After Boston University officials announced that the 2013-14 season would be the last for the BU wrestling team, two local filmmakers have decided to produce a documentary on the team’s final year.
Freelance sports writer Michael Abelson and Emerson College student Brandon Lavoie are currently raising money to produce “It Hurts to Win,” a film that will tell the story of the BU wrestling team in its last season.
“We would like to document the process of what happens in general when a college program gets cut,” Lavoie, a junior majoring in film production, said.
Students were shocked when the BU administration announced its decision April 1 to cut the varsity wrestling team after their 2013-14 season.
“A lot of times, these things fall by the wayside and no one gets to hear from the people it actually affects,” Lavoie said. “They [students] just hear from the people who are making the decision.”
Lavoie said the film is also intended to explore some of the reasons why the wrestling program was cut so abruptly.
“We’re certainly not trying to vilify anyone in the faculty,” he said. “We would just like to delve a little deeper into why this is happening and how it’s affecting them [the students].”
Abelson and Lavoie have created a fundraising page on www.indiegogo.com to raise money for the documentary. With 14 days left, the campaign has raised a little more than $2,000 of its $25,000 goal.
The money will be used for production costs, equipment costs and travel costs, Abelson said.
“We’re going to be at practices, in the wrestling room, at matches and we’ll see what these guys do around campus,” Abelson, who graduated from the University of Rhode Island in May with a journalism degree, said. “… We just want to be with the team and show who these guys on the team are.”
Abelson said he hopes the film will document the team’s progress over the final year, while portraying the team’s dedication to their school and their sport.
“Every sport takes commitment, but wrestling is a total hook, line and sinker passion,” he said. “These kids — they’ve given years of their life to BU.”
Abelson said wrestling coach Carl Adams is on board with the project. The two filmmakers will begin shooting in mid-September when practices begin.
The 2013-14 wrestling season ends in mid-March, so the film should be finished about a year from now, Abelson said. While the filmmakers are still unsure of whether the documentary will be posted online, he said they plan to submit their work to various festivals.
The title comes from a motto the team picked up from Adams after a tough match several years ago, Abelson said.
“We embrace that line,” he said. “‘It hurts to win.’ Nothing ever comes easy.”
Adams said when he was approached by Lavoie and Abelson, he was interested in the idea of an historical account of the wrestling team’s last season.
“My thought was that it would be really neat, if this was going to be our last season, to have a documentary on that season, especially because we have fifty-years plus of alumni who feel that we have an incredible group of kids in the program,” Adams said.
The filmmakers will be talking with teammates as well as with other members of the BU community, both past and present, Adams said.
“They’re going to document everything that happens when a school [team] is faced with the last season,” he said. “Also, they’re going to try portray the feeling of how this type of decision impacts everyone involved.”
Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences senior Kevin Innis, one of the wrestling team’s four captains, said he hopes the film will give the BU community a closer look at the wrestling program.
“Hopefully it [the film] gives some people more insight to BU wrestling and how we put it on the line everyday,” he said.
The team has been protesting BU’s decision to cut the program by using social media and word of mouth to gain support from parents, alumni and fellow athletes, Innis said.
“As long as we’re still here, we are going to be fighting for it [the wrestling program],” he said. “Since the day that we got the news, we’ve been going to work to save it. It’s been a non-stop work-in-progress.”