Arm wrestling club debuts at Oxford Area High School
By Steven Hoffman
Oxford Area High School students who want to give arm wrestling a try can now join the school’s newest club thanks to the efforts of one student who wanted to improve his own skills in the sport.
“It’s a competitive sport, and I thought if I trained at it, I could get good at it,” explained Jon Giles, a junior at the high school who took the lead in forming the club.
Oxford's arm wrestling club team is called the USA Warriors. The first meetings for potential members took place in November. Giles came up with the idea of forming the club after looking up information about arm wrestling clubs in the area. There are no other schools that have arm wrestling clubs, but Giles thought it would be a good idea.
“I think this is a sport that will go far in schools,” Giles said, explaining that students were interested as soon as posters promoting the formation of the club were put up. “It makes me stronger and it helps me with my wrestling training. I want to help other people get physically fit.”
Giles and his father, John, approached the Oxford School Board a few months ago to pitch the idea of forming the club. There were a number of tasks that needed to be completed in order for the club to be started. Giles had to fill out facility-use forms, secure insurance for events, and retain the services of a referee with the assistance of the tournament director of Pennsylvania.
The Oxford club enlisted Tim Lewis, a Chester County resident, to serve as the referee. He has ten years in the sport, and is currently 14th in the rankings for those arm wrestlers competing with the left hand. He is helping the club members train and improve their techniques.
While arm strength is obviously an important aspect of the sport, competitors must learn the proper techniques so that they can utilize their whole body, not just their arms. Terms like “hooks” and “top rolls” come up during discussions about strategy.
Kaden Smyth, a senior, was one of the first people to express an interest in the arm wrestling club. He said that he was impressed with how much Giles knew about arm wrestling already, and liked what the club was doing.
“It's a lot of fun,” Smyth said.
Giles pointed out that people naturally like to test their strength through arm wrestling, which is why so many kids give it a try—at least informally. The arm wrestling club will focus on proper training and techniques for arm wrestling, and will allow those people who are more serious about the sport to pursue it. Of course, as with other clubs, participants can join in just for the fun of it, and they don't have to be competitive.
Giles won first place at a recent competition in York, Pa. During these competitions, the participants are grouped according to their age group and weight class. He is looking forward to seeing Oxford's club team grow.
“Once we get enough people, we will start having tournaments,” Giles said.
For more information about the club and how to participate, contact Giles at usawarrior19@ gmail.com.