When you look around the Norwalk YMCA on Tuesday and Thursday evenings during the winter, you can see the foundation being poured. The structure won't be evident for a while. It takes time to build a strong wrestling program, but Randy Haus has the energy and the drive to make it succeed.
Eventually the young wrestlers who Haus and his coaches are tutoring will make their way into the starting lineups at the town's high schools. Then, the structure that Haus is creating will be out for everyone to see.
"Everyone in the community has been helpful,'' says Randy, a former high school and college wrestler. "We promoted it heavily in the schools, and the people in town have stepped up. It has been great to see."
Haus, who had been part of the successful New Canaan youth program, wanted to establish a program in his hometown of Norwalk. The Norwalk Y supported his effort, and the Mad Bulls have been practicing there since November. Haus's sons, Joey, a fifth-grader, and Anthony, a third-grader, are on the team, which is made up of kids in grades 2-8.
"I've always had a passion for this,'' Randy says. "It's just very motivating. I enjoy teaching kids. You get an opportunity to mold them and encourage them and see them grow. You can see them gaining confidence."
The program has 30 kids, and Haus believes it will double next year. "I know we can do that,'' he says. "I'm totally confident."
Norwalk High assistant wrestling coach Charlie Vado is the club's president, and Bears' coach Job Fernandez is secretary. They are helping the kids gain experience.
"We see them beating more kids than losing, but winning isn't the goal here,'' Haus said. "I'm happy 80 percent of my kids have stuck it out. The fact that these kids are having fun is what makes it worthwhile for us. We don't like to talk too much about gold medals, because that's not our objective. We tell them they aren't really made of gold. They're made of hard work and sweat."
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