrestlers could use some angels and demons of their own. A little angel on your left shoulder to tell you when you have done a good takedown, and a little demon on your right shoulder to bite your ear when you do a lousy one (usually caused by using a swimmer’s head-down diving technique rather than a wrestler’s technique).
Many wrestlers aren’t quite sure if God exists or not. To hear what a clever mathematician named Pascal had to say about it click here.