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Merrillville’s Maldonado family producing wrestling training videos on Facebook
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Merrillville’s Maldonado family producing wrestling training videos on Facebook

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Merrillville wrestling coach David Maldonado isn’t even on Facebook, but he’s turned into quite a popular guy.

Always super busy with teaching, coaching or chasing his three sons around, Maldonado can’t sit still. It’s just not in his nature.

The longtime wrestling coach decided to do something positive and productive for all the kids, the way that was instilled into him by his parents.

With the blessing of Merrillville Pirates Wrestling Club president Al Padilla, Maldonado turned his basement into a virtual wrestling training room, still following the stay-at-home coronavirus pandemic stay-at-home orders. He’s putting wrestling videos on Facebook live on the wrestling club’s page.

With the help of his three sons, Maldonado and crew have Facebook Live wrestling training sessions every Tuesday and Thursday from 6-7:30 p.m.

“We had these two 10x10 wrestling mats in the basement that we never used, except for Nerf gun wars or playing around, but we cleaned up the backroom and starting filming,” Maldonado said.

“At this point in my career I just want to improve wrestling and help kids get better.”

Maldonado, a 1993 state champion at EC Central, has seen the results improve each session. The former Iowa State wrestler said the first one in late March had over 1,600 views and he reached over 4,000 views on another one in early April.

His oldest son, Jacob, does the filming. The Merrillville senior, who finished sixth in the state at 145 pounds and was the Ward E. Brown Mental Attitude Award winner, is headed to Wabash College to play soccer. Maldonado’s other two sons, David Jr., a freshman at Merrillville and semistate qualifier with a 4.0 grade-point average, and Matthew, a seventh-grader at St. Mary’s in Griffith, are dad’s apprentices on the mat for the videos.

“To be honest, if I could just coach wrestling that would be my dream job,” said coach Maldonado, who also teaches Spanish at Merrillville and just completed his 20th season coaching at the school.

After each Facebook Live video, Maldonado has a short question-and-answer period for the viewers.

After one of his most recent training videos, Maldonado said someone asked, “How do you keep your passion for wrestling?”

“I love wrestling and I don’t know it any other way than giving it 100 percent,” Maldonado said. “I still have the same love, passion and drive for wrestling as I did as a kid.”

Maldonado, who also spent two seasons as the coach at Bishop Noll, is just as proud about the sport as he is of his passion being passed on to his former pupils.

Daniel Bedoy (Andrean), Bobby Joe Maldonado (Bishop Noll), Adam Garcia (Griffith), Brian Hrabovsky (Merrillville) and Mike Garza (Lake Central) are some of his former wrestlers coaching in the area.

“I also have six former Merrillville wrestlers with kids in our club now,” Maldonado said. “I’m really a big believer in karma, man.

“If you give to the universe, it will give back to you.”

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