On Thursday, November 30, Kyle Snyder, a world and Olympic wrestling champion payed a visit to Leesville Road High School.
Upon releasing his new line of wrestling shoes, Rudis—the company who makes said shoes—threw in a neat twist. In Willy Wonka-esque fashion, a golden ticket was placed inside three boxes of these shoes; only three, worldwide, among thousands.
Anyone who received a ticket was entitled to a free clinic from Kyle Snyder himself. Leesville’s own Richie Rizzuto was fortunate enough to receive one of those golden tickets.
“I couldn’t believe it when I first saw the ticket,” said Rizzuto. “The first thing I did was FaceTime my friends to see if it was real.”
For Rizzuto—and everyone on the wrestling team—this was an opportunity to meet not only one of their heroes, but one of the most prolific wrestlers of all time. For perspective: this would be the equivalent of Michael Jordan or Lebron James coming to Leesville to coach the basketball team.
“Kyle Snyder is such a monumental figure in wrestling,” said Maximus Buico, a wrestler for Leesville. “When someone has their own shoe in any sport, they’re definitely a big deal…he’s definitely someone we all look up to.”
True to his word, Snyder came to Leesville. He took Rizzuto out for lunch, taught the team some techniques in practice, and spent a long time simply answering questions. Despite his young age of 23, everyone listened intently to the wisdom of the young world champion. After having his brain thoroughly picked, Snyder posed for pictures and signed autographs.
Though his visit was brief, Snyder’s visit left a lasting impression on those he interacted with. “He is someone I aspire to be like—I want to do everything he did,” said Rizzuto. “It was so cool that he held a conversation with me; I’m just some random kid, and he’s a legend.”
Kyle Snyder’s time at Leesville will not soon be forgotten. As he continues to inspire the next generation of wrestlers, Leesville’s own wrestlers will continue to watch his career with renewed interest and support.