Letter to the editor: To those offended by the “pin chain”

Courtesy Photo (Meagan Lasiter)
The DCHS cheerleaders pose with the wrestlers who won by pin during the home dual against Wilbur-Clatonia. The "pin chain" was passed five times that night.

Tahner Thiem, DCHS Wrestling Coach

First of all, I would like to thank everyone that came out to support the David City wrestling team’s first home dual against Wilber-Clatonia on Thursday night.  As usual, the home dual was well-attended by students, staff, and community members.  Please know the wrestlers recognized your attendance and have a respect for you that you may not understand.  

It has been brought to my attention that the pin chain has come across as gloating, unsportsmanlike, and maybe even arrogant.  Know that these were not the intentions of the pin chain when the David City wrestling staff decided to create one.  The intentions were and are much more meaningful than a heavy duty gold chain with a red and black interlocking DC being placed around a wrestler’s neck after a win via pin. 

To those unfamiliar with how the TEAM aspect of a wrestling dual or tournament is scored, let me explain it to you. In a dual, a wrestler winning by decision (0-7 points) scores 3 points for their team.  A wrestler winning a match by 8-14 points collects 4 points for their team, and a wrestler winning by technical fall or 15 or more collects 5 points. A pin or fall is the ultimate and is worth six points. In a tournament format, a major decision is worth 1 point, a technical fall is worth 1.5 points, and a fall is worth 2 points.  

In my seven years as David City’s head wrestling coach, I have witnessed duals won and lost by one to two points. I have also seen one to two point tournament championships.  In 2014, the David City wrestling team won their first State Championship since 1984 by ONE POINT over O’Neill High School (125-124). One point was the difference in Dustin Papa not giving up a pin to eventual champion Joseph Gillam from O’Neill in the opening round of the State tournament.  One point was the difference in Wyatt Phillips and Trevor Fozzard pinning their way through the consolation rounds to high State tournament medals.  As I reflected on my coaching philosophy following the 2014 state tournament, I knew one thing was for certain: David City’s wrestling program would do anything within reason to collect pins.

Pinning record boards have been added, and stories have been told in the wrestling room about the importance of pins and the ultimate bonus points awarded with a pin. Still, some of the best wrestlers still struggle with wanting “techs” over pins.  Some wrestlers believe that a technical fall is more of a dominant win than a pin.  It is not uncommon for me to hear, “Technical falls impress more people, Coach.  Anyone can get lucky and catch someone in a pinning combination.” My answer is usually, “You are right.  The beauty of our sport is you can catch anyone at anytime, and that is why we will battle for six minutes no matter the score. However, if Trevor Fozzard and Wyatt Phillips would have decided to collect technical falls on their way back through the consolation bracket, we would not have collected a State Championship in 2014.  WINNING BY PIN IS PUTTING THE TEAM FIRST!”

As I sat in the center coaching chair on Thursday night, I couldn’t help but smile at how well the pin chain was received. I witnessed wrestlers smile from ear to ear while they received the pin chain ,and fans clapped for them (on our side of the mat as directed).  I witnessed teammates cheering and talking about who the next pin chain recipient was going to be, and I also had one athlete apologize to me for collecting a technical fall rather than a pin for his team after the dual.  

Next time you see the David City pin chain, don’t associate it with the Miami Hurricanes nor Ohio State Buckeyes. Associate the pin chain with a student-athlete that has chosen to put his team over the recognition of himself. Go Scouts!  

Sincerely,

Tahner Thiem

DCHS Head Wrestling Coach