In this episode of the podcast we get the chance to speak with Ed Schneider, who brings a wealth of experience and perspective to the Beat the Streets community. Ed began his career as a coach in the late 1980s at the Police Athletic League (PAL). And over the years, he has worked with thousands of student athletes and impacted so many lives.
Ed is a legend in the Philadelphia wrestling community for the impact he has had both on and off the mat. “If anyone's been in the sport of wrestling in and around Philadelphia, they know him,” said BTS Philly Executive Director James Mangan. He was recently inducted into the Pennsylvania Wrestling Hall of Fame for his achievements as a coach.
Ed began his wrestling career at North Catholic where his coach instilled in him the belief that “you can beat anybody, anyone is capable of being beaten.” That philosophy, according to Schneider, is the essence of Philadelphia wrestling: scrappiness and a desire to win.
At the PAL, Ed created a lot of the foundation upon which Beat the Streets was built. In his early days, Ed explains, “The challenge was to find good people who knew how to work with kids, and wanted to coach. Good people you can trust to show up and provide consistency.”
When Beat the Streets was still in its infancy, they approached Ed about supporting his work with Philadelphia wrestling. But he wasn't so sure at first.
“Lots of people have promised us everything, but nobody ever came through on the bigger financial level,” he said. So he was surprised when they returned and began funding the PAL, giving new opportunities to the new generation of wrestlers.
As an educator and coach, he loved the idea of Beat the Streets. “They want Philadelphia Beat the Streets to be this hub of wrestling and then provide education and help kids with school.”
Over the years, he has seen the program grow and develop and he continues to be inspired by the student athletes he works with. “You just need to give them the resources to chase it, and they'll amaze you with what they'll accomplish.”
“Wrestling is a cycle,” Ed pointed out, “you get a good group batch, and then you have a couple down years, then you get a good batch again. Well, resulting from Beat the Streets, the good batches just kept on coming.”