If you have ever been to a Don Bosco wrestling event you have most likely seen Doug Reiter. You could always find him at home meets leaning up against the South wall. Doug was the type of guy who could stand somewhere by himself and within minutes he would be surrounded by a group of people talking and laughing. At tournaments or away meets you would find him in the front row with his soda and popcorn eyes glued to the mat. If you didn’t know who Doug was you probably would have a tough time figuring which kid was his because he cheered for every wrestler on the team. Any time a Bosco wrestler had his opponent on his back, you could hear Doug yelling, “OOOOOHHHHHH” similar to how football fans rally before a kickoff. He could rally a crowd with a few powerful words or find himself nearly speechless with nerves watching one of his own boys on the mat. You could periodically hear a, “Bart Reiter!” or whichever one of his sons was wrestling. Doug had a very contagious, pronounced laugh that stood out among any crowd. He was a leader, a role model, and the biggest supporter.
Doug had a great work ethic and it rubbed off on his entire family. Throughout the years and still today you would easily find one of his kids alongside him keeping the farming running. By trade, Doug built homes all around the area and he put his talents to work building the school a new wrestling room. He had a hand in almost everything involving wrestling. He is, arguably, the biggest reason a small class 1A school has a wrestling room that would rival almost any room across the state.
One thing most wrestlers will never forget are workouts Doug would run on the Reiter farm, most of them coming in addition to normal practice. He put many great wrestlers through a workout in his tiny wrestling room. The room was barely larger than most bathrooms. The walls were lined with brackets and trophies won by his boys at local tournaments. The clock never worked so you would lose track of time, but you always knew one thing for sure that the heater would be cranked. Upon a few occasions, six or more guys would pack that room and scrap. Doug would find a way to make it work.
Doug’s generosity didn’t stop inside the walls of the wrestling room. Every year the kids club would take a group of wrestlers down to Tulsa, Oklahoma for Nationals. Doug organized and led the group down there for many years and even after he passed the torch he still would pay for the first tank of gas in the vans. Doug Reiter was a staple of the Don Bosco community in so many more ways.
He was a master with his motivational speeches and when he talked you listened. If you were fortunate enough to be the recipient of one of his pep talks you knew he believed in you. He had a way of being able to calm your nerves and fire you up at the same time.
Doug is gone too soon, but he took full advantage of what time he had here helping others.
He may no longer physically be here, but you can still see him in all of his work in everything that is Don Bosco Wrestling. Doug didn’t lose the battle to brain cancer. He fought it and won every day since his diagnosis. Some were days were tougher battles than others. But now the Don Bosco community has another angel watching over them cheering from the best seat in the house.
(Special thanks to Todd Becker, Cole Welter, and Jacki Schares)