Words to live by are also words to live by

January 24, 2006|by BOB PARASILITI

When it comes down to it, words are just like coupons.

Most aren't worth the paper they are printed on, but if used properly, they make sense (cents).

OK, that's a weak analogy. But words are really held in low regard.

Remember, talk is cheap.

If you give an opinion, you are only putting in your two cents' worth.

Enough about my salary now. Actions speak louder than words.

Ahhh, action is where it's at.

In sports, action means everything.

It's not what you say, it's what you do. That's why all the jawing and verbal jabs during most games is called "trash talking." None of that garbage means much. They are all throwaway words.


Sports like football and wrestling have a language all their own. Actions are created from words of beliefs.

Football and wrestling could be considered two "war game" sports. They are like physically climbing on your Risk gameboard to try and conquer your little corner of the world. In both, athletes are out to physically overpower and mentally outwit the opponent into some form of submission.

Now, here's a place where talk has some value. A well-turned phrase can be the root of motivation.

Football classics are "Do it for the Gipper," and some rambling soliloquy about wandering through the Valley of Darkness.

But wrestling, there's a sport that uses words to set goals and motivate each individual to success.

Walking around at North Hagerstown at the recent Hub Cup tournament was an education. If wrestling is considered a form of hand-to-hand combat, wrestlers use quotations to get an upperhand.

All you had to do was read the T-shirts some of the competitors were wearing to understand. The words of kings of industry, military masters, famous coaches and extraordinary wrestlers - and even cocky and confident claims - were emblazoned on cotton pullover shirts as words to remember and warnings for opponents to get out of the way.

They were mantras of invincibility while also reminders of what kind of effort it takes to be good at the grueling sport.

There were the chest thumpers: "Stand back. You are in the presence of greatness," at least according to the Paint Branch wrestling team.

Williamsport's shirts just got things down to basics with "Let's grapple."

North Hagerstown wrestlers were more philosophical with their approach to motivation with their offerings.

Their current shirts state, "Whether you think you can or that you can't, you are usually right." - Henry Ford.

An older shirt warned, "Obstacles are the frightful things people see when they take their eyes off their goals."

Linganore wrestlers had a flair for the dramatic with "The cowards stayed home and the weak died along the way," which was a wild west observation by Kit Carson.

"We chase the heck out of perfection," was the belief of famed Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi and Northwest's wrestlers.

But when it was all said and done, the one quote that may have hit it all on the head came from legendary Olympic wrestler and decorated coach Dan Gable, which appeared on the backs of the Quince Orchard team.

"Once you wrestled, everything else in life is easy."

That might be the truest statement of them all. Sometimes, actions are a reflection of words.

Records will be recorded for posterity and stories will grow richer with age, but the sacrifices and focus it takes to be successful on the mats and football fields, basketball courts and baseball diamonds are the same things dedicated athletes can apply for success in the rest of their lives.

And if they are believed, those invaluable words and opinions are worth every bit of two cents.

Bob Parasiliti is a staff writer for The Morning Herald. His column appears everyother Tuesday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2310, or by e-mail at

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