"Burroughs on the Bayou" attracts diverse turnout 
July 10, 2018| Written by: Editor



On Saturday, July 7th, at a gymnasium in Mandeville's Pelican Park, the Wrestling Academy of Louisiana hosted "Burroughs on the Bayou," a four-hour freestyle clinic led by five-time world champion, and one often considered the best pound-for-pound wrestler in the world, Jordan Burroughs.

A ticket for a Burroughs clinic must be a a hot item.  Louisiana wrestlers from as far as Lake Charles attended, as did wrestlers from Texas and Alabama.

The four-hour clinic was worth the drive.

One might think it would be tough for a world champion caliber athlete to teach kids without his "special knowledge" how to be a champion.  But Burroughs did not have to "take it down a notch" to teach the kids, some of whom were still in single digits where age is concerned.  He taught, or reinforced what their coaches had already he best time to  them, how and why they should get used to changing their elevations and then when to try takedown shots.  He taught that just getting to an opponent's legs was not enough, but that one had to "go through" and opponent's legs to get a takedown.  He taught situational wrestling, i.e., three ways to finish a high single and how to defend against a high single.  And those are things Burroughs uses in his matches, the difference being the sharpness of his moves and seeing when an opportunity presents itself.

Burroughs made the kids the issue, not himself.  Once any initial shyness wore off the kids were very comfortable approaching Burroughs to ask questions or to check if they are doing something correctly.

Approximately 150 kids and numerous coaches were on-hand to glean what they could from the 2012 Olympics gold medalist.

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Birthday Wishes

When almost all was over Burroughs shared birthday cupcakes with Ozias Gray, who would turn 11 on the next day while Burroughs turned 30.  The two made a wish, and then it appeared Ozias told Burroughs what his wish was, so they had to do it again in private, and then blew out the candles.  Later, Ozias' mother told the editor that Ozias said this was the best birthday he had ever had.

Midway through the signing activities tickets were pulled to see who would win a pair of wrestling shoes provided by Burroughs.  The first two tickets pulled went unclaimed, but the third found sophomore Mitch Pote of Spanish Fort High School in Alabama (seen left with Burroughs, and then with Burroughs and his father James).

The site of the event was put together by the Fontainebleau Bulldog Wrestling Club (left), led by coaches Jimmy and Ian Ballantyne.  Other dignitaries who attended were long-time John Ehret and Thomas Jefferson head coach Dean Tessitore, recently retired coach Jim Ballantyne, young Master Eli Ballantyne (with Burroughs), and Craig Seals and James Ravannack of the 1978 state champion East Jefferson Warriors.  (Ravannack is also a former president and is on the Board of Directors of USA Wrestling.) 

After the clinic Burroughs signed posters, shoes and headgear (earlier in the day he signed a cast) and took photographs with the clinic participants.

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