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Vancouver’s Askeo Mat Club: Shaping Young Lives Through Faith-Based Wrestling

Integrating Life Skills Through Wrestling

At Askeo International Mat Club in Vancouver, Washington, life skills and sports education merge seamlessly. Co-founded by Damon McPherson, a former three-time state wrestling champion and now a senior pastor, the club has been dedicated for 17 years to teaching young athletes how to tackle life’s challenges through the discipline of wrestling. The club, whose name “Askeo” comes from the Greek for physical labor or striving, stands as a testament to the pursuit of excellence both on and off the mat.

Building Character and Community Support

Askeo’s program emphasizes resilience and moral character, teaching young wrestlers to handle defeat gracefully and grow from their experiences. McPherson stresses the importance of experiencing losses, highlighting that overcoming adversity not only builds character but also reveals it. By ensuring that financial barriers do not prevent participation, Askeo maintains inclusivity, allowing any interested child the opportunity to learn and compete, thereby fostering a supportive community among its members.

Legacy and Leadership at Askeo

The legacy of Askeo Mat Club is further enriched by the mentorship between its senior and junior members, creating a familial atmosphere where older athletes guide the younger ones, instilling a sense of responsibility and community. The club’s impact is evident in its alumni, with several becoming state champions who embody the club’s values of perseverance, resilience, and constructive response to criticism. As these young wrestlers prepare for national competitions like the US Open in Las Vegas, they carry forward the principles instilled by Askeo, poised to become productive, disciplined members of society.

This approach not only prepares them for competitions but also equips them with vital life skills that extend well beyond their athletic careers, underscoring Askeo’s commitment to nurturing well-rounded individuals.