Today’s remarkable listing is a t-shirt signed by 2012 Olympic wrestling contender Jake Herbert. I had the opportunity to meet this remarkable athlete at the eBay campus, and his story is very inspiring.
Athletes get to the Olympics in a number of ways. Wrestler Jake Herbert’s road to the Olympics started in a pretty unassuming way – Jake felt he needed to go to a good college to get a good job. His dad wrestled, and Jake already knew judo, so he started wrestling at an early age. He figured his best way to get a scholarship was in wrestling, in which he also happened to excel. But a funny thing happened on a way to that “good job.” In college wrestling he simply exploded, and went an astounding 149-4. In fact, Jake was so impressive that he won the 2009 Dan Hodge Trophy, which is awarded to the best college wrestler in the nation. Suddenly wrestling became his life.
In 2012, Jake defeated Travis Paulson at the finals of the 2012 U.S. Olympic trials, and then he was off to London. Jake, his legion of fans, and especially his family, thought he had a good chance of coming home with a medal. In fact, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the family had black T-shirts printed that said “From Steel City to London Gold.” But 2012 was not his year – a dubious call by a referee robbed Jake of his chance to compete for a medal.
Will he get another chance in 2016 at the Rio Olympics? Sadly, things are a bit in flux in the actual sport. According to Jake, there are certain people who want to stop wrestling from being an Olympic sport. It seems incredible that anyone would want to do that, given that wrestling has been a part of the Olympics since it started in 708 BC. According to Wikipedia, due to the burgeoning cost of putting on the Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has deemed that “core sports” would continue indefinitely in future Olympics, but “non-core” sports would be selected for inclusion on an Olympic game-by-game basis. Unfortunately earlier this year the IOC voted to make wrestling a “non-core” sport. We hope for Jake’s sake, and the sake of budding Olympic wrestlers everywhere, that the IOC reconsiders its decision.
Sports can change lives. Jake credits his early interest in wrestling, especially in high school, to keeping him focused and away from the temptations offered to teens everywhere. Today Jake lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a hop, skip and a jump from Detroit. So it is not surprising that Jake has chosen a local charity, Beat the Streets (Detroit), to which he will donate to as part of the eBay #BeInspired campaign. According to its website, Beat the Streets is a youth wrestling program dedicated to improving the lives of at-risk children. The program gives troubled youths something meaningful and fun to do in a city where few after-school opportunities exist. Through its mentoring program, it is focused on building character, discipline, and self-esteem.
Jake estimates his contribution will fund the program’s purchase of about 20 pairs of wrestling shoes. But it is the opportunity that sports gives these kids to do something meaningful with their lives that inspires us all.
Today’s remarkable listing is this t-shirt signed by Jake Herbert #BeInspired campaign T-Shirt shirt signed:
The seller, cradlegear13, has teamed up with the athletes participating in the #BeInspired campaign to sell these signed t-shirts. Unfortunately, the listing doesn’t give us a whole lot of information about the shirts – your best bet is to contact the seller to find out more!