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Posted August 27, 2013
Posted March 30, 2011
4 days to glory
The author of "Four Days to Glory" writes of the struggle and endurance of Jay Borschel and Dan LeClere. Both are senior boys who live a rural life yet look to win their consecutive fourth win at state champions; a triumph only fourteen other Iowans had accomplished. Given the boys luck, nerves, injuries and adolescent bodies, this was a nearly impossible achievement. LeClere and Borschel embrace on a journey "right on through hell, an extended stay replete with wind sprints and projectile vomiting and blood and contortionist acts and stinging, salty sweat."
The "four timers" are an elite group of high school wrestlers who win four consecutive state championships. There are many people who doubt Jay Borschel yet he feeds off of criticism and doubt. A fourth time victory would mean justification that his doubting peers will have been wrong. For Dan on the other hand, the dreams of his stern father and the burdens he carriers from his diminutive farming community, a win is only a necessary outcome.
Many of the details from the novel are quite familiar to me as I have been wrestling since I was young. The way which the author, Mark Kreidler, creates clear images of the wrestling room, the mentality of the wrestlers and the matches they took part in all were vivid seemed natural to me. Both Jay and Dan have different mentalities to overcoming their triumphs compared to the rest of the team. They both appeared to have difficulty in finding quality sparring partner which I have found to be a challenge for myself. There were countless aspects in Kreidler's writings that I could relate to which made the novel even more inspiring and touching.
For me, the most interesting part of the book was Jay's and Dan's family lives. Their lives outside of school completely affected their performance as wrestlers. I have never been able to relate to such characters so easily and can understand how their family life does take a toll on their wrestling. Yet, back on the matt the boys dealt with the issues wrestling brought upon their bodies such as a stunted growth due to weight loss and cauliflower ear. As I take wrestling to heart, I appreciated Kreidler's attention in his writing to the effects which wrestling can have on one's life. Cutting weight has always been a difficulty for me yet the mental and physical achievements from the sport push me to do so.
However, Kreidler tended to have several of his facts wrong within the novel. This became an annoyance to me as I felt he did not do the research he should have in writing a wrestling book. For example, what was especially impressive from Dan's match in the championship was not that he won all of his matches, but that no one had scored against him. His careless mistakes became a distraction to me.
Although Mark Kreidler made some mistakes within his writings, his novel was overall very relatable and kept me interested page after page. It was refreshing to find a book which I could compare my own sport life to and the effects it has on the wrestler. As I am extremely passionate about my wrestling, I found that Dan and Jay's journey on the way to a state championship became an inspiration to me.
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