There is no passion to be found playing small
In settling for a life that is less than
The one you are capable of living.
If you were like me a few days ago, watching the Southern Scuffle on Flo, you were probably asking yourself the same questions I asked myself,
“Who is this kid announcer, and how did he get to announce matches on Flo?”
Well, I sought to find the answer to those questions.
His name is Sam Herring, he is 12 years old, and here’s how he got to announce the 2019 Southern Scuffle to a nationwide audience.
And if you thought his announcing was mature beyond his years wait until you read his answers to my questions.
Sam, first off I just want to say I heard you announce some matches at the Southern Scuffle on FloZone this year and I thought you were awesome. Your knowledge of the sport was off the charts, and your detailed analysis was extremely impressive.
Can you give the details on how a 12-year-old kid got to announce the Southern Scuffle on FloZone?
It all probably started with FloWresling Radio Live podcast episode 330 and my asking them the same question via twitter for a few weeks.
“Have you ever thought of adding middle school division to “Who’s No. 1”
I wasn’t actually hoping to wrestle in Who’s Number 1, I just wanted them to talk about it on the show.
That is really how I decide what questions I want to ask them.
I just decide what I would like to listen to them talking about the most that week.
Anyway, I occasionally started to become the topic of discussion, and eventually, they named me the official junior high wrestler of FloWrestling.
It was fun to hear them answering my questions and mentioning me on the show, but I didn’t expect anything to come of it.
They asked me if I was going to the Scuffle.
We live about 5.5 hours away from UT-Chattanooga.
I asked my mom if we could go.
We’ve been trying to make the trip to the Scuffle ever since we knew what it was.
I was in complete excitement when she responded with a YES.
This was the first year my family was able to make the trip.
Christian Pyles, of FloWrestling then told me to come say “hey” and maybe expect an interview.
Of course, I was thrilled and began to study the competition, in order to be prepared for the interview.
Once I arrived, I wasn’t sure when to go down and meet them.
My mom told me to go down right away and say “hey.”
I was extremely nervous to meet the Flo Wrestling guys because I had watched them on their shows, listened to them commentate matches, and read their articles, and as a result, they had established something like a celebrity figure in my brain.
They were great. I had about a 20-minute conversation with them.
I even got to meet and talk with Tony Ramos.
Christian Pyles took a picture with me and eventually posted it on Twitter, and a few people suggested that I should call some matches for FloWrestling.
I really didn’t think that it would ever end up with me actually commentating matches for Flo Wrestling.
The next day, I was at a practice and Christian Pyles DM’ed me and told me to meet him at the media table if I wanted to call a few matches.
I made it there, and Christian Pyles told me I could call some matches on mat 1.
He gave me a headset, and let me go loose.
I had never done anything like this before.
It was absolutely every bit as fun as it sounds!
After I finished about 5 matches the round was over, I went back to the media table with Christian Pyles, and he told me that I could then do the semi-finals on FloZone.
This made me go red in the cheeks and to have to fight passing out.
I went up into the bleachers and sat down, ate a little pizza, and told my mom everything that had just happened.
Before I knew it, it was time to go down to the ground and get ready to call the semis.
The people apparently really liked my technical analysis of the matches, which I have to credit my coaches, Garrett House and Brian Bauke for their influence on my technical side of wrestling, which they have spent such a large amount of time on in order to coach my club and share their knowledge with me.
Calling the semi’s seemed, in a way, unreal because I had listened to so many people that I look up to doing the exact same job.
Why did people say you should call a few matches?
Was announcing something you always wanted to do?
There is a big difference about being wrestling smart and being a play by play announcer and being able to talk on the fly in real time in front of a huge nationwide audience and be entertaining and knowledgeable.
Who suggested that you call a few matches?
I think it was just a response to the picture Christian Pyles put on Twitter.
Someone suggested it, then a couple people repeated it.
I don’t think I ever thought about calling a match before.
I just love wrestling; I love watching wrestling; I love reading about wrestling.
I guess there is a lot more of it in my brain than I realize.
I don’t play video games. I’m addicted to everything wrestling like other kids are addicted to Fortnite, I think.
What went through your mind when they handed you the headset?
When Mr. Pyles handed me the headset, I really just thought,
“Is this really happening?
Am I really commentating for Flo?
Well Sam, don’t mess up! You’ve got a lot of people listening, let it fly!”
It really seamed unreal at the time.
Who at Flo were you most excited to meet.
Was anyone different than you thought they would be?
Was Ramos, Ramos or was he friendly?
I knew I’d be meeting Christian Pyles, Nomad, Mike Mal, and Kyle Bratke.
Willie Saylor went to Midlands and wasn’t going to be there.
I can’t say that I was more excited for one over the other.
They all have different personalities, and I like them all.
The really couldn’t have been nicer.
She warned me not to expect anything more than a “hello” and a picture.
I’m glad she prepared me for that, but I’m so happy that I got the experience that I did.
Ramos was super friendly.
He asked me about myself, told me about where he was going and said he’d have to recruit me when I’m older.
How was it working with Ollie Astone?
He seemed to embrace you and genuinely seemed to really enjoy working with you.
He was SUPER helpful!
If I ever started to fall or not know what to say, he would immediately pick up on it and start adding in.
He told me at the beginning,
“Everybody loved what you did earlier, don’t let me hinder you from doing what you do. I’ll try to just state some facts, time, or maybe riding time; you just run loose with you.”
So, he helped me give the proper way to call the matches, and he helped me get a lot better.
While I was by myself, I started to get more comfortable as I went on, but when I was with Ollie, I started to improve as I went on.
I saw on Twitter your siblings were really excited for you.
What was the ride home from the Scuffle like?
I am the 6th of 7 children. Their ages are 24, 22, 21, 19, 17, and my little brother is 10.
They are on Twitter a lot more than I am.
I just use it to follow wrestling.
So, I think they thought it was pretty cool.
The older ones think I should try to do more in commentating.
My parents are worried it will distract me from my literal wrestling.
I rode home with my mom and my little brother and spent most of the ride looking at the comments on social media.
Your twitter handle is SamWise_2006
Is there any correlation to it being that you’re are wise beyond your years?
I read the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy in school last year and loved the character Samwise Gamgee.
He is honest, brave, and loyal, and he also is very humble.
I used Samwise as my Twitter handle because of that.
JP – Very appropriate handle, though. Lol
What are your wrestling goals?
I feel that God has given me a gift in wrestling, and he has blessed me with a fiery passion.
He has a plan for me in my life that wrestling will equip me for.
I want to continue wrestling for Him and honoring Him.
My goals are pretty simple at the time:
- Continue getting better each day and growing in the sport.
- To not let my love for the sport go to waste
- -do have a few performance goals: I am aiming to get a Tulsa Title, Super32 Title, and make the Pan-Am team.
Is there a program, wrestler or college coach that you admire?
Coaches: Casey Cunningham.
The wrestlers that he’s coached all talk about how he’s not just a wrestling coach, but a mentor and discipler, and that he really cares about them as a person.
He will take the college kids to his Church and disciple his wrestlers.
He also still gets on the mat with them and wrestles, and he’s got five kids.
The wrestlers that he has trained, such as, Nolf, Nickal, and Taylor are guys, who I look up to.
I love Lee Roper, the assistant coach at UNI, I’ve been to one of his camps, and I loved the way he coaches.
He is so energetic and encouraging.
And that personality spreads.
I always answer my question, “When I’m older, what kind of coach do I want to be?” with two simple words: LEE ROPER!
John Smith of OKIE ST is someone who I have always respected and thought highly of.
He is so relaxed and technical.
Also, the Strittmatter brothers have rubbed off on me.
I love the way they coach and run their club.
They are incredibly humble, even though they produce world and NCAA Champs!
Kyle Snyder is the wrestler that I look up to most.
Obviously because of his success, but more importantly my admiration can be summed up by this quote:
“Wins or loses don’t define me.
I mean, I love wrestling, it’s a big part of my life, but I’m not defined by the sport.
I’m defined by my faith in Jesus.
So, no matter what happens to me on the mat, nothing really changes.
Whether I win or whether I lose, there’s not a big change in my life, the way that I view myself, the way that I view other people.”
Finally, my coaches at Wave Wrestling Club, Garrett House and Brian Bauke, have taught me so much about wrestling.
I would not be anywhere near where I am now with those two guys.
They have been so many places with me, teaching me how to wrestle and how to be a good wrestler.
How much of an impact has Flo had on your wrestling passion?
Flo has fed my desire for wrestling so much.
I have been glued to everything Flo posts ever since I was 10 or 11.
It’s where I’ve learned most of what I know about college and international wrestling as well as tons of technique.
If you would have explained what had happened over the last week to me last year, I would have said you’re nuts.
They offer so much to so many people for such a little price.
I really want to thank the staff at Flo Wrestling for the opportunity that they gave this 12-year-old that they had met the day before. I am so thankful for all that they do for the sport.
So, in short, Flo has had a massive impact on my wrestling passion.
I am so glad for the opportunity that they have given to this random 12-year-old kid, who loves wrestling.
Sam, it seems your passion for wrestling was the catalyst for this adventure, and FloWrestling, to their credit, recognized that passion and your knowledge for this great sport and fanned it into an even bigger flame.
This FloWrestling announcing adventure reminds me of a quote by your twitter handle inspiration.
I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for because they wanted them, because they were exciting, and life was a bit dull, a kind of a sport, as you might say.
But that’s not the way of it with the tales that really mattered or the ones that stay in the mind.
Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually, their paths were laid that way. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t.
Samwise_2006, your path was destined for this FloWrestling Announcing Adventure, and I have a pretty good feeling wrestling is going to be very, very, good to you in years to come.
Stay passionate, stay honest, stay loyal and stay humble.