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Why legalization is a huge mistake
I'm not one who wades into the political spectrum very often. However, Ohio's vote on the legalization of marijuana, is a subject that is near and dear to my heart.

I'm not one who wades into the political spectrum very often. However, Ohio's vote on the legalization of marijuana, is a subject that is near and dear to my heart.

As a trainer of athletes throughout the past several decades, I have seen athletes…really good athletes…fall by the wayside more often than I’d like to remember.  The 3 vices that bring down wrestlers the most, and cause them to fall short of their goals, are: 
  • Wine
  • Women
  • Drugs

Let's take a closer look at each of these.


Drinking alcohol is already illegal for those under the age of 21, and the effects have been well documented. Drinking can lead to poor conditioning, impaired judgement, accidents, greatly decreased athletic ability and a host of other issues. There aren't many people who need convincing that alcohol use is a bad decision for youngsters.


Ask yourself how many times you've skipped a workout because of a significant other. Having a serious girlfriend can have serious consequences for an athlete. His focus shifts to something other than the task at hand. Anytime I see a wrestler holding hands with a girl at a wrestling meet, I know he's not focused on the meet. In life, it is imperative that we prioritize. Young athletes struggle to prioritize, especially when it comes to the opposite sex.


While the above two are well-known, the third one is the only one on the ballot in Ohio, where the state is considering legalization.

While much of the emphasis has been on medical marijuana, recreational marijuana would also become legal.

The True Story you must read

For those who argue that pot is a “harmless" drug, allow me to share with you this true story…

Years ago there was a young man who trained with me… came to camps, as well as my club. Had an edge to him but I liked him and enjoyed working with him. He was a likable, gregarious, outgoing young man.

As many athletes come and go, he did as well. I didn't hear much about him until about a year after his graduation…

That's when I saw his obituary in the paper.

A call to his coach told me the rest of the story…

He had started smoking pot early in high school, and continued after graduation. He slowly drifted, losing interest in everything in his life, except getting high.

They found his body next to the train tracks. They weren't sure how long he'd been there – perhaps 3 days. He was 19 years old.

A gateway drug

Marijuana is a 'gateway' drug…it often leads to the use of harder drugs. While I am well aware that many people smoke pot, lead constructive lives, and manage to do fine in life, there's no question that it has a dulling effect on the senses, causing one to care less about goals, plans, and life in general. And I know from personal experience the effect it can have on a young person. Quite frankly, in the position I am in, I have seen many athletes ruined by pot use. Too many to ever convince me it is a harmless recreational endeavor.

Here's my biggest concern with the legalization of pot…It condones use of drugs and it sends the wrong message to our young people. Even if the voters reject the legalization of pot, just having it on the ballot tells our young people that, on some level, we condone its use and don't think it is harmful. That's not the message we should be sending.

If you don't agree with me, that's fine. If you don't believe me, ask the mother, or the father, of a young person who died from the use of drugs, whether their child ever smoked pot. I can be pretty sure what their answer will be.