Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
DF

My Journey to 2nd Place

Recommended Posts

Dear Friends,

 

Many of you are familiar with my quest to state titleship as a senior. Most of you, however, are not aware of a far more ominous achievement---that being my 2nd place finish at state the previous year. Without it I may have never won state as a senior. I would like to share with you that story now. Many lessons shall be learned of how a 2nd place finish propelled me to state titlehood the following year.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Down a desolate and lonely road, our team bused pulled up to the barren parking lot of the motel. The kind of place that would have no qualms about renting you a room by the hour if you so desired and seemed to always have a few shady characters loitering out front. This was where our school had decided to put us up the night before the state tournament. While other teams were staying at better establishments, we were going to be holed up at the kind of place where you go to sleep only after you pushed the dresser and a couple of chairs up against the bedroom door.

 

"You got to be joking. Is this where we're staying at?", I asked nobody in particular as I stared outside the bus window.

 

"Shut it Del. I don't want to hear any more of your complaining. Ever since we started this trip 8 hours ago all you've done is complain. Everybody get their bags and get out. We got a long day ahead of us as it is.", came a voice from the front of the bus. That voice belonging to the coach. He went 6 feet about 200 pounds even. Twenty or so pounds heavier than his prime competing weight. The kind of guy you knew was a wrestler just by looking at him. Strongest chap I ever had the displeasure of tying up with in the practice room. The kind of vice-like grip that said you were in trouble the moment you tied up with him.

 

The only thing worse than the outside of this motel was the inside. The decor was strictly 70's. Shag rugs and wood paneling for walls.

 

"This is bull$!#&", I muttered underneath my breath as I threw my bags on one end of the bed. The kind of bed with a coin slot at the other end for a groovy vibrating massage experience. If there was any silver lining to this fiasco it was that at least I got a single room all to myself. I took out my scale from my luggage, calibrated it to zero, and stepped on up.

 

"Oh sh--!" I yelled toward the general direction of the ancient TV set that was bolted down to the coffee table. Weigh in were 8 hours away and I was just as many pounds over...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A cool, calm breeze greeted me as I stepped out of my front door and into this one horse town. Tomorrow we'd be making our trek into the city where the tournament was being held. But for tonight I had to find a way to drop about eight pounds. Wearing my silver colored rubber sweat suit under about 5 layers of clothing, I was ready for probably the longest night of my wrestling career. I crept past the room where my coach was staying and took off down a dusty side road adjacent to the main highway.

 

The full moon was my shining light and savior that night, for it illuminated the way as my path, as well as my mood, grew darker and darker the further I travelled down this lonely road. The story of a wrestler personified. Always alone. There can be a hundred thousand people watching and just as many supporters or detractors in your corner, but out there on the mat you are always alone.

 

By now I was a few miles from where I had started my run. Drenched in sweat, the kind of free flowing sweat that only comes from trying to cut too much weight in too little time. When up ahead in the distance I saw a shimmering light. My legs were growing heavy and my spirit was growing dim, I had to stop for a while. The light was emanating from what looked like a tent. As I got closer I realized this wasn't just any ordinary tent, it was a tepee. I noticed somebody stood in the doorway, and I was thinking to myself this could be heaven or this could be hell.

 

The man in the doorway lit up a candle and showed me the way in. I was greeted by a circle of Indians chanting and drenched in more sweat that I was. A burly figure who looked like the Chief motioned over to me and said "We got plenty of room here, any time of year." I sat amongst them in the circle and started chanting and sweating more than I have ever before.

 

My mind was now definetly twisted. Nothing was making sense, uhhhh. I heard bongos beating and people dancing outside the tepee. Some dance to remember, I stall to the end. So I said to the Chief, "Please bring me my firewater." And he said "We haven't had a white man here since 1869."

 

We retired to the Chief's chambers where everybody was gathered for the feast. They stabbed at the delicious food with their steely knives, none of which I could eat! The last thing I remember I was running for the door. "Relax", said the Chief, "You can check out..."

 

I woke up drenched in a cold sweat to a loud, thunderous knock at my door. My coach's voice boomed behind the door, "We have to check out now, it's time to leave!"

 

It must have all been a glorious dream. Or was it? I scrambled out of bed and onto my scale. I was right on weight...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With all the weight control issues, I am really rooting for you to advance to the finals via three illegal self-slams and then not make weight for the finals.... not even make an effort to make it, just decide the other wrestler is better and not weigh in. But hey it's your novel...err...life story man.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our old, decrepit bus creaked up to the gymnasium parking lot. Most of the other school buses were already there, parked side by side like a phalanx of oversized yellow pills. I stepped out into the crisp morning air, only to duck into the stuffy weigh-in room a few feet ahead. The brackets were already up, plastered up along the walls by weight. I already knew I was ranked #1. I had beaten most of the other guys in my weight at various tournaments throughout the season. Except for the guy ranked second.

 

Word on the street was that he had dropped down two whole weight classes to meet me at state. When I first found out what he was up to, I showed up at one of his dual meets to scout him. He had to injury default to some dude with jerry curls because he kept getting nose bleeds during the match. I later confronted him in the bathroom as he was holding a wet towel to his still bleeding nose and told him how he couldn't hold his mud. Luckily for him, his girlfriend was there to defuse the situation.

 

I lined up to weigh in, and when it was my turn I exhaled a big breath and stepped up on the scale. The scale swayed up and down for what seemed like an eternity until finally it settled right dab in the middle. I was right on weight.

 

I picked up my stuff and went straight to my customary place in the upper corner of the bleachers. I didn't like to be amongst others during tournaments. Sometimes I'd drive to tournaments and sit out in my car between matches until my weight was called. And it wasn't too long before they called my weight. I usually didn't go down for the first or even the second call. Sometimes I'd wait until it was the final call before I got disqualified before I showed up. It was a good way to psych my opponents out.

 

My first opponent was a complete unknown to me. He was from a school I had never heard of before. Before I knew it we were at center mat and the ref had blown the whistle. He shot in right away. I hit my classic stonewall sprawl, and it put an immediate end to his hopes of getting the first takedown. But the guy was slick, and before I knew it I was upside down and backwards...I didn't know what hit me! I was on my back! I heard the announcer call it over the loudspeakers: THE #1 RANKED WRESTLER IS IN TROUBLE ON HIS BACK ON CENTER MAT! While looking up the ceiling lights I saw my opponent's coaches jumping up and down. The parts of the crowd I could see were also on their feet.

 

Strange thing about being on your back. Time and space seem to slow. You don't hear anything except maybe the sound of your own breathing. Sometimes your mind wanders to things completely unrelated to the battle your are engaged in. This particular time I couldn't help but notice my opponent's shoes. They were the exact same kind of shoes I wore as a freshman when I was just trying to make it in this sport. Got my first real six-striped Adidas that I bought at the five-and-dime. Wrestled in them 'til my feet bled, when I weighed 169. Back when me and some guys from school practiced real hard. But Jimmy quit and Jody got married. I'm surprised I even made it this far. Oh when I look back now, I wonder why my matches seem to last forever. And if I had the choice, yeah, I don't really want to be here. But it ain't no use in complaining when you got a match you're trying not to lose...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our old, decrepit bus creaked up to the gymnasium parking lot. Most of the other school buses were already there, parked side by side like a phalanx of oversized yellow pills. I stepped out into the crisp morning air, only to duck into the stuffy weigh-in room a few feet ahead. The brackets were already up, plastered up along the walls by weight. I already knew I was ranked #1. I had beaten most of the other guys in my weight at various tournaments throughout the season. Except for the guy ranked second.

 

Word on the street was that he had dropped down two whole weight classes to meet me at state. When I first found out what he was up to, I showed up at one of his dual meets to scout him. He had to injury default to some dude with jerry curls because he kept getting nose bleeds during the match. I later confronted him in the bathroom as he was holding a wet towel to his still bleeding nose and told him how he couldn't hold his mud. Luckily for him, his girlfriend was there to defuse the situation.

 

I lined up to weigh in, and when it was my turn I exhaled a big breath and stepped up on the scale. The scale swayed up and down for what seemed like an eternity until finally it settled right dab in the middle. I was right on weight.

 

I picked up my stuff and went straight to my customary place in the upper corner of the bleachers. I didn't like to be amongst others during tournaments. Sometimes I'd drive to tournaments and sit out in my car between matches until my weight was called. And it wasn't too long before they called my weight. I usually didn't go down for the first or even the second call. Sometimes I'd wait until it was the final call before I got disqualified before I showed up. It was a good way to psych my opponents out.

 

My first opponent was a complete unknown to me. He was from school I had never heard of before. Before I knew it we were at center mat and the ref had blown the whistle. He shot in right away. I hit my classic stonewall sprawl, and it put an immediate end to his hopes of getting the first takedown. But the guy was slick, and before I knew it I was upside down and backwards...I didn't know what hit me! I was on my back! I heard the announcer call it: THE #1 RANKED WRESTLER IS IN TROUBLE ON HIS BACK! While looking up the ceiling lights I saw my opponent's coaches jumping up and down. The parts of the crowd I could see were also on their feet.

 

Strange thing about being on your back. Time and space seem to slow. You don't hear anything except maybe the sound of your own breathing. Sometimes your mind wanders to things completely unrelated to the battle your are engaged in. In this particular time I couldn't help but notice my opponent's shoes. They were the exact same kind of shoes I wore as a freshman just trying to make it in this sport. Got my first real six-striped Adidas that I bought at the five-and-dime. Wrestled in them 'til my feet bled, when I weighed 169. Back when me and some guys from school practiced real hard. But Jimmy quit and Jody got married. I'm surprised I even made it this far. Oh when I look back now, I wonder my matches seem to last forever. And if I had the choice, yeah, I don't really want to be here. But it ain't no use in complaining when you got a match you're trying not to lose...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Strange thing about being on your back. Time and space seem to slow. You don't hear anything except maybe the sound of your own breathing. Sometimes your mind wanders to things completely unrelated to the battle your are engaged in. This particular time I couldn't help but notice my opponent's shoes. They were the exact same kind of shoes I wore as a freshman when I was just trying to make it in this sport. Got my first real six-striped Adidas that I bought at the five-and-dime. Wrestled in them 'til my feet bled, when I weighed 169. Back when me and some guys from school practiced real hard. But Jimmy quit and Jody got married. I'm surprised I even made it this far. Oh when I look back now, I wonder why my matches seem to last forever. And if I had the choice, yeah, I don't really want to be here. But it ain't no use in complaining when you got a match you're trying not to lose...

The bolded part sounds oddly familiar. Anybody know what song it's from?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...