Gable at Jefferson Fieldhouse grand opening
By MARTY BALL
Over 200 sports fans made their way to the Jefferson Fieldhouse Tuesday night for its Grand Opening, as well as for an inspirational speech and book signing by legendary wrestler and coach Dan Gable. Walkthroughs, guided tours throughout the facility and snacks were provided to guests before Gable made his official appearance around 7:30 p.m. The University of Iowa coach spoke for nearly half an hour before signing autographs for his book titled, “A Wrestling Life: The Inspiring Stories of Dan Gable”, released March 1 of this year. The event was a total success in the eyes of many.
“I was very happy with the attendance and the support that was shown from the community,” Fieldhouse owner Jeff Schroeder said. “People were very responsive, they asked a lot of questions during the walkthroughs and when Dan spoke, so I could tell everyone was really engaged. I saw a lot of people tonight that I didn’t recognize, so it was great to see fans come from out of town to make this even more special.”
“I’m kind of overwhelmed to be honest with you,” Gable extolled. “I mean it was like nobody was in a hurry, everybody wanted to stick around and when I was walking around to socialize, everybody seemed to like that. Overall, tonight might be one of the finer events that I’ve been to.”
Gable pleased visitors by telling stories, answering questions, posing for pictures and briefly conversing with each and every person who stood in line for a signature. It was an occurrence that everyone, especially the youth, took advantage of throughout the night.
“When I looked down and I saw all those kids sitting in front of me, I’ll tell you what,” Gable began to explain. “When you can do good work for the future, the kids, you know, that makes everyone happy. I just have a passion for the sport and my goal is to keep that toughness going through these kids. I want to do whatever I can and if that’s pushing these kids to excel in the sport then I guess that’s what I’m here to do.”
The Jefferson Fieldhouse held a Grand Opening that other facilities could only dream of holding. With the help of Schroeder, his wife Amy, Power Lift owner Jeff Conner and Gable himself, as well as all of the Jefferson and surrounding community members who made an appearance, Tuesday night will be a night to remember in the years to come. Not only for wrestling fans, but for all other sports fans alike.
“The night we had planned was already going to be special, but having someone like Dan come in really just topped it off and was the crowing moment of the night that tied everything together,” Schroeder concluded. “We’re getting ready to start our Rambler wrestling season, so it definitely motivated the kids in a way that might not have been there if he didn’t come speak. Between Dan and the tours we gave to all the newcomers, it was a very productive night and we feel blessed to be able to have been a part of it.”
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