116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
By James Q. Lynch
Just as he's remained involved in wrestling despite no longer competing, Dan Gable has stayed involved in politics even though he has no plan to run for office.
His political career, like his wrestling career these days, is from the sidelines. Tuesday night he'll be in Manchester where five Republicans seeking their party's nomination for governor in 2010 are scheduled to speak. Gable won't be one of them.
Instead, the legendary high school, collegiate and Olympic wrestler will deliver a pep talk to Delaware County Republicans at their fall dinner beginning at 6 p.m. at the Community Center on the county fairgrounds.
His “little dabble” in gubernatorial politics when he thought about running in 2006 was enough to convince Gable to stick to contact sports.
“I pursued it long enough to know it was the right decision for me at that particular time -- and probably forever,” he said Monday. “It made me realize how easy athletics and coaching is compared to what I was dabbling in. We got a lot of boundaries, but I don't see too many in politics. Even though they say there are rules, I didn't see many.”
Gable, 60, pursued running for governor long enough to realize he should broaden his view beyond family and wrestling.
“You need some great people in there,” he said, “and I think I could have done a really good job, but it would have taken a good year once in the position of authority for me to learn the systems. Most people, when they get in there, they already have the background to help immediately. For a year I would have had to rely on others before I could use my judgment on what I think is important.”
When people ask if Gable has any regrets, “I tell them I'm glad I looked into it, but I've got some other focus areas.”
His political role now is to help the players improve their game, Gable said.
“I'm a coach, an athlete, so basically I go in there and try to motivate this group,” Gable said. “I give them an inspiring talk. Whatever their missions are, I hope that once I'm done talking they'll go about it in a more workmanlike manner and have a better chance of being successful. That's my goal.”
It's not his only goal. He's also looking ahead to life after leaving the University of Iowa where he is on phased retirement. He spends his time fundraising for the athletic department, working with the Hawkeye Wrestling Club, recruiting and giving speeches to the teams “whenever they need some of that stuff.”
“You got to always look forward,” he said. “I've always been a guy that has tried to accomplish some pretty great things and I plan on that in the future as well.”
Also scheduled to speak at the Manchester event are Sen. Jerry Behn of Boone, Christian Fong of Cedar Rapids, Rep. Chris Rants of Sioux City, Rep. Rod Roberts of Carroll and Bob Vander Plaats of Sioux City.
For information on the Delaware County GOP dinner, contact Jeff Madlom (563)927-5294 or Paul Vogtlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.