You don’t have to be a Frank Sinatra fan to know what Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, a movie and a tub of popcorn, and a pencil and an eraser have in common. That’s right: Like love and marriage, you can’t have one without the other.
And here in Iowa, we have one more inseparable pairing — Dan Gable and wrestling.
Whether you were the lean, cock-sure 119-pounder on your high school wrestling team who qualified for the state tournament your senior year, or the “I’d rather lose in basketball than win in wrestling” type who gravitated toward playing hoops, one thing was for certain — you knew who Dan Gable was, still do, and always will.
If wrestling had its own Mount Rushmore, Gable’s bad-ass, scowling mug would be front and center.
Opportunities to meet living legends as such don’t come often, but thanks to the Des Moines Public Library, you now have a chance to do just that. On Monday, June 13 at 6:30 p.m., Gable will be at the Central Library, 1000 Grand Ave., in Des Moines to talk about his memoir, “Dan Gable: A Wrestling Life,” a collection of stories and moments that shaped his life.
Aaron Gernes, the community engagement assistant at the Des Moines Public Library, said Gable’s appearance will be one of the signature events of the library’s ongoing 150th anniversary celebration. Stereotypically, wrestlers and libraries might seem like an odd couple — the proverbial “bull-in-a-china-shop” pairing, if you will — but Gernes said wrestling fans are just as likely to sit down with a good book as anyone. In fact, moreso.
“We have several wrestling fans at the library,” he said. “This book has been pretty actively checked out. Dan Gable taps into a passionate audience with the wrestling community, and his life is full of amazing, sad and inspiring moments. Dan’s also a well-known speaker, and we can’t wait to hear what he has to say.”
Gable’s resume is unparalleled in the sport. The Waterloo native won an Olympic gold medal (without surrendering a point), three Iowa high school state championships (with a 64-0 record), two national championships while competing at Iowa State University (while compiling a record of 118-1), and 15 national championships in 21 years as the head coach of the University of Iowa.
His personal story is one part triumph, one part tragedy, however. As a young man in a family with parents who believed in corporal punishment, Gable sought refuge in sports, at which he excelled. During his sophomore year in high school, however, his sister was murdered, a moment that would change him forever.
The program will begin at 6:30 p.m. and run for approximately an hour. Gable will talk about the book, the stories that are in it, and other parts of his life, according to Gernes. Following the program, the book will be available for purchase, and Gable will also be signing books.
“We’re really excited about the event,” Gernes said. “Last year, Gable wrote a memoir detailing several stories and moments from his life. With the book still fresh in people’s minds, we thought this was a great opportunity to have a legendary figure in the state of Iowa come to the Central Library.” CV
|Dan Gable appearance
Monday, June 13
Des Moines Public Library
1000 Grand Ave.