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Book Review – To Be the Best


Whenever I hear about a movie, a book, or anything else being published about wrestling, I’m hesitant to embrace it. Wrestling just seems to be one of these things that never gets depicted properly or get the respect that it deserves. The scenes and the imagery tend to be so over the top, or focus more on stereotypes than what actually happens.

Thankfully, I was quite pleased with the story in the book To Be the Best by H.L. Hertel (one of our Bronze level members). It focuses on a range of characters and emotions with wrestling as the backdrop, rather than describing how to properly clear a collar-tie or how to down-block.

The main character, Nick Castle, is a high school boy trying to live in the shadows of his older brother’s legacy and deal with a family tragedy. The new assistant coach is juggling college courses and his own personal demons, while starting to form a bond with the struggling teenager. His unique approach with kid brings him out of his shell, and ultimately gives him the confidence he was missing to handle all of life’s challenges. The story serves as a reminder that although teenage trials and tribulations seem miniscule to many of us that are well past that, they are very real to those that are experiencing them. In an era where bullying and teen suicide dominates our headlines, this book helps recognize the raw emotion and minute to minute worries that these young individuals have.

In that light, H.L. has written something that can be enjoyed by teenagers, adults, wrestling fanatics, or anyone else. H.L. has put together a good representation of what the sport of wrestling brings to the table for its participants. It shows us how discipline, competition, and dedication can overcome any obstacle. It’s a great read and well worth your time.

Also, there’s a new book in the series called Rematch. I can’t wait to check it out.



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