2021 NCAA champion Aaron Brooks (photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
It's been quite a first month in the college landscape and with two and a half more to go, I don't expect things to slow down any time soon. I caught my first duals of the year with the Garden State Grapple and it felt like being home again with all the shouting, squeaking, chants of two, and stocky dudes of all kinds walking around chests out. It was like music to the cauliflower'ed ear. (working on mine, get to that later) What really caught my attention was the mat next to Rutgers, where girls roughly aged five to ten were absolutely throwing down. Right there. On the Prudential Center arena floor. Right next to Rutgers and Hofstra. How cool is that? These girls are hungry to compete, trained, and can absolutely scrap out there and it's high time girls wrestling is sanctioned everywhere in the country. I'm looking at you PA, you're supposed to be the leader in the sport and we've seen you know how to punish the kids, so how about we reward some others.
We've also seen a lot of talk about the "ducking" situation and all I really have to say about that is get over it for now. It's early. We're all starved for the best action but be patient. You've got teams who haven't competed in two years, guys who only competed for the bare minimum to qualify for March, guys with no knees, and rosters more loaded up than usual. The extra year changed everything about the system and the coaches are still trying to figure out what they're working with. By March, we will have gotten all the top action our little heart's desire. I promise you. Let's do some questions, which I'm quite sure are not about wrestling.
In the spirit of Vegas week, what's your game of choice at the casino? @FantasyD1Wrestl
My esteemed cubiclemate FCW was on a plane yesterday, so his question is valid this time. Jersey fans will tell you the only thing better than a big wrestling tourney is having it near a casino. I'm not a huge gambler, but when I do, I prefer to hit the Blackjack table. If you're not afraid of dropping three or four hundred bucks or trying to grind out sixty bucks in winnings, then this is the game to play. I can sit down with a drink in a calm situation for a good few hours, just enjoying the action without any real consequences like a Craps table wiping me clean in ten minutes.
Here's some advice, if, in the first five hands, some dude is complaining loudly about every card he gets, then get up and walk away. Bad mojo like that never brings any luck to a table. Other than that, learn to add small numbers quickly, don't double down against a face card, and enjoy some CKLV in between.
I have noticed a lot of Twitter posts about what makes one mentally weakâ€¦what makes someone mentally tough???? @DutrowJim
You'll have to ask Jacob Kasper, aka Julius Creed. He hasn't got that far yet in his lessons and, for now, I'm merely keeping tabs on the things that make us weak-minded.
What do you think of these top kids leaving high school early to finish up online and train at RTCs after they commit? Or better yet, is expecting blue chip-type kids to start as true freshman becoming more common and if so, is that good for the sport? @LanaRowley
I chalk it up mostly to the uncertainty of the last year and what's ahead. You can see how a top kid can feel like moving on after a lifeless short season with no fans, while they're already thinking about the next level. Online classes, albeit necessary, undoubtedly took away the allure of being in school and enjoying your success.
Now you've got a kid in position to begin the next process and already used to online learning. I do think it will get back to normal when full seasons are back in swing and don't think it will become the norm.
Certainly, true freshmen starting was becoming a thing, but that might change now with the extra year backlogging plenty of teams.
Are you still alive and if so, how bad does the other guy look? @JoeKania3
How did you defeat the fireball? @RichardAMann
The Incident. First off, it wasn't cigarette-related, so we can keep that gimmick going until I quit or it kills me. Long story short, a flaming pot of oil flew past my head and out the door, grazing the left side of my head, which was luckily protected by a hoodie and Covid hair. You react in the moment and don't think about it until after and I've certainly thought of the numerous ways I could be dead or burned badly. Maybe it's a miracle or angels looking out for me that made a flaming pot of oil fly down the stairs and out the door missing nearly everything in its way, but that was crazy.
I'd like to thank everyone who reached out to check on me. It means more to me than you know that you care and I will not forget it. Thanks to my brother for sacrificing himself in the moment and possibly saving my life.
Keep your head up, bro. You'll be back to your normal self soon enough. Most importantly to my fiance, you have been by my side from the ER to right now, helping in any way you could and I just don't know what I would do without you. I love you and promise not to mess up what used to be a pretty solid face anymore.
Does signing Mad Max help erase the pain of when Matt Harvey put himself back in the game in the 9th inning of game 5? @Coach___Wheels
I just got burned again. Have a good weekend all, time to get my Cliff Keen on.