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Wayne Catan is not only a world class wrestler, but a Hemingway scholar. He lives and breathes Hemingway. And he’s published reviews of 37 books about Hemingway.

Wayne was a two-time NCAA finalist in wrestling for the Syracuse University. After college, he wrestled internationally and even placed third at the legendary Tbilisi Tournament in Georgia.

Now Wayne is an English teacher and the head wrestling coach at Brophy College Prep.

Wayne would read Hemingway’s short stories on the bus when they were traveling to away meets for wrestling in college. Even though he rose to the top of the wrestling world, he got a bit of a slow start. He first trained in judo and when he transitioned to wrestling, he never even placed in New York states. But the summer after his senior year of high school, he wound up placing at nationals and getting recruited to wrestle in college.

Wayne and I first met in the Blair Academy wrestling room many years ago. In this episode he talks about how he first became friends with Blair coach Jeff Buxton and what it was like working out with Steve Mocco. Back in the day, Wayne and I connected because we always loved talking about books. Over the years we always bonded over our love for Hemingway. So it was so much fun sitting down and talking with him in this episode.

In this episode we discuss our favorite Hemingway works. We talk about how many times Hemingway rewrote the last paragraph of A Farewell to Arms. About how The Old Man and the Sea is a book without one misplaced word. About the Hemingway in the Spanish Civil War and Hemingway’s experiences in Spain which led to For Whom the Bell Tolls. Did Hemingway really lead charges as a war journalist? Wayne suspects it might just be part of the Hemingway lore. The Iceberg Theory. The Sun Also Rises. The Nick Adams stories. And so much more.

Also, check out my post about Hemingway’s Favorite Bars in Madrid, where I went around to all of Don Ernesto’s favorite places to get drunk.

3 Replies to “Ep. 34 – Wayne Catan on Hemingway, Wrestling, and Grace Under Pressure”

  1. I wrestled Wayne his senior year, while I was a freshmen Columbia. He, like Hemingway was legendary. I got to know him better later in college, (though he had graduated), he’d come work out at the New York Athletic Club, and throw around the younger guys, while teaching them about balance, and attitude. He came as his reputation predicted, a great wrestler; but perhaps unexpectedly a kind and thoughtful man. Ernest was also always one of my favorite historical figures, along with Alexander the Great. Like those two kings among men, the name Catan garnered well earned respect from even the very toughest of characters in the grappling world.

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