Wrestling A Giant    Sports teach important life lessons; mainly that there is a hierarchy and you are not on top of it. My wrestling career did not start out the best. My high school wrestling coach had this notion that if he could get elementary school boys interested in grappling if he held a week long, after school camp for fifth and sixth graders. The last evening you would be wrestling in front of your parents one, two or three times. Think of herding cats, but with tears and little boys farting on each other.   Since I was one of the larger kids in the school, my opponent was usually my best friend. With my future high school coach looking, my parents in the crowd, dressed in 80s shorts and a t-shirt, I took on my best friend. If you don’t remember 1980s fashion, every male wore form fitting, aka tight, shorts, so tight nothing was left to the imagination. My shorts and t-shirt were worn out hand me downs. When you have more siblings than clowns pouring out of a clown car, when you are the last boy, you are just happy if there is any elastic left in the underwear.   Going into the second period, I was ahead when I shot at my friend’s legs for a take down. As we were both falling to the mat, I suddenly turned and threw myself onto my back and quietly informed my friend to pin me as quickly as possible, which he did.   Walking with small steps, with my back to the brick gymnasium wall, I shook my friend’s hand and made my way to the sidelines.     Suddenly, my future high school coach was standing before me, sixth grade me, before I was even off the mat, and he wanted to talk to me.   “You did well, son. You have a real future in wrestling, but can I ask why you threw yourself onto your back to get pinned,” he said.   I replied, “Thank you, coach. Hum… I split my shorts and did not want to shoot a full moon to the crowd.”   Looking at me and then leaning over my shoulder to survey the situation, he said, “I think you better take my towel, wrap it around you, and go to the locker room and change. I can see flesh and I am pretty sure some of the elderly women nearby will see it as well in a minute or two.”   I would love to say that splitting my shorts open was the most embarrassing moment I ever had on the wrestling mat, but it probably was not even in the top ten. My class was probably on the bottom of the athletic gene pool and that is where we probably would have drowned. Still, our coaches worked hard and some of us were actually above average wrestlers. In junior high, in meets, you were matched up with the kids from the other school closest to you in weight   It was especially hard to match up the bigger kids. No parent wanted to show up and watch their kid just sit there, but at 160 pounds, there were times I just sat there. Against the city of Nevada, I thought it was going to be one of the meets I just sat there.   While awaiting the National Anthem, my junior high coach walked up besides me and informed me that I had a match. “Who, coach?” I asked. “Kid on the left end,” he replied.   I look at the left end of their lineup. All I saw were the coaches, including one coach the size of a mountain, who looked fresh out of prison. I must have gotten my left and right mixed up.  All the kids on the opposite end of the line weighed what I had in second grade.   Confused, I asked my coach, “Where, coach?” He pointed his finger at the coaches.  “All I see are three coaches standing there,” I replied. He pointed again at the “coach” who looked cut out of granite. He must gargle razorblades after brushing his teeth. It was then I realized this guy, who looked like Superman’s younger brother, was in eighth grade.   Not only was he in eighth grade, but also his parents had named him Stacy. I was pretty sure it was for the same reasons the dad in the Johnny Cash song had named his boy, Sue. "Son, this world is rough And if a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough And I knew I wouldn't be there to help ya along. So I give ya that name and I said goodbye I knew you'd have to get tough or die And it's the name that helped to make you strong."   At that moment, someone could have also convinced me that this mini-hulk killed a man just to watch him die. He outweighed me by thirty pounds, looked like a Greek god, and, well, I looked like a typical 8 th  grader with bad acne and hair so oily that I would not have been surprised if Exxon tried to get drilling rights for the hair on my head.   Now, that would have been enough, but my coach then added, “No one has ever gone three periods with him and no one has ever scored on him. Good luck.” The worst part of being the largest kid on a wrestling team back then is you always went last. So, I felt like a prisoner on death row waiting to walk the last mile. I swear I heard my teammates shout out “dead man walking” as I walked onto the mat.   If I learned anything that afternoon, as I looked up at my opponent, it is that all men are not created equal. I was probably the aftermath of a cold night, with nothing good on the television, between a Norwegian husband and wife. He surely was created in a secret government laboratory involving a classified super soldier serum and gamma rays.   With my future high school coaches looking on, the whistle sounded, this inspiration for Joe Kirby’s superheroes came charging at me, and my backside puckered. I would love to say I went out and destroyed him, but I was leaving claw marks dug into the mat from the times he pulled me back on.    With nothing else working, I decided to give him a little slap, okay, a hard slap, on the face to get his attention. It was not the brightest idea I ever had. As I got thrown off the mat, I turned to my future coaches to ask what I should do. They just shrugged their shoulders as if they knew I was Curly and there was no way I was going to avoid Moe poking me in the eyes as the blows rained down on me.   On the positive side, I scored a couple of points. So, I guess I had achieved a moral victory, but moral victories are like going to the prom with your cousin. You can take some solace, in that you went to the dance with a woman, but you are not about to pull out the pictures anytime soon.   Now, my coaches have different memories of the next few minutes. They claim I pinned the giant, but this is the real world. He even gave me a promise ring to make me his future prison wife.   Now I would love for there to be some great moral lesson in this story, like if you give your best, you can topple giants. Most of the time you just get beaten within an inch of your life. Still, you got to try, especially when you are forced to by coaches. I have been told that match helped build my character. Character is overrated.
Wrestling A Giant    Sports teach important life lessons; mainly that there is a hierarchy and you are not on top of it. My wrestling career did not start out the best. My high school wrestling coach had this notion that if he could get elementary school boys interested in grappling if he held a week long, after school camp for fifth and sixth graders. The last evening you would be wrestling in front of your parents one, two or three times. Think of herding cats, but with tears and little boys farting on each other.   Since I was one of the larger kids in the school, my opponent was usually my best friend. With my future high school coach looking, my parents in the crowd, dressed in 80s shorts and a t-shirt, I took on my best friend. If you don’t remember 1980s fashion, every male wore form fitting, aka tight, shorts, so tight nothing was left to the imagination. My shorts and t-shirt were worn out hand me downs. When you have more siblings than clowns pouring out of a clown car, when you are the last boy, you are just happy if there is any elastic left in the underwear.   Going into the second period, I was ahead when I shot at my friend’s legs for a take down. As we were both falling to the mat, I suddenly turned and threw myself onto my back and quietly informed my friend to pin me as quickly as possible, which he did.   Walking with small steps, with my back to the brick gymnasium wall, I shook my friend’s hand and made my way to the sidelines.     Suddenly, my future high school coach was standing before me, sixth grade me, before I was even off the mat, and he wanted to talk to me.   “You did well, son. You have a real future in wrestling, but can I ask why you threw yourself onto your back to get pinned,” he said.   I replied, “Thank you, coach. Hum… I split my shorts and did not want to shoot a full moon to the crowd.”   Looking at me and then leaning over my shoulder to survey the situation, he said, “I think you better take my towel, wrap it around you, and go to the locker room and change. I can see flesh and I am pretty sure some of the elderly women nearby will see it as well in a minute or two.”   I would love to say that splitting my shorts open was the most embarrassing moment I ever had on the wrestling mat, but it probably was not even in the top ten. My class was probably on the bottom of the athletic gene pool and that is where we probably would have drowned. Still, our coaches worked hard and some of us were actually above average wrestlers. In junior high, in meets, you were matched up with the kids from the other school closest to you in weight   It was especially hard to match up the bigger kids. No parent wanted to show up and watch their kid just sit there, but at 160 pounds, there were times I just sat there. Against the city of Nevada, I thought it was going to be one of the meets I just sat there.   While awaiting the National Anthem, my junior high coach walked up besides me and informed me that I had a match. “Who, coach?” I asked. “Kid on the left end,” he replied.   I look at the left end of their lineup. All I saw were the coaches, including one coach the size of a mountain, who looked fresh out of prison. I must have gotten my left and right mixed up.  All the kids on the opposite end of the line weighed what I had in second grade.   Confused, I asked my coach, “Where, coach?” He pointed his finger at the coaches.  “All I see are three coaches standing there,” I replied. He pointed again at the “coach” who looked cut out of granite. He must gargle razorblades after brushing his teeth. It was then I realized this guy, who looked like Superman’s younger brother, was in eighth grade.   Not only was he in eighth grade, but also his parents had named him Stacy. I was pretty sure it was for the same reasons the dad in the Johnny Cash song had named his boy, Sue. "Son, this world is rough And if a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough And I knew I wouldn't be there to help ya along. So I give ya that name and I said goodbye I knew you'd have to get tough or die And it's the name that helped to make you strong."   At that moment, someone could have also convinced me that this mini-hulk killed a man just to watch him die. He outweighed me by thirty pounds, looked like a Greek god, and, well, I looked like a typical 8 th  grader with bad acne and hair so oily that I would not have been surprised if Exxon tried to get drilling rights for the hair on my head.   Now, that would have been enough, but my coach then added, “No one has ever gone three periods with him and no one has ever scored on him. Good luck.” The worst part of being the largest kid on a wrestling team back then is you always went last. So, I felt like a prisoner on death row waiting to walk the last mile. I swear I heard my teammates shout out “dead man walking” as I walked onto the mat.   If I learned anything that afternoon, as I looked up at my opponent, it is that all men are not created equal. I was probably the aftermath of a cold night, with nothing good on the television, between a Norwegian husband and wife. He surely was created in a secret government laboratory involving a classified super soldier serum and gamma rays.   With my future high school coaches looking on, the whistle sounded, this inspiration for Joe Kirby’s superheroes came charging at me, and my backside puckered. I would love to say I went out and destroyed him, but I was leaving claw marks dug into the mat from the times he pulled me back on.    With nothing else working, I decided to give him a little slap, okay, a hard slap, on the face to get his attention. It was not the brightest idea I ever had. As I got thrown off the mat, I turned to my future coaches to ask what I should do. They just shrugged their shoulders as if they knew I was Curly and there was no way I was going to avoid Moe poking me in the eyes as the blows rained down on me.   On the positive side, I scored a couple of points. So, I guess I had achieved a moral victory, but moral victories are like going to the prom with your cousin. You can take some solace, in that you went to the dance with a woman, but you are not about to pull out the pictures anytime soon.   Now, my coaches have different memories of the next few minutes. They claim I pinned the giant, but this is the real world. He even gave me a promise ring to make me his future prison wife.   Now I would love for there to be some great moral lesson in this story, like if you give your best, you can topple giants. Most of the time you just get beaten within an inch of your life. Still, you got to try, especially when you are forced to by coaches. I have been told that match helped build my character. Character is overrated.