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Diary of a Champion

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Hey guys, I found my diary from way back in high school and thought I'd share with you the entries related to wrestling.

 

Entry #1

 

Dear Diary,

 

I have to pick a sport or else the 'rents are gonna make me get an after school job. Dad says he's real tired of coming home and seeing me lounging on the sofa all day playing Zeltar on my Atari. This totally sucks. I saw some lame movie where this lanky dude pins some other dude who carries telephone polls up the bleachers and their practices didn't seem so bad...I mean the lanky dude climbed up a board with some pegs and everyone was cheering like he scaled Mt. Everest or something. Anyway I'm gonna show up tomorrow to practice, throw some "wrestlers" around like in that movie, and be home by dinner time.

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A bizarre hybrid combination of this attitude along with Wesley "Wes" Wesley's wrestling philosophy and technique would surely get our freestyle World Team back on track. Coach Jones just isn't willing to take the painful steps necessary to achieve greatness as clearly evidenced by his disregarding Wes Wesley's attempt to try out for the team.

 

http://www.flowrestling.org/videos/cove ... -the-dream

 

It makes me sad that we have such an incredible wealth of wrestling knowledge in this country, and instead we use coaches who have never competed in the Afton Quadrangular or been booed nearly as loud as DF, not to mention His Holiness Jadidi. What does John Smith know about "Red Alert" or cheap tilts? His leg laces weren't remotely close to cheap. It's a true shame.

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Dont lump DF in with Mr. Wesley.

 

I never claimed they were remotely similar, that's why the "bizarre hybrid combination" that has heretofore been undiscovered would be so distinguished and effective.

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Entry #2

 

Dear Diary,

 

Wrestling practice starts at 3:00 PM. I strolled in at around 3:30ish, past the abundant foliage covering the main buildings of campus, their once lush leaves now drying in the coming winter air, to some room behind the gym that looked like an abandoned bunker. Inside I found a spartan like atmosphere, covered wall-to-wall with mats and not much else except the motley collection of wrestlers contorted in a variety of different ways as they battled in what seemed like a complicated dance to attain the most advantageous position.

 

"Hey dude, where do I sign up for this wrestlng thing?" I said to some guy who was standing off to the side and who seemed to be wider than he was taller.

 

"You gotta talk to Coach. He's over there running the drills."

 

I swaggered over to the other side of this desolate room, toward the man who they simply called "Coach". I had heard about him before. We all had. Rumors and innuendos had been swirling around school about him for a while now. Word in the hallowed hallways and homerooms was that he used to be big, the real deal they said. Nobody was sure what to believe. Until a student found a video of him from way back in the 60s or 70s. In this grainy, choppy video was the younger version of the man now standing before me. Up by 1 point with about 30 seconds to go for a national college title, his wiley opponent shot in on a leg. Coach fought like a banshee, until just at the buzzer the ref screamed "Twooooo!" as he lofted his hand overhead with two fingers extended. You could literally see for yourself the exact moment on the video where Coach broke psychologically and slumped to the mat as the crowd simultaneously rose to its feet in wild ecstasy for his opponent.

 

That dour expression still seemed to linger in his persona, still a broken man after all these years, as I piped up "Hey Coach, I wanna wrestle."

 

He didn't even look at me. Maybe he didn't hear me. After all, how much could he possibly hear out of those two wadded up pieces of chewing gum that he had for ears. But before I could draw his attention again, I heard his low, almost inaudible voice.

 

"Practice starts at 3. You're late."

 

"Yeah well ok, so what do I have to do to wrestle and stuff?"

 

"Come back tomorrow at 3 sharp if you're serious. With a pair of wrestling shoes. Or don't come back at all."

 

With that he turned and made his way to the other side of the room where two of the heavier wrestlers were embarked in a precarious position, until one of them seemed to quit and let the other have the takedown.

 

With that a switch seemed to turn on with Coach. That soft voice I heard from him just moments ago turned in a vociferous yell like I'd never heard emanate from a man before.

 

"YOU DON'T QUIT LIKE THAT! YOU DON'T STOP WRESTLING AND GIVE HIM THE TAKEDOWN! GET UP! START SPRINTING. YOU'RE GONNA DO WIND SPRINTS ACROSS THIS ROOM UNTIL YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT REGRET MEANS!"

 

I could tell Coach wasn't so much yelling at this hapless wrestler as he was at himself for a regret that not even the passage of time had dampered.

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I just don't get it. Maybe I am thinking too much into DF's posts, but I just don't find them near as funny as most people. I get the light heartedness he puts into, and have tried to find the humor in the constant anti-heroic effort stuff, but can't get into it. I like the fact that he brings humor to many here, just not my thing I guess.

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Entry #3

 

Dear Diary,

 

Today I told dad about wanting to wrestle. It was after supper and I found him out back in the shed where he goes to do some woodworking and get away from it all. My old man's a real workhorse, been grinding away for the past few decades down at the plant, ever since they put a rifle in his hands and sent him off to 'Nam.

 

"Dad."

 

"Yes, son."

 

"Dad, I've decided I wanna wrestle."

 

Those words seemed to stop him right proper in this tracks.

 

"Son, now you know I've always encourgaged you in your endeavors and all...but wrestling...are you sure?

 

"Yes sir. I talked to the Coach today and he says for me to come back tomorrow with some wrestling shoes if I'm serious."

 

"What about basketball? You have a real talent for it. Remember how all those recruiters were after you saying they've never seen such a natural talent for the sport. They said you keep at it and you'd be lookin' at a full-ride scholarship to a big college, maybe even the pros. There's a lot of future in basketball, son."

 

"Dad, b-ball is too easy for me. There's no challenge. I was scoring at will against the best this state had. I think wrestling will be something that will really challenge me."

 

The old man put down his hammer and furrowed his brow as if in deep contemplation.

 

"Son, I want you to listen real close to me."

 

I had seen that expression before. In fact, it was the same expression I had seen earlier today on Coach when he saw his wrestler give up that takedown.

 

"There are few things in this life that get to a man more than regret. Before I got into that little hometown jam and they shipped me off to a foreign land, I was on track and the world was my oyster. But coming back home all I could do was find work at this here refinery down in the shadow of the penitentiary. Son, don't you understand, if it was up to me, I wouldn't leave basketball for wrestling. Because ten years down the road that sport may leave you with nowhere to run and nowhere to go."

 

Dad was a man of few emotions, but I could tell right here and now he was looking out for his son the best he could. I was at a threshold. My old man was nudging me toward one fork in the road, while I was leaning towards the other.

 

"Dad" I said, fighting back a knot in my throat, "I'm sure I want to be a wrestler and I'm certain I will never regret this decision."

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I wonder who will play Coach when "Diary of a Champion" is made into a movie...

x

041687_27.jpg

 

Mr. Woodcock: You're going to find out there are alot more important things to know than the wrestling silver medalist at 100 kg in the 1996 Olympic Games. Nedderman, who's the wrestling silver medalist at 100 kg in the 1996 Olympic Games?

 

Young Nedderman: Abbas Jadidi?

 

Mr. Woodcock: Who cares? Go run a lap!

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Entry #4

 

Dear Diary,

 

Today was my first day of practice. Yesterday I went down to the sporting goods store to get a pair of wrestling shoes. I struck up a conversation with the guy stocking the backshelves and it turns out he was a former NCAA champ. What a coincidence! I also got a tight haircut. I told the barber to shave the sides and leave the top long. My barber is an old man who's tougher than an old boot, saw a lot of action in WWII, and he really let me have it for asking for a haircut like the Germans he fought back in the day. But a nice tip later and all was well.

 

Practice was something else. We started with some light warm-ups and it went all downhill from there. Coach didn't care it was my first day. He threw me right into the mix. I honestly didn't know what I was doing. Coach says I'll learn as I go along. But he says I'm a natural at what they call a "tilt" or something. Guys in the room were saying it's the cheapest move in all of wrestling, but whatever. I hit it a couple of times without even trying. We end all practices with hard conditioning. I was so exhausted that I collapsed in the middle of wind sprints and a teammate stood over me and counted me out like the ref does to a fallen boxer.

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Entry #5

 

Dear Diary,

 

Last night I slept and dreamt a dreary dream. Through the haze and fog a lone figure appeared within a dark tunnel. He seemed so very alone, an island upon himself. Two empty chairs stood nearby. A heavily mustached man sat quietly amidst the crowd. I sensed a strange and foreboding feeling that he would play a pivotal role somewhere. In the background, a soft whisper kept repeating "Upside down and backwards, the **** goalie never knew what the **** hit him" over and over again. I woke up with the sheets soaking wet and it's like someone took a knife baby edgy and dull and cut a six-inch valley through the middle of my soul.

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Entry #6

 

Today we scheduled wrestle offs. These past few weeks I've gotten more adept at this sport, and even though I'm 2nd-string JV I think I'm ready to challenge the varsity guy in my weight for top spot. Coach went down the weight classes asking if anybody wanted to wrestle off, and surprisingly nobody wanted to do such. When he got to my weight, there was a brief pause, as I leaned up against the doorway very nonchalantly...

 

Me: "I'm your huckleberry."

Coach: "You're not ready to wrestle for varsity yet."

Me: "I beg to differ, sir. You said come back with wrestling shoes if you're serious, remember?

Coach: "Oh that. I was just foolin' about."

Me: "I wasn't."

 

I wrestle off for varsity spot tomorrow.

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