He hadn't previously done something like this in his life.
But something inside John Childress beckoned him to help. In late May two years ago, when a devastating tornado struck the town of Joplin, Mo., Childress hopped on his motorcycle and made a solo 1,100-mile ride there from his home in Dallastown.
It was during that time when Childress, now 48, came across a wall covered in pictures of the many people who died in the tornado.
"There was a saying there that's on this wall with pictures of all the victims that said 'Blame no one. Expect nothing. Do something,'" Childress said.
Childress plans to make that saying a vital component of the Dallastown High School wrestling team in the 2013-14 season. He was officially named the varsity's next wrestling head coach at a school board meeting two weeks ago.
"I'm a firm believer that we should probably give more than we take," he said. "If I can get that across to the kids, if they can get their mental state correct, their winning and success will come."
A 1983 Dallastown grad, Childress has roughly 20 years of coaching experience under his belt. He first coached the Red Lion junior high team in the early 1990s for a few seasons before former Dallastown varsity coach Dave Gable asked Childress to come help the Wildcats. For the next 10 seasons, Childress served as the coordinator for the Dallastown youth program (first through sixth grades) before moving up to the Dallastown junior high team (seventh and eighth grades), where he has coached the last three seasons.
Outside of wrestling, Childress works full-time as a financial analyst for WellSpan and is the father to current Dallastown field hockey player Molly Childress and former Dallastown wrestler Jonathan Childress, who now wrestles at Lock Haven.
"I never thought in my wildest dreams I'd be a head coach, nor was I really seeking it out," Childress said. "This wasn't necessarily a goal of mine. It's just an opportunity to move the program forward."
Striebig: Childress is taking over for Matt Striebig, who told The York Dispatch in a May 16 article he was stepping down from the position after four years at the helm to spend time with his family.
Shortly after that, Striebig was cited May 21 by York Area Regional Police with summary disorderly conduct for allegedly encouraging wrestlers to hit a fellow team member for passing gas during practice. Striebig was admitted into the county's Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition diversionary program for the disorderly conduct citation and ordered to perform 35 hours of community service. People admitted into ARD don't have to admit guilt.
"I really don't want to talk about that," Childress said. "I really don't want to mention names or things that were allegations. That's a real touchy subject. But we have things in place. I did ratchet up the rules. All the wrestlers there are familiar with me and the rest of the staff. They know what's acceptable and what's not acceptable with me and the coaching staff going forward. I think there is gonna be some things that are gonna change, but we'll keep a closer eye on things and monitor things more closely."
Goals: Childress inherits a team that returns eight starters, including three District 3-AAA qualifiers and two PIAA qualifiers, from a squad that went 8-2 in York-Adams League Division I competition last season.
"I'd love to be No. 1," Childress said. "But it's more important for me to wrestle as one, to be very united, because once you do that, the winning starts coming. If you focus on winning without the unity I think you're gonna fall short."
-- Reach John Walk at email@example.com.