"Once you've wrestled, everything in life is easy." - Dan Gable
ANNOUNCEMENT: On Sunday, January 7th, Barnegat will be wrestling New Milford at the Rutgers Athletic Center before the Scarlet Knights host #2 Ohio State in a Big 10 showdown. This will be a PACKED event and is a great chance to support one of our own, as well as Rutgers. You can get tickets through Barnegat HS by calling 609-660-7510 x7002, or by emailing Coach MacIver at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't miss out!
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 21st
How come I didn't mention yesterday was the first day of practice? Honestly, I didn't want to think about. The thought of everyone getting back on the mats, getting in shape, and starting to focus on their weight for the season can sometimes really drag me down when I'm working on my fourth plate of turkey on Thanksgiving. Actually, I forgot. I'm still used to first practice of the year being on the Friday after Thanksgiving at 8am, and I'm pretty sure that ended like 10-15 years ago. We also wrestled when there was snow on the ground, wrestled on mats that were taped together in sections, gave our ringworm cute names, and had headphones that were actually smaller than our headgear.
With a lull in the college action due to the holiday, I'll be quiet here on the main page for the next few days, but I'll leave you with a story that some of you older fans may, or may not, find interesting or even mildly entertaining.
March, 1994. Atlantic City. Jon Frent of Ocean Township is in the State Tournament as the #2 or #3 seed at 135. At this point, Ocean had only one wrestler ever make the podium at States, and that was a 3rd place finish back in 1981. We're all really pumped that not only does Frent have a chance to medal, but he has a great shot at winning it all, with only #1 seed Brett Matter of Delran seen as the major obstacle.
After weigh-ins, we hit the McDonald's that used to be on the pier and stuffed our faces with delicious fried grease patties, while Jon and Woo Jae Lee, who also qualified for the tournament that season, watch us with absolute disdain. On a side note, one of the great ways to build team "unity" during wrestling season was to torment Frent by constantly putting McDonald's hamburgers in his locker, his wrestling bag, his mailbox at home, and his varsity jacket, among other places. Someone may have even loaded his wrestling shoes with fries and McNuggets once, but I won't admit to that.
Anyway... we head back to the room, Jon, Woo, Andrew Klapholz, and myself, and decide to have a contest to see who can pick the most State Champs. Everything is going fine until we hit 135. I pick Jon Frent. Andrew picks Jon Frent. Woo picks Jon Frent. Jon Frent picks... Brett Matter. Long story short, the finals come around, and it's Matter vs. Frent at 135, with Matter winning either 6-3 or 6-5. Frent loses the state final, but ultimately wins our State Champs pool by a single point, finishing ahead of two of us by 1 champ.
To this day, I'm not 100% certain he didn't throw that match to get the ultimate prize, free McDonald's. We were in high school, where do you want us to eat? Spago? He was REALLY looking forward to being able to eat again, and one of the few things he enjoyed more than 25 cent hamburger Mondays at McDonald's, was FREE 25 cent hamburger Mondays at McDonald's. Of course, McDonald's Monday ALWAYS took a back seat to Sizzler Saturdays, where our 135-pounder would become our 152-pounder by the time we left. Good times. Miss ya, buddy.
State Championship Selection Contest. One of the first of my many, many losing year of picks.