Holiday Gift List

What do you get the wrestler or wrestling fan for the holidays?

There are a number of winning gift options available to appeal to all ages, from the little ones who might someday be mat superstars and superfans ... to those old enough to remember wrestling without shirts and headgear. Here are some books, videos and other gifts sure to score big points with the wrestling fanatics on your holiday gift list this year.

(NOTE: We realize this is NOT a complete listing of all wrestling gift ideas, but some items you might not know about, that are worthy of your consideration.)



NearFall by Joe Reasbeck. A series of five novels which focus on two Iowa brothers and a group of their friends who grow up in the sport of wrestling. The first book in the series -- NearFall I: The Adventures of Matt and Mike -- was published in 2008; anticipated release date for book two: mid-November 2009.


-To order:

Pinned by Alfred Martino. A novel about two New Jersey high school wrestlers, Ivan Korske and Bobby Zane, who come from radically different backgrounds, yet are destined to meet on the mat. Read an InterMat article about the book.


To order: direct from the author at or from

To Be The Best by H.L. Hertel. The story of Ron and Nick Castle, Midwestern brothers who dream of being high school state wrestling champs but encounter daunting physical and psychological challenges. Read an InterMat article about the book.


-To order from

Vision Quest by Terry Davis. The classic coming-of-age novel about a thoughtful high school wrestler, Louden Swain, as he tries to find his place in the world. The basis for a popular 1980s movie with soundtrack (see "Multimedia")

To order from

Wrestling Spoken Here by Milt Sherman. An upbeat novel, aimed at junior and senior high readers, about a high school sophomore who's experiencing his first season as a wrestler and grappling with all sorts of issues on and off the mat. Read an InterMat article about the book.

-To order from


The African-American Wrestling Experience produced by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum. African American participation in wrestling has a depth and richness of culture to mankind's oldest sport.

-To order from the Hall of Fame Web site, visit

A Century of Penn State Wrestling compiled by the Penn State Wrestling Club. You don't have to be a Nittany Lions fan to enjoy this fact-filled, photo-filled history of 100 years of Penn State wrestling, and the coaches and wrestlers who wrote some history of their own on the mats. Read an InterMat article about the book.

-To order, visit

Cowboy Up by Kim Parrish. This book provides an all-access pass to follow the Oklahoma State Cowboy wrestling program for the entire 2004-2005 season, getting to know individual wrestlers and head coach John Smith. Read an InterMat article about the book.

-Available for purchase from the Oklahoma State wrestling office at 405.744.3288 or the Oklahoma Heritage Association at 1.888.501.2059.

A Distant Flame by Jack VanBebber, as told to Julia VanBebber. Moving, inspirational story of wrestler Jack VanBebber who overcame a near-fatal childhood accident and the Great Depression to become a three-time NCAA champ for the Oklahoma State Cowboys, and a 1932 Olympic gold medalist. Read an InterMat article about the book.

-Available for purchase at the publisher's Web site:

The Fighting Scots of Edinboro by John Dudley. The story of the wrestling program at tiny Edinboro University in northwest Pennsylvania, a David of schools going up against the Goliaths of college wrestling with considerable success, with individual NCAA champs like current MMA star Josh Koscheck, and Gregor Gillespie. Written by John Dudley, a sportswriter/columnist for the Erie Times-News who has covered Edinboro wrestling since 1999. Read an InterMat article about the book.

-Available for purchase direct from the publisher at

Glory Beyond the Sport: Wrestling and the Military, by Roger Moore; contributions by Jay Hammond, Jamie Moffatt, and Don Sayenga. The National Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum honors the bonds between wrestling and the military with a book that salutes those who served who once wrestled. Read an InterMat article about the book.

-To order direct from the Hall of Fame Web site:

Grappling Glory: Celebrating a Century of Minnesota Wrestling and Rassling by Ross Bernstein. Large-format book, chock full of photos and info, on high school and college wrestling in the state of Minnesota, as well as professional wrestling.

-To order from

History of Collegiate Wrestling: A Century of Excellence by Jarius K. Hammond and various contributors. A carefully researched, lavishly produced 400-page book, covering 100 years of college wrestling year-by-year. Accented with individual profiles of significant wrestlers, coaches and programs.

-To order direct from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Web site online:

The Imaginary Girlfriend by John Irving. Well-known for bestselling novels such as The World According to Garp and The Cider-House Rules, Irving tells of his exploits in prep school and college where wrestling figured prominently in his life.

-To order from

Legends of the Mat: Stories of 34 of America's Greatest Wrestlers of All Time by Mike Chapman. Famed wrestling historian Mike Chapman serves up concise but information-filled profiles of all-time mat greats such as Bruce Baumgartner, Doug Blubaugh, Dan Gable, Terry McCann, John Smith, more.

-To order online:

Mat Snacks: Wrestling Stories to Feed the Spirit and Tickle the Funny Bone by Jack Spates. Humorous stories from the world of amateur wrestling, compiled by the head coach of the University of Oklahoma Sooners.

-To order from Barnes & Noble

Oklahoma Shooter: The Story of Dan Hodge by Mike Chapman. The biography of Dan Hodge, three-time NCAA champ at University of Oklahoma, 1956 Olympic silver medalist, an amateur and professional boxer, and a pro wrestler. Read an InterMat article about the book.

-To order, send $22.95 plus $5 shipping and handling to: Culture House Books, P.O. Box 283, Newton, Iowa 50208 or call 641.791.3072.

Season on the Mat: Dan Gable and the Pursuit of Perfection by Nolan Zavoral. A year in the life of the Iowa Hawkeyes wrestling program ... the 1996-1997 season, Dan Gable's last as head coach.

To order from

Strobel: Stories From a Life With Wrestling by Jamie Moffatt. Brand-new book about Greg Srobel, three-time Oregon high school state champ, two-time Oregon State NCAA champ (1973, 1974), former Team Foxcatcher coach, and, for 13 years, head coach at Lehigh. Read an InterMat article about the book.

-For ordering information, contact Mark Palmer at

Wisconsin Wrestling: 1940-2007 by the Wisconsin Wrestling Coaches Association. A nearly 200-page book, tracing the rich history of amateur wrestling in the state of Wisconsin, in words and photos.

-To order, visit

Wrestlers at the Trials by Jamie Moffatt. A fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at how US Olympic wrestling teams have been put together from 1960-1988, in the words of wrestlers who realized their Olympic dreams ... and those who didn't. Read an InterMat article about the book.

-For more information or to order, email Mark Palmer at

Wrestling: A Boy's First Book by William Bauer. Not a how-to-wrestle book, but a great introduction to the sport for 7-9 year-olds and their parents who are new to wrestling. Appealing color illustrations. Read an InterMat article about the book.

-To order, visit or purchase by emailing the author at

The Wrestling Presidents: From Pins to Patriots. Thirteen of the nation's Presidents have wrestled. This book, produced by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum, tells of the mat exploits of each of these grapplers-in-chief.

-To order from the Hall of Fame:

Wrestling the ABCs by Tom and Veronica Davids. A fun, rhyming ABC book on the sport of amateur wrestling, with illustrations by Robert Lence, who has worked on animated films for Disney and Pixar, and foreword by Dan Gable.

-To order, visit

This is just a sample of wrestling books available. For more great wrestling book gift ideas -- including instructional books, conditioning books, historical works, novels, biographies and more -- visit the Amateur Wrestling Bookstore in association with at Tom Fortunato's "The Web's Best of Amateur Wrestling" Web site.


National Wrestler NCAA championship videos: Now you can own DVDs of the NCAA Division I championship finals from 2009 back through the 1990s, with some selected events of the 1970s and 80s, too. For more information and to order online, visit

Penn State wrestling videos: A huge collection of Nittany Lion wrestling action from the 1940s to more recent times. Among the highlights: 1930s Grantland Rice Sportslight film on PSU wrestling, 1953 NCAAs (hosted by Penn State), EIWA championships from the 1950s, and video of individual PSU mat stars like Kerry McCoy, all which can be put on DVD. For details on what's available, contact Paul Karwacki at Penn State's Paterno Library at

University of Wyoming vintage wrestling videos: Wyoming's American Heritage Center archives has silent films of the 1958 and 1959 NCAA finals, as well as Skyline Conference championship footage from 1954 and 1955, which can be transferred onto DVD. An unmatched opportunity to see old-school college wrestling. For more information, contact archivist John Waggener at

Veritas documentary: Compelling film about Jon Trenge, a two-time Pennsylvania high school state champ and NCAA All-American for Lehigh who wears protective eye goggles because he has detached retinas. A behind-the-scenes look at a top wrestler at one of the top college wrestling programs (coached by Greg Strobel at the time). Available for purchase at

Vision Quest movie: One of the iconic movies of the 1980s, it's a version of Terry Davis' young adult novel about a Washington State high school wrestler coming to terms with his sport, his father and the older woman who's renting a room at his house. Stars Matthew Modine, future Oscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker, Linda Fiorentino, and, in one of her first movie roles, Madonna, as a singer in a bar. Available on Amazon:

Vision Quest soundtrack: If the music from the 1985 movie doesn't get you fired up, nothing will. Among the classic selections: Only the Young by Journey, Hot Blooded by Foreigner, Lunatic Fringe by Red Rider, Shout to the Top by The Style Council, and two songs by Madonna: Gambler and Crazy for You. Available for purchase at Amazon:


Amateur Wrestling News magazine: For over fifty years, AWN has provided timely coverage of high school and college wrestling developments. For more information, visit To subscribe: 1.800.275.8551.

The Crossface magazine: Your source for kids, high school, college and senior wrestling in the state of Wisconsin. To subscribe:

The Guillotine newsmagazine: For the amateur wrestling community in the state of Minnesota, this is the publication. Covers youth, high school, college and international wrestling. To subscribe:

Pennsylvania Wrestling Newsmagazine: Winner of the 2009 NWMA (National Wrestling Media Association) "Publication of the Year", PWN bills itself as "the No. 1 state wrestling publication" for its coverage of junior high, high school and college wrestling in the Keystone State. To subscribe:

The Predicament magazine: The publication that covers high school and college wrestling in the state of Iowa. Available in a traditional printed form, as well as online, and an "Ultimate Ticket" print/online combination. To subscribe:

WIN magazine: Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine covers all aspects of amateur wrestling -- youth, high school, college and international -- from coast to coast. For more information, visit To subscribe, visit the Web site or call 1.888.305.0606.

Wrestling USA magazine: The magazine that advertises itself as "the voice of schoolboy, high school and college wrestling." Also includes "Where Are They Now?" historical features. For more information, visit To subscribe, visit the Web site or call 1.800.359.1850.

InterMat Platinum: The amateur wrestling Web site InterMat serves up unique, premium content -- exclusive profiles, one-of-a-kind audio interviews, recruiting information, and more -- available only to InterMat Platinum subscribers. To subscribe: online video subscription: One of the superstars of amateur wrestling in the 1990s, Cary Kolat, has created a Web site with an archive of over 1,200 instructional videoclips, available online by subscription. For more information, visit To subscribe:

Technique Wave: From the folks who created the popular amateur wrestling Web site, Technique Wave is a constantly growing collection of wrestling technique videos from across the nation from the nation's best coaches and wrestlers, introducing athletes to a wide range of wrestling styles and techniques, available online by subscription only. For more information and to subscribe:

Welcome surprises ...

Heroes of Wrestling II Trading Card Set: Stuff their stocking with this unique trading card set features 36 different wrestlers who have competed over the past 20 years, from A (Ben Askren) to Z (Bill Zadick, Mike Zadick). To order:

"The Epic of Gilgamesh" Poster. Beautifully illustrated poster, numbered and signed by artist Tadaaki Hatta, 1965 NCAA champ for Oklahoma State, brings to life the oldest piece of literature in the world, about the oldest sport in the world. Written nearly 4500 years ago, it tells the story of a great king named Gilgamesh who wrestles Enkidu, a wild man from the forest.

Still haven't found what you're looking for?

If you're still seeking the perfect gift, here are some other online sources you might check out:

Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute & Museum online store has a unbeatable assortment of books, posters, wrestling videos/DVDs, collectibles, wearables, even wrestling gear. online store features books, videos, apparel and even autographed items from the legendary Iowa State wrestler, 1972 Olympic gold medalist and Iowa Hawkeye head coach.

Cael Sanderson online store has a wide range of merchandise -- wrestling shoes, apparel, accessories, posters, memorabilia, and videos -- hand-selected by Sanderson who was undefeated in college and a 2004 Olympic gold medalist, and is now head coach at Penn State.

"The Web's Best of Amateur Wrestling" Web site has a heavyweight selection of wrestling books and some DVDs as well.


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