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The smell of the wrestling mat, you all know it.  That familiar combination of Polyethylene foam, disinfectant, human sweat.  Laced with the smell of athletic tape and the aroma of popcorn.  I'm about to step onto the mat against a salty opponent, but I'm not nervous at all, I'm calm/at peace...he's really good, but I'm better.  I feel loose, bouncing lightly on the balls of my feet, doing the wrestler's version of the Twist dance.  The crowd is making noise and birds are chirping, but then, that doesn't make sense, birds in the gymnasium?  I hear a dog bark once, and the gym scene narrows and fades into a fog.


I am slowly waking from a dream, still feeling good, ready to wrestle...my brain is rebooting from dream to reality with the speed of a Commodore 64...first I realize I'm not in the gym, but laying in bed, but that's ok because I can still get up and wrestle.  But then my mind tells me it's not 1983, not even '93 when I was 36 and could still roll around... years click forward, through the 90's, 2000's, 2010's, like frames of film, until I reach the humble realization that it is 2020 and I'm 62 years old, not bouncing on deck at a wrestling meet.

 
A notion sparks, that I could get back in shape! I've still got eligibility!   Until my Commodore pulls up inventory: a knee that hurts every day, a busted shoulder, a wrist that hardly bends and broken, arthritic fingers, AND  25 pounds of emergency rations in a roll of fat around my belly.  The spark is snuffed out. The sad fact settles in, that I'll never, ever, compete again.

I've had vivid wrestling dreams where a guy shoots in and I'm countering so fast that my reaction beats the thought to my brain.  I can do moves I've never done, like Vincenzo or Chandler, stuff I was never any good at. 

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But then I wake up, spend a full minute working the pins and needles out of my left arm and limp to the kitchen for a cup of coffee.  I rub my eyes, but can't clear the glaucoma.  
Sometimes they are anxiety dreams, where they call my name to the mat and I can't find my head gear, or my shoes anywhere.  In those dreams I never get to step onto the mat. But after all my wrestling dreams I am left with one comforting thought; because of wrestling, I'm tough and resilient....and pretty sure I could still pin WillieBoy. 

photo-thumb-28765.jpg

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I'm afraid I would prefer the old horse hair mats covered with the wrinkly plastic sheet that could and would trip you at times when trying to make a move. The cheezy cheap tights and polyester shorts that never fit right. 60's was a fun time with Terry McCann and Doug Blubaugh. Gave one the idea that Olympic Wreslers wore cheezy glasses and must have had poor eyesight but were tough as nails. Then in College and Yojo was The Man in my weight class. All those great Japanese wrestlers - we couldn't get enough of them.

Gable came along but Military Service kept me away from watching him. Then life gets in the way with intermittent duals seen from time to time in between climbing expeditions and other work related demands. A bit of refereeing on and off, baseball and wrestling both but not the time needed and moving around - just didn't fit.

As for mat time now? The knees won't do it. Shoulder damage from a damnable drunk driver limits other activity. At least I have work to do and it is enjoyable enough that "retirement" isn't something I'll ever see. If I was not doing it for pay I was doing it for pure enjoyment. Still check out wrestling a bit but more of it is following and watching online. Crowds and I just don't agree - closed in and loud noises...

Write more, your turn of the phrase is inspiring and enjoyable.

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9 hours ago, WillieBoy said:

I'm afraid I would prefer the old horse hair mats covered with the wrinkly plastic sheet that could and would trip you at times when trying to make a move. The cheezy cheap tights and polyester shorts that never fit right. 60's was a fun time with Terry McCann and Doug Blubaugh. Gave one the idea that Olympic Wreslers wore cheezy glasses and must have had poor eyesight but were tough as nails. Then in College and Yojo was The Man in my weight class. All those great Japanese wrestlers - we couldn't get enough of them.

Gable came along but Military Service kept me away from watching him. Then life gets in the way with intermittent duals seen from time to time in between climbing expeditions and other work related demands. A bit of refereeing on and off, baseball and wrestling both but not the time needed and moving around - just didn't fit.

As for mat time now? The knees won't do it. Shoulder damage from a damnable drunk driver limits other activity. At least I have work to do and it is enjoyable enough that "retirement" isn't something I'll ever see. If I was not doing it for pay I was doing it for pure enjoyment. Still check out wrestling a bit but more of it is following and watching online. Crowds and I just don't agree - closed in and loud noises...

Write more, your turn of the phrase is inspiring and enjoyable.

I went to the '72 Olympics when I was in the Army, but I didn't watch any wrestling.  Wish I could turn back the hands of time...

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On 2/12/2020 at 9:45 AM, MedicineMan said:

The smell of the wrestling mat, you all know it.  That familiar combination of Polyethylene foam, disinfectant, human sweat.  Laced with the smell of athletic tape and the aroma of popcorn.  I'm about to step onto the mat against a salty opponent, but I'm not nervous at all, I'm calm/at peace...he's really good, but I'm better.  I feel loose, bouncing lightly on the balls of my feet, doing the wrestler's version of the Twist dance.  The crowd is making noise and birds are chirping, but then, that doesn't make sense, birds in the gymnasium?  I hear a dog bark once, and the gym scene narrows and fades into a fog.


I am slowly waking from a dream, still feeling good, ready to wrestle...my brain is rebooting from dream to reality with the speed of a Commodore 64...first I realize I'm not in the gym, but laying in bed, but that's ok because I can still get up and wrestle.  But then my mind tells me it's not 1983, not even '93 when I was 36 and could still roll around... years click forward, through the 90's, 2000's, 2010's, like frames of film, until I reach the humble realization that it is 2020 and I'm 62 years old, not bouncing on deck at a wrestling meet.

 
A notion sparks, that I could get back in shape! I've still got eligibility!   Until my Commodore pulls up inventory: a knee that hurts every day, a busted shoulder, a wrist that hardly bends and broken, arthritic fingers, AND  25 pounds of emergency rations in a roll of fat around my belly.  The spark is snuffed out. The sad fact settles in, that I'll never, ever, compete again.

I've had vivid wrestling dreams where a guy shoots in and I'm countering so fast that my reaction beats the thought to my brain.  I can do moves I've never done, like Vincenzo or Chandler, stuff I was never any good at. 

49526005742_ca3c426cd9_o.gif

But then I wake up, spend a full minute working the pins and needles out of my left arm and limp to the kitchen for a cup of coffee.  I rub my eyes, but can't clear the glaucoma.  
Sometimes they are anxiety dreams, where they call my name to the mat and I can't find my head gear, or my shoes anywhere.  In those dreams I never get to step onto the mat. But after all my wrestling dreams I am left with one comforting thought; because of wrestling, I'm tough and resilient....and pretty sure I could still pin WillieBoy. 

photo-thumb-28765.jpg

I believe that each person will experience their own version of heaven.. what I have and experience will be different than what anyone else see's... One of the area's in my heaven is a giant wrestling room... its actually the area all the campers gathered at when I went to my first wrestling camp at North Carolina, led by Bill Lamm... The room is warm, but not to the point of being intolerable.. the mats are filled with wrestlers, all engaged in whatever they feel is best to be doing.. There are plenty of live groups of 3 and 4 going, another area with guys drilling hard, techniques crisp and perfect and reactions to match, and finally  in the center most portion of the arena where all of the greatest wrestlers and all of our heroes are waiting.. not just the John Smiths and Dan Gables, but also the kid that you never could quite beat in High school, the guy from some school you never heard of that beat you by one at states, the toughest guy in your college room that schooled everyone, the senior that destroyed you every day when you were just a freshman... there all waiting for you to step up and test yourself.. because here, in this place, its not about the winning or losing as much as it is about the joy of finding yourself in a scramble that lasts a few minutes or the feeling of weightlessness and perfection when your hit something perfectly, the pride you feel inside when you hit the wall and find something extra that allows you to push through and make it happen.. the final area is the small set of wooden bleachers for people who want to watch.. you realize as you walk closer that your biggest fans and supporter have been watching and the look on their faces tell you how proud and in awe they are.. because you are the wrestler you always pushed yourself to be, and that feels better than anything..

Edited by tim73135
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Wow, even in my dreams I still get beat.  Not only am I CONSCIOUSLY incompetent at wrestling, I am UNCONSCIOUSLY incompetent.  
 

oh yeah, and the women in my dreams reject me too.  
 

but I am blessed.  I can say I am living my dreams!   

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    Many thanks to all of you, sisters and brethren.  Do you guys have those wrestling dreams?   I hope Cptafw164 dreams he pins the state champ.

     In my years after wrestling there have been a few altercations off the mat, ( I work in a fairly "western" environment ) where my wrestling instincts and muscle memory have always given me victory.  Although not lately, as now I'm old enough that confrontations do not become physical.  But I have those dreams too, where some 240 pound bully throws a punch or reaches to grab the front of my shirt, and I use his forward momentum and foot sweep him to his back...and he turns docile in a hurry.

Dream on.

lincolnwrestling740.jpg

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28 minutes ago, MedicineMan said:

    Many thanks to all of you, sisters and brethren.  Do you guys have those wrestling dreams?   I hope Cptafw164 dreams he pins the state champ.

     In my years after wrestling there have been a few altercations off the mat, ( I work in a fairly "western" environment ) where my wrestling instincts and muscle memory have always given me victory.  Although not lately, as now I'm old enough that confrontations do not become physical.  But I have those dreams too, where some 240 pound bully throws a punch or reaches to grab the front of my shirt, and I use his forward momentum and foot sweep him to his back...and he turns docile in a hurry.

Dream on.

lincolnwrestling740.jpg

Gotta wonder,  if MM had a level 2 interception dream in KMF's dream, what would it look like? 

Dream (dream on) on.

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