BRIDGEPORT, W.Va.-The Meadowbrook Mall was filled with young wrestlers and their families on Saturday for the very first Brawl at the Mall event where coaches say they were happy to be shedding light on what they call an underrated sport
Youth wrestlers ages 4-12 from several organizations wrestled their way through a series of matches throughout the day at the event. Bridgeport Youth Wrestling organizers say they needed a bigger space to fit all participants.
“The high school was always packed with basketball, volleyball around this time of year, so we weren’t able to locate the school or get it in, so basically we called the mall knowing there was space open.,” said Bridgeport Youth Wrestling coach Shawn Taylor.
While wrestling does not attract as much attention as some other sports, coaches say they wanted to put on this tournament to show the valuable lessons it can teach athletes from an early age.
“A lot of people think wrestling is this grueling sport that everybody gets hurt all the time. That’s not exactly what it is. It actually teaches a lot about everything and it helps them out in other sports. You can talk to a number of football coaches and they will say that they’d rather have a lot of wrestlers on their football line because of balance,” said Taylor.
More than 400 wrestlers showed up to participate, surpassing the original goal organizers had in mind.
“400 was what we needed to break even; we bought a lot for this stuff. A lot of computers, TVs, but now we’re set up for set up for our next two tournaments next year we’re going to run,” said Taylor.
Coaches say the next tournament will most likely be held at the end of this year.