Force of love

PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE Tom Ryan, Ohio State’s head wrestling coach, leads a program at Clyde High School Wednesday morning.

CLYDE — Love, a wrestling coach says, is the greatest force in the universe.

“It comforts,” said Tom Ryan, Ohio State’s head wrestling coach. “Love is hard.”

Ryan served as the keynote speaker for Sandusky Bay Conference’s sportsmanship and leadership conference at Clyde High School Wednesday.

Joe Webb, Clyde High School’s principal, said officials were trying to bring people together to promote sportsmanship, and at the end, the goal was to create a positive sportsmanship pledge.

Those attending were having a unique opportunity, Webb said.

“We have some heated rivalries in here,” he said.

Ryan Greenslade, Clyde High School’s athletic director, said about 160 student-athletes from SBC schools were at the event.

“You be the change. … You are the leaders,” Ryan told those attending.

Ryan said the students were from different places. Most of those involved in Ohio State’s wrestling program are not from the same region, he said.

“I do not want them to change who they are,” he said.

Ryan reflected on the pain of the death of his 5-year-old son from a heart attack. He said things were good: He had a house, two cars, a pool, four beautiful children and a great wife and job.

He said no pain brought him to his knees like the loss of his son.

“It gave me a vision correction,” he said.

Ryan said he believes there is a God. There are two options: Everyone exists by chance or divinity.

“There has to be a choice in love,” he said.

Ryan recalled the saddest time of his life and being in a dark place. He said he had three surviving children, a wife and a marriage under attack because he didn’t know why he was here.

Ryan said he didn’t choose God because he is weak.

“Know who you are,” he said.

Ryan told the students to protect their minds with everything they’ve got.

The first thing officials do with Ohio State wrestlers is get them to learn how to speak and learn how to listen, he said.

“It’s a lost necessity,” he said. “Do you know how to speak and listen?”

Ryan said Seals undergo extremely intense training. They connect with another person.

“They can’t fathom going home and having that person there without them. … We’re made to connect. We’re built to be in connection with others,” he said.