Outstanding wrestler transitions to coaching

wrestling thumbnailWrestling has been a long-standing tradition in George Euren's family.

"It's a good sport," Euren says. "It keeps you out of trouble and keeps you in good shape. It's not about winning or losing. It's about having fun — and going out and giving it your all."

Euren has been involved in the sport for seven years now and his older brother, Randy, also competed for many years and currently helps coach the Father Lacombe High School wrestling team.

wrestling2George Euren (top) pins an opponent during the 2013 Calgary Senior High School Athletic Association wrestling championships. He placed second in a class of 24 competitors.

Photo by Karry Taylor

Euren is currently a Grade 11 student at Father Lacombe High School and wrestles for both the school and the Calgary Jr. Rebels Wrestling Team — a community club based out of Jack James High School.

Douglas Euren, George and Randy's father, introduced the brothers to the sport. Douglas rarely missed a wrestling practice that involved his boys, and he never missed a tournament.

But Douglas died suddenly on Dec. 22, 2012. He was 42 years old.

Mourning the loss

Russ Mendonca, head coach of the Rebels, says that the loss was felt deeply throughout Calgary's wrestling community.

"Doug was just an incredible person. We miss him dearly," Mendonca says. "He was a such a huge part of our program and well-loved.

wrestling3George Euren has decided to continue wrestling, while transitioning into the coaching side of the sport. He says that wrestling helps to instill communication skills and respect for others.

Photo by Karry Taylor

"It's hard to imagine what it is like for George, because it was hard for all of us."

Helen Colbourne, teacher and wrestling coach at Forest Lawn High School, says that she also feels the absence of Douglas Euren at city wrestling events.

"You could always count on his dad to be there in support — Doug was always a happy and positive person," Colbourne says. "George misses having the support that he always knew was in his corner."

Returning to competition

Although he declined to be interviewed about his father, Euren has decided to return to competing.

Euren recently took part in the Calgary Senior High School Athletic Association wrestling championships. He placed second after competing against 24 others in a highly competitive 65-kg weight class. He wrestled his way to third place in a field of 16 competitors at the provincial championships a week later.

Mendonca says it hasn't been easy because everything connected to the sport reminds Euren of his father.

Keith Daye, teacher and wrestling coach at Forest Lawn High School, says that the first high school wrestling tournament of 2013 — held in the beginning of February — was particularly difficult for everybody.

"We hosted the first tournament, and I was having a hard time getting through it," Daye says. "I kept looking at George's corner and there was a void there."

"I remember saying to George, 'It's just a wrestling match — you can't be carrying everything else with you in terms of expectations.'"

Euren won his weight class and was voted the most outstanding wrestler of the tournament. Daye says he was so overcome with emotion that he had a hard time announcing the award results.

Coach praises 'heart and soul'

Mendonca says that Euren is an "excellent" wrestler.

wrestling1George Euren (right) recently finished third in the 65-kg class at the provincial high school wrestling championships.

Photo by Karry Taylor

"He's incredibly strong and has a great work ethic," Mendonca says. "He pours his heart and soul into every match."

But Mendonca says Euren's contribution to the club goes far beyond his performance on the wrestling mat.

"He brings leadership and a very positive attitude," Mendonca says, of the 17-year-old. "He drives everybody in the room to move forward and excel.

"He expects that from himself, and others. He's a pleasure to have in our club."

Giving back

Following in the footsteps of his brother, Euren has started to transition into the coaching side of wrestling.

Daye says that few high school wrestlers give back to the sport in the way that the Euren brothers do.

"George is not even done competing yet, and he is already involved with coaching," Daye says.

Euren says that he enjoys the coaching side of things, although he does admit that it puts him in somewhat "weird" position, due to the fact that he is so young and also helping to coach his teammates.

He says that coaching has given him another view of the sport. Wrestling — from both a coaching and athletic standpoint — helps instill communication skills and respect for others.

"Whether you win or lose, you shake the hands of your opponents, the referees and the coaches," Euren says. "It's a good way for everybody to gain respect from you, and for you.

"If you lose a match, you lose — everybody has their bad days," Euren says. "Everybody loses sometimes."

Mendonca says the Euren has a bright future, whether it is in wrestling or anything else he decides to do.

"He has the will and the drive. If he sets his mind to it, he is going to accomplish whatever he wants to do."

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