USA Wrestling Beat the Streets con...

Beat the Streets concludes ‘Million Minutes Challenge’ with celebration and auction Friday at 6 pm ET

By Beat the Streets National | May 29, 2020, 4:33 p.m. (ET)

Following the completion of the nationwide Million Minutes Challenge last week, Beat the Streets will host a celebration and auction at 6 pm E.T. this Friday, May 29 through Zoom and Facebook Live.

The event, which is open to members of all 12 BTS cities, will celebrate the one million minutes of self-improvement logged by the wrestling community over the last two months. While in-person programming has halted for the time being, student-athletes have continued to work hard remotely by participating in BTS daily Instagram challenges, enrichment opportunities, and weekly ‘Saturday Sweat’ live workouts with nationally renowned clinicians.

According to BTS Providence Director of Girls Development Jacque Davis, the Million Minutes Challenge provided a sense of community during a time where programs went from 100 percent in-person interaction to none at all.

“It was important for all of us to feel like we had a family to work through this together and we needed to have tangible proof that we were not allowing COVID to beat us,” Davis said. “Tracking our engagement minutes was that tangible proof.”

Davis delivered over 40 hours of coaches education to her juniors and seniors through the USA Wrestling Bronze Certification program as one of her initiatives during remote programming.

At the online celebration—which will include Helen Maroulis and Tamyra Mensah-Stock as attendees—there will be a dance party and awards ceremony recognizing the top three most engaged student-athletes in each city.

Jessica Kemgne, the top Million Minutes contributor from BTS New York who logged just under 11,000 minutes, said the challenge helped her maintain both physical and mental focus during her time in quarantine.

“I wanted to push myself and prove to myself that I can be accountable for my actions,” Kemgne said. “I want to prove that I can do things without people around me.”

Additionally, an auction will go live immediately following the celebration and run for two weeks until June 12. Featured items include the signed warmups and singlets worn by Jordan Burroughs and J’Den Cox at the 2019 BTS New York Benefit. Also up for grabs are VIP tickets to next year’s 2021 Benefit, as well as the opportunity to bring James Greene and Isaiah Martinez to the winning bidder’s local wrestling room.

Proceeds from the auction will go directly toward the fight for keeping wrestling programs alive during this unprecedented time. As budgets are whittled down amid the COVID-19 pandemic, countless scholastic wrestling teams and afterschool programs are slated to be cut.

Mike Powell, Executive Director at BTS Chicago, expects less than 25 out of this year’s 35 public school wrestling programs in Chicago to remain.

“We in urban areas and inner cities are going to be the hardest hit,” Powell said. “This is going to accelerate what is already happening—the decay of sports in inner cities.”

In regards to the future of wrestling, Powell says there are currently too many unknowns to account for.

“The health of our sport is in question right now,” Powell said. “Are people going to come back to our sport? Can we continue to grow wrestling on the trajectory it’s been on? Is it going to slow the progress of women’s wrestling?”

Davis echoes this same sentiment, believing the biggest challenge for the wrestling community right now to be the uncertainty of what and when a return to the wrestling room will look like.

“We all fell in love with the sport for different reasons, so it is scary to think that some of those reasons might be taken from us during this ‘new norm,’” Davis said. “It is also terrifying to think that the momentum and popularity we were gaining could be disrupted.”

Nonetheless, both Davis and Powell—along with all other BTS branches—are looking ahead with hope to rebuild the wrestling community not just as individual cities, but as a nationwide team.

“It’s been messy, but this was our first opportunity to coalesce all cities with a single goal,” Powell said. “We got to a million minutes. We are part of something bigger than us, and that’s a very cool thing.”

If you would like to support Beat the Streets, you can tune in to the live event, browse the online auction, or donate directly.