We Are The Champions

Posted: February 5, 2012 in family, humor, Life, Sports
Tags: , , , , , ,

The athletes restlessly pace on the sidelines, eyeing their opponents across the field of play. Some confident, others anxious but all with game faces firmly affixed. In the stands, a swath of team colors paints the crowd, even in the nosebleed seats where insignias are flyspecks. It’s Super Bowl Sunday…and we’re watching wrestling.

Long before the Patriots and the Giants took the field, the Tigers and the Buffalos and the Chargers and the Governors and other teams whose names I didn’t catch hit the mats for a youth wrestling tournament. Our nephew, Blaise, is in his first year with the Mobridge Tigers. He’s 8 but wrestles in the 9-10 division because of his weight. The kid’s a stick, but under their weird weight classes, he’d have to drop some pounds to wrestle with kids his own age. So he moved up a class but it’s alright; boy’s a scrapper.

I grew up watching All-Star Wrestling on T.V. during the Ivan Koloff-Andre the Giant-Mad Dog Vachon years; youth wrestling is nothing like that. Even the three-year-olds (seriously, they start THAT young) know that pile drivers and drop kicks and “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka body slams are against the rules. Like any sporting event, skills vary. Some of the matches are like schoolyard tussles, a lot of circling around and slap grabs and finally, they hit the floor for a pin. Then there are the kids that you know are going to be All-Staters when they get to high school. Like the six-year-old grappler who dispatched his opponent with all the textbook precision of a wrestler four times his age and size.

Though not all the wrestlers today were masters of the mat, they were on equal footing when it came to one thing: respect. After each match, didn’t matter what age group, the wrestlers shook their opponent’s hand then shook the hand of the opposing coach. When you’re a little kid and you didn’t win, it’s tough enough sometimes to walk off without bawling let alone having to congratulate the kid who beat you and the guy who taught him how to do it. But every wrestler today showed that respect, our nephew Blaise included, and I hope they never grow out of that practice.

Today two sets of dedicated athletes vied for greatness: the first for ribboned medals and maybe their favorite fast food meal on the way home, and the second for a coveted trophy and wads of cash ($88,000 per winner, $44,000 per loser – hell, sign me up to be a loser, I’d even be happy with that). No matter how you played the game today, you’re all winners in my book. Well, except for you, Patriots…YAY GIANTS!

Blaise "Bonecrusher" Thompson with his 4th place medal

  1. Sounds like a long but well-spent Super Bowl Sunday!

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