The Sycamore wrestling team used the same mat since the school opened in the 1990s, so it was no surprise it was ready to be retired.
The Sycamore wrestling program worked to raise more than $7,000 to buy a new mat, decided to buy it from a company and sent the money for it. Over time, though, Steve Hamblin and his wife, Jennifer, noticed the company wasn’t coming through.
The Hamblins got the story out, and some media reports made their way to a company named Dollamur and its president, Don Ochsenreiter.
After hearing of Sycamore’s misfortune and the negligence of the other company, Dollamur stepped up, produced and donated a new, custom wrestling mat to the school.
“I was sitting in my office early one morning, and a friend of mine from Nashville sent me a copy of the news clip, and something told me this school and community had been wronged,” Ochsenreiter said. “I immediately knew what we needed to do to make it right. In the spirit of Christmas and with what everyone has gone through because of COVID this year, we knew it was the right thing to do. We just wanted to make it right.”
And make it right, they did. Dollamur built the custom mat quickly and expedited to Sycamore for free. When the schools in Cheatham County shut down and went virtual, Dollamur moved the shipping date to better suit the school. In each and every way, Dollamur stepped up.
Sycamore wrestling coach Steve Hamblin and two of his athletes were just a few of the small welcoming party there waiting for Dollamur, Ochsenreiter and the new mat, but no one was more thrilled than Hamblin and his two seniors, Mark Helser and Ariel Rojas-Avila, to see the new mat.
“We’ve been using the old youth mat that’s been here for 20 years and really too small, and we can’t use it for competition, but we’ve always done what we could with what we had,” Hamblin said. “The idea of having something new is really exciting for the kids. The kids worked hard to raise the money for a new mat, but of course, this is a different situation with this being a gift, but it doesn’t negate the fact that these kids worked hard to pay for a mat they never got.”
The school system allowed a few people at Sycamore to be there to receive the mat, so Helser and Rojas-Avila were the only two wrestlers from the team who were present. But it didn’t seem to bother them in the slightest. The two seniors, along with Hamblin and the help of Ochsenreiter, put together the mat, and the two wrestlers couldn’t help themselves. Helser, who gives up quite a bit of a size advantage to his teammate Rojas-Avila, started sparring almost immediately.
The two seniors only sparred for a minute, but the smile and joy both displayed was all the payment Dollamur needed. Ochsenreiter watched with a grin of his own, along with Hamblin, his wife, Jennifer, and all who were in attendance.
Sycamore has a new mat it will display at all home events, including the only home match of the season on the schedule, which will be Feb. 1 at 5:30 p.m. Hamblin also said they may even take it with them to Fairview.