Saturday, March 3, 2012

Wrestling with Self

As a youngster, I lived in a very small town. The school we went too, was the only one in town. The entire student population was about three hundred students. That’s all grades, kindergarten through the eighth. If you were interested in going to high school, it was about forty miles across the turnpike. We were told that the only kids that needed to go to high school were the ones that were good enough at sports, and those that were “just to damned lazy to work.” I tried my damnedest to have the skill to be an athlete. Some things you are born with, some well, you’re not. That is not to say that I was not athletic, I was, but Oklahoma State University was not looking real hard for my house, dig? I was actually involved with sports, starting with little league baseball, from the second grade, on. In seventh and eighth grades, I wrestled. That’s what this story is about.
Like I said before, as far as being as good as the other boys were in sports, sure, I was usually picked in the first ten or so. Nothing to be ashamed of, but, no career. Wrestling was different. Nobody, my weight class, could touch me in wrestling, nobody. I was completely undefeated all through seventh grade. I won every match by a pin, no match went the distance. Awesome, I had finally found a way to be the best. Notice, “in my weight class?” I say that because, I wasn’t the best wrestler, hell, I wasn’t very good, but I was 6′ 1”tall, 130 lbs. In eighth grade, very little difference in seventh. Tall and way too damned skinny, impossible for the other kids to get a grip on me. I could stretch straight out and no kid in the state that was in my weight class could beat me at wrestling. Ha, fact is, my matches were kind of like little comedy relief times at the meets. The other kid coming out, looking real surprised when he sees me. Then him not even knowing how to start, then me, mopping the floor with him. Seems a bit sad now but at the time, I loved it. Hell, I was undefeated! At the end of the seventh grade season, I got a trophy, I was pleased.
By the time the eighth grade season started, congress had passed some damn law about girls being able to participate in school sports, right along side the boys. If they could compete, gender could no longer be the reason they were refused. We had girls that made the baseball team, that was as bad as we ever thought it would get, we liked them, one of them in particular was an all-star. We,(I), never thought I’d be competing against a girl, in wrestling! (?) I mean, I never knew girls that wanted to beat up boys for some sick, twisted, already hating males right in junior high school, reasons. But, I found one, and I had to wrestle her at the very first meet, everybody would be there, every kid in school, that kid’s parent, every kid in the school we were meeting, their parents, and of course, remember, it’s a tiny town, early seventies, local media.
There are a lot of ways this story could end. Some are obvious, predictable. Fact is, I won that match; although, it went all the way through two rounds. The difference in points was less than five. Three, I think. That’s really not the story though, With every kid and their parent from two small towns in rural Oklahoma watching, I wrestled the prettiest, most mature girl I had ever seen. I enjoyed most of it. She smelled good. She felt good, and I knew I’d win. But when I stood up to wave my hand in victory, the town paper took a picture of an eighth grade kid, with more than just his hand sticking up in victory. My family still has the photo, it’s priceless. I wish I could share it with you now. You’ll just have to be satisfied with your own imagination.


This is exactly what I try very hard to do, each of these tips. It is not easy and requires practice. This is just one of the things that...