Saturday, January 14, 2006

The world according to Gable is busy

This article, written by Kevin Evans appeared in the Waterloo Courier on Fri. Jan. 13, 2006.

Dan Gable gives new meaning to the word retired.

About the only thing he doesn’t do now days is coach the Iowa wrestling team.

Wrestling is still his life and there isn’t a lot of down time in his schedule.

He was in Waterloo last Saturday at the “Dan Gable Invitational” at West, then on to Cornell in Mount Vernon to do radio for a wrestling meet there.

At night he was in Carver-Hawkeye Arena doing work for IPTV. That was followed by a social with IPTV donors.

Monday he was off to see an old friend, author John Irving. It was a business trip to Vermont.

Irving is the main man in writing a script for a movie about Gable.

Irving has written such novels as “The World According to Garp”, “The Hotel New Hampshire”, “The Cider House Rules”, and “The Fourth Hand.”

He was an outstanding prep wrestler, and he made a cameo appearance as a wrestling official in the movie version of “Garp,” which starred Robin Williams.

Gable spent two days there going over things with Irving and other writers, but says things are “so far away, it is a work in progress.”

All he would say about the script it is covers Gable from age seven to 48, when he quit coaching.

“It is not put together yet, but I would probably say it is a family story that actually teaches a lot that would be good for people to watch,” he said. “We never have enough of that.”

Others made movies that failed at the box office, so Gable knows it is a long shot.

“It is just too far off to be a reality,” he said. “There is no need to get fired up about it. They say if you’ve got 100 scripts, only two percent come to fruition. The only difference from the past is the people behind this have more credentials and are very serious about it.”

Gable and Irving met when Gable first went to Iowa and Irving was in the Iowa Writer’s Workshop.

“He wanted to work out, to wrestle,” said Gable. “I was scared to turn him loose (in the wrestling room), so I wrestled him. He wanted to prove himself. We probably wrestled 30 times.

“The next thing I know he’s on the cover of Time magazine.”

His two-day trip to Vermont was his first chance to see that state.

“I have seen ‘White Christmas’ before, and it was just like mas’ before, and it was just like that,” said Gable.

Around a schedule like that, he has more than a casual eye on the potential move of the International Wrestling Institute and Museum from Newton to Waterloo and being renamed for him.

He admits he was a little skeptical about the chances of the move when it was first announced in October.

Since that time a lot has happened.

“I’m making a lot more trips there and talking to a lot of people,” said the former Waterloo West state champion. “I’ve got some more of that to do tomorrow.

“I think it has progressed pretty well. It is not as easy as some people might think to go out and raise money. But there are some good people there.”

The original goal was to raise $750,000 to help get the museum moved into a city-owned building at 303 Jefferson Street. Some of that will come from in-kind contributions, but that is still pretty much the dollar amount needed.

“You’ve got to work for it,” said Gable. “It is just like anything else. You can’t be a good wrestler by just showing up on the day of the match and winning. You can’t put something together unless you have a good plan. Plans have to be adjusted and re-adjusted. We had to have meetings, there are a lot of things.”

No doubt those folks charged with putting things together are learning what it was like in Iowa’s practice room when Gable was coaching. He’s not about to leave any stone unturned.

“It is important for me to make it a success,” said Gable. “If we don’t do it right we don’t want to do it.”

Gable has not only spent time in meetings planning the whole thing, he’s met with people in person and spent hours on the phone trying to raise the money.

“I am fairly optimistic right now,” he said. “More than before. When we first started I probably wasn’t, and even after that first meeting ... that probably tipped me a little bit.

“But it took me three or four meetings before I walked out and said ‘this might happen.’”

Gable will be back in town this weekend for the National Duals and, no doubt, more meetings.

But on his way he has to stop at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh for a tournament named after him. He helped save their wrestling program from being eliminated, and as a thank you a tournament was named for him.

Coaching?

No.

Retired?

Hardly.

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