Flag Waving



I have never considered myself a collector, but over the years I have accumulated, without trying, a mass of belts, books, medals, cuttings and images all linked to wrestling. From April 1875 I have a cutting from the Illustrated London News of the big annual Good Friday wrestling event at Lilliebridge. The yellowing engraving shows a vast crowd of spectators in a distant grandstand, in the foreground a small crowd of officials with top-hats and long coats, and between both groups, two wrestlers taking hold.
A wrestling final at Lillie-bridge London in 1875

According to Max Carlyle of Poulton-le-Fylde that picture contains elements that should be replicated in the modern wrestling ring.

When the world was young, I used to see Max each year at Egremont Crab Fair, where he used to renew family connections and take part in the wrestling. Over the years he has maintained his interest in the sport and each year I see him at the edge of the ring at Ambleside Sports. He "receives The Cumberland News each week, always a week late, but it keeps me in touch with who is doing what in the wrestling at the shows over the year." Always a measured, thoughtful man, his opinions on the sport are always worth hearing.
He wishes to improve the clarity of the sport for spectators, and particularly the decision making by the judges and referee, and to do this he suggests that we look back to the Eighteenth Century when at Big wrestling events each wrestler was colour coded, wearing a red or green arm-band. Each judge was furnished with corresponding flags to be held aloft to indicate his decision, and the referee has coloured cloths in his hands to show the final result.

"Is this the move forward for the sport? It was good enough two hundred years ago. It will prove a more fair and transparent way of decisions to both wrestlers and spectators alike."

He lists the advantages he sees:
1 The MC will name wrestler and Colour.
2 Judges: no shouting and no talking required at all.
3 A judge's decision will be very easy to understand from the spectator's point of view
4 A wrestler will be able to immediately see a decision.
5 Would this old way of giving decisions not add to the atmosphere, colour, and splendour of the occasion?

"What about a trial at a small show? Max Carlyle Ltd to sponsor all costs"

Of course there are other arguments and opinions on the subject, but when an elder statesman of the sport has his say, it behoves us to listen and consider well.

Written by © Roger Robson ..... Photographs by © Roger Robson, Julian Richardson or Linda Scott (2013).

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