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RMN Events Partners with FCA

By Bill X. Barron, 09/18/17, 3:30PM MDT


Do Your Part, Then Let Faith Be Your Guide

The Story of Carl Perry, Executive Director for FCA Wrestling

By Bill X. Barron, Associated Wrestling Press

Wrestling and religious faith are together significant in nurturing the foundation and supporting the development of the person Carl Perry is today.  Long before Carl became the Director of Wrestling for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Carl had important coaches who helped him recognize, with great humility, that “I needed to trust in the journey and let go of the outcome.”

Carl’s journey had its roots in his Great Bridge High School (VA) wrestling coach, Steve Martin – who together with his dad led the famous Granby School of Wrestling.  “Steve was one of the top five influential people in my life,” states Carl.  “He was very patient with me in my youth.”  His high school experience connected him to another mentor, Mark Johnson and Jim Heffernan, the University of Illinois Coaches who at one time had coached Martin at the University of Iowa.  In addition, the FCA Campus Director mentored him in the process of integrating Christ into Carl’s approach to life, studies, marriage, and wrestling.

Later, as an assistant to the Illinois program for the next decade, Carl came to embrace the life philosophy which wrestling instilled in him: the dedication, discipline and sacrifice needed to be the best, balanced with the humility of knowing he could not get to the top on his own.  As an athlete he realized that “my role is the input, the things I can control (diet, conditioning, and training).  This mentality gives you the freedom to let go of the outcome.  Competing should be the fun part.  Get out there and wrestle hard!”

Perry knows it does not always come easily; he cites that he won two tournaments in college, the first one and his last one, when he won an NCAA title in his senior year at Illinois.  The connection between the sport of wrestling and his faith has allowed for him to use that same mentality in other areas of his life.  “I really try to focus on taking care of the input as a husband, father, leader and Christian”.   I am now able to take this life lesson from the sport of wrestling and experience the same freedom that Gods job is the outcome, whatever that looks like is fine with me.   We can help take the pressure off in this anxiety-filled world, while still maintaining the intensity.” 

Carl Perry’s life wisdom can be seen through the lens of his children: “I tell my 11-year old daughter and 9-year old son to not have regrets; enjoy the moment.  Do not get too focused on winning and losing.  Find ways to love the sport, love the competition.  Titles are great but they fade away.  Wrestling is a gift – the qualities you learn through participation will make you successful in life.”

Currently, a large focus of what Carl does is getting inexpensive Bibles into the hands of people all throughout the wrestling community who wish to have one.  He applauds the initiative of Ed Gutierrez, CEO of Rocky Mountain National Events, for his goal of distributing 5000 free Bibles through their wrestling events in the coming year.  “What Ed has done for the sport of wrestling is really cool.  He provides great opportunities for kids to grow and compete.  To grow, we need partners like RMN Events; our plan will only succeed through partnership.”

After distributing 21,000 Bibles in the past three years, there is a significant reprinting effort, so as to get the books into regional distribution via FCA Wrestling staff around the country.  Those like RMN Events who wish to support their efforts are welcome.  For Carl, the two paths of wrestling and a relationship with God merge together into the broader mission of FCA Wrestling.  Currently FCAW has four CORE initiatives, which is comprised of Coaches, Olympics, Resources, and Events.  Their mission statement is “to present to wrestling coaches and athletes the challenge and adventure of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, serving them in their relationships and in the fellowship of the church.”