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GREENVILLE – Congressman Warren Davidson understands the dedication and determination required to be a high school athlete having wrestled for the Sidney Yellow Jackets High School wrestling program.
“I didn’t wrestle as a little kid but started wrestling in middle school and wrestled through high school,” Davidson said.
With a passion for baseball at a young age, Davidson first hit the mats as a seventh grader and would go on to wrestle through his high school years at Sidney and a year at prep school following graduation.
“The first sport I played was baseball so I grew up as a little kid playing Little League and that was the original dream job,” said Davidson. “You had the Big Red Machine and that is what I wanted to do initially – just be a baseball player.”
After high school, Congressman Davidson enlisted in the Army as an infantryman. As part of the 3rd Infantry Division, he was stationed in Germany and witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall. Warren’s commanding officers recognized his potential and helped him earn an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. He graduated near the top of his class as a student of American history and mechanical engineering. As an officer, he led in The Old Guard, the 75th Ranger Regiment, and the 101st Airborne Division.
Congressman Davidson returned home from the Army and worked with his father, earned an MBA from the University of Notre Dame, and spent fifteen years owning and operating manufacturing companies in Ohio. In 2016, he again responded to the call of service, and came to work in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Fellow Congressman, Jim Jordan from neighboring Champaign County and Davidson have wrestling in common: Jordan wrestling for Graham High School and Davidson Sidney; west central Ohio schools separated by less than 23 miles.
“One of the intros I do with Jim sometimes,” said Davidson with a smile, “everyone knows Jordan wrestled and most people don’t know I wrestled too. Between the two of us we have four state championships and two collegiate championships – they’re all Jim’s…but I did wrestle.”
Davidson continues to support and encourage high school student athletes and took time to talk sports beginning with discipline.
“General Douglas MacArthur has a quote that everyone at West Point has to memorize,” Davidson stated. “You have to memorize all kinds of things but one of my favorite ones that I still remember to this day is about sports.”
“General MacArthur said, ‘Upon the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that on other days, on other fields will bear the fruits of victory’ …which is basically the best way to train soldiers – athletics,” Davidson said. “You get out there and compete…you learn what it takes to win. The competitive spirit, and he’s (MacArthur) like – that is going to pay off when you get onto a battlefield.”
“Being a soldier and being an athlete is certainly athletic in the Infantry. If you’re not on a varsity team at West Point you have to play some sort of sport so you have intramurals, you have inter-collegiate club sports and things like that so all through West Point everyone has to compete.”
“I believe the human spirit does well with an expectation so you create an expectation. A lot of times today the idea that there is no standard and no expected outcome and then you draw the target on later.”
“People achieve excellence because there is a clear target and there is an expectation and there are the tools – that’s what a good coach does. You lay out the expectations, you equip them to have the resources – you can’t cover the ability but if you have the work ethic and you have the resources, a lot of people can develop a lot of talent and that is the thing that comes along with athletics.”
“You can be the best you can, you may not be the best in the world but you can at least be the best that you can be.”
Davidson went on to talk about respect; respect of coaches and game officials.
“That is always a big thing with sportsmanship,” Davidson said of lack of respect for officials. “Maybe it’s because people didn’t play sports themselves and they feel open license to treat the officials one way or the other.”
“Bad cultures can do that even on a team so whether it’s at the early stages or the highest level of professional sports you’ll see some athletes treat the officials with a lack of respect so I think it is good for everybody to set an example on how treat them.”
“You can disagree but you shouldn’t be attacking the person. It’s a thankless job, it’s a tough job and especially in high school athletics. You don’t have six cameras covering every angle to watch the replay.”
“People are out there doing the best they can,” Davidson concluded. “Do they make mistakes sometimes – yes, probably, but is there malicious intent behind it. I would say it would be extremely rare in high school athletics.”
Gaylen Blosser is a sports enthusiast and has covered high school sports for nearly 20 years in Southwest Ohio. Gaylen has been a media sportswriter while most recently serving as Sports Editor for the local newspaper and will now serve as editor of Darke County Now while continuing to cover athletics.
Gaylen is an accomplished photographer who has captured thousands of athletes in action over the years and is the recipient of the OHSAA Friends of Athletes Award and OHSAA Respect the Game State Award.
Contact Darke County Now Editor Gaylen Blosser at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-459-9547.