Pretty obvious there hasn’t been much posted over here, but you can play the latest episodes of my Short Time Wrestling Podcast.
Want to listen on iTunes? Go to theopenmat.com/itunes
I would embed a player here, but this old version of a free wordpress site doesn’t allow me to do much.
I haven’t updated in a long, long, long time. But there’s a quick thing to update … I’ll be moving back to Minnesota next month. I’m starting a new job, but the job has nothing to do with why I’m moving, it just happened to work out well.
I might end up shutting this blog down eventually, but I haven’t decided what to do really.
I recall Abby telling me just this week that someone was telling her she needed to update her blog more frequently. Well, allow me to oblige.
As some of the cousins, in-laws, etc. from the Minnesota side of the family have asked – am I ever home?
Yes, I’m home quite a bit, it’s just the weekends that have me on the road. This year, being an Olympic year, it will probably get worse. My boss told me earlier to prepare for the busiest year of my life. Somewhat prophetic if you ask me. I’ve already crossed Premier Executive status on United. I’ve been to New York City four times in the past calendar year, which is two more times than I’d been in my entire life combined. I bug Abby to death with the constant Foursquare updates on my phone. But now we even get United miles for me checking in.
This weekend, I have no travel. Whew. But here’s what I’ve got in store:
Dec. 15-18: Arlington, Texas
Dec. 23-27: Minnesota for Christmas
Dec. 27-31: Chicago, Ill. (Evanston, actually)
Jan. 6-9: Springfield, Ill.
January 10-16: Hampton, Va. (Work trip, but it takes me back home)
January 20-21: Event in Colorado Springs
January 28: Event in Colorado Springs
February 2-4: Event in Colorado Springs
February 5: Another unrelated event in Colorado Springs (TV)
— Nothing Confirmed for these two weekends as yet –
February 23-26: Yet another event in Colorado Springs
February 29-March5: Des Moines & Waterloo, Iowa. (NAIA Nationals)
March 8-12: La Crosse, Wis. (Division III Nationals)
March 13-18: St. Louis, Mo. (Division I Nationals)
March 22-26: Orlando, Fla. (Olympic Qualifier)
March 29-April 1: Cedar Falls, Iowa (Last Chance Olympic Qualifier)
WEEK OF NO TRAVEL
April 19-22: Iowa City, Iowa (Olympic Trials)
Whew … so there you have it. I’m a bit of a road warrior.
And to make up for lost time, here’s a blog I wrote about the Rodeo for my work’s blog site:
“It’s bulls and blood, it’s dust and mud. It’s the roar of a Sunday crowd. It’s the white in his knuckles, the gold in the buckle, he’ll win the next go ‘round. It’s boots and chaps, it’s cowboy hats, it’s spurs and lattigo. It’s the ropes and the reigns and the joy and the pain and they call the thing rodeo.” – Rodeo, By Garth Brooks.
While Las Vegas may be a city that never sleeps, it’s also a venerable sports mecca. The first weekend in December has long been the host of the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational.
Wrestling isn’t alone in Vegas. Amidst the neon lights, card tables and dashed dreams of many a gambler, there’s an oddly disproportionate number of boots and chaps and cowboy hats, even in this part of the country.
Before the action got started in the Las Vegas Convention Center, nearly 18,000 rodeo fans packed the Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas for the opening night of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
For those of you who didn’t grow up around ranchers, farmland or livestock of any kind, let me give you the neophyte version of what a rodeo is: A BLAST!
Didn’t expect that, did you? While I like to make light of my southern roots and my relatives twangy dialect, where I come from, rodeo isn’t a thing. We (myself not included) prefer things like NASCAR and … NASACAR. Out west, the dialects may be similar but the passion for the original extreme sport, rodeo, is mindblowing.
USA Wrestling hosted the Olympic Trials at the Thomas & Mack back in 2008. Boy, would we have loved to see the same type of crowd then as we did on day one (of ten) of the National Finals Rodeo.
It started out with pyrotechnics and renowned rodeo announcer Boyd Polhamus getting the crowd geared up. Polhamus also has a strong connection to wrestling. He was featured in a 2010 issue of USA Wrestler Magazine.
Polhamus is to rodeo what Ed Aliverti was to wrestling. The absolute master of ceremony. He and his sidekick announcer joke the riders and joke each other, providing an endless commentary to the events taking place on an arena floor covered with dirt.
As Craig Sesker and I watched on, we saw bareback bronco bucking, steer wrestling, barrel racing, calf roping and of course, everyone’s favorite, the bull riding.
As Craig scanned the start sheet, he noticed a few names with wrestling backgrounds, including a wrestler he did a feature on while he was working in Omaha, Steven Dent.
On this night, Dent would come away with over $10,000 by riding Nutrena’s Wise Guy (the horse’s name) to a third-place finish in Bareback Riding.
Cliches aside, this really WAS my first rodeo. It’s like going to the Super Bowl to watch your first football game or going to the Kentucky Derby to watch your first horse race – wait, I actually did that Derby thing a few years back.
But this rodeo was captivating. I looked around the arena, surveying opening night of a 10-day festival of belt buckles and 10-gallon hats. I looked up at the jumbotron above the dirt arena floor, only to see Wyoming head wrestling coach Mark Branch on screen enjoying the action.
A few sections over, USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender and his wife were watching the action.
The rodeo production at this stage was nothing short of exceptional. Every rider, every chute, everything had music, a sponsor and excitement tied to it. Opening parades, pyrotechnics, hard rock music … and even some hip hop (yes, at a rodeo). This was a production the likes I’ve never seen with my own eyes, and it belonged to rodeo.
As Polhamus introduced each rider, some of the biggest ovations came when the women took the stage and went barrel racing. The top three ranked riders in the land were the last three to hit the dirt. First through third were decided by two hundreths of a second with Brittany Pozzi and Lindsay Sears tying with 14.03.
You have to remember, there’s 10 rounds. Ten days of action. Ten days to get in the money, which made every session worth attending. In two hours, I went from rodeo rookie to well, someone who truly enjoyed every second of the biggest sporting event Vegas would see that weekend, only it was the third most important to those of us there to watch wrestling.
While the rodeo did provide steer wrestling, the Cliff Keen Invitational and U.S. Freestyle Olympic Trials qualifier was our news – but no matter how great the wrestling was at the Convention Center, Vegas hosting the NFR was the highlight of the weekend.
If money was no object, every wrestling event would have the pomp and circumstance the rodeo does. Many duals and tournaments have it, but maybe someone should take the folks from the NCAA over to the NFR to get some ideas on how to spice up the sport even more.
But with all my interest in Title IX reform and legitimizing opportunities and sports in college athletics, looking at the front splash page of ODUsports.com made me sick in my stomach.
Let’s just outright admit you’re looking for athletes. This is extremely common (getting athletes to fill roster spots, rather than recruiting those who WANT to compete) … although I’ve never seen a school so blatant about trying to get more people to come out.
You don’t see this type of ad for men’s sports, which typically cut a ton of walk-ons for gender quotas.
Here is the e-mail I just sent to KKTV (CBS 4) in Colorado Springs.
They have a link on their home page: http://www.kktv.com/home/headlines/100731789.html
This is bush league … my e-mail below.
So during the last major championship of the PGA season, KKTV finds it appropriate to not only go away for a meaningless PRESEASON NFL game and forces people to watch online for the playoff?
I’m new to Colorado Springs, but this is absolutely a slap in the face to people who have watched your station all weekend, only to be turned away from the final part of the golf tournament.
I will not be watching KKTV in the future, because this is HORRIBLE station management. I could care less about the contract with the Broncos, because in the entire realm of sports, this event is more important than some preseason game.
You say you can watch online, but not everyone has the high speed access to watch the PGA.com feed. Fortunately, I do, but your station and the station management should be held accountable for screwing the pooch on this one.
Will you guys do the same thing when the U.S. Women’s Open, in Colorado Springs next year, airs? Will you guys cover that like you’re big golf fans and just ignore the fact your station went away from one of the biggest sporting events of the year?
I don’t even like golf, but I watch the championships.
I know this isn’t your call (to the person I directly e-mailed), but your station is a disgrace for doing this to the viewers of the PGA Championships.
As expected, those defending the Quinnipiac women’s volleyball team have called in Donna Lopiano, the former head honcho of the Women’s Sports Foundation, as a Title IX expert.
FOR THE RECORD: I disagree with Quinnipiac dropping these sports, retaliating in cutting more sports and the alleged “cooking of the books.” Title IX’s gender quota forces schools to institute roster caps on men’s sports to make sure too many men don’t get to play, because women’s rosters aren’t as full. Quinnipiac should be dealt with accordingly if they’re truly shifting things around — but also, there is no accurate way to gauge interest in athletics between men and women, because some groups feel ASKING men and women what they want isn’t the best way to know what they want to do … onward.
Now, there’s one statement in there that makes me raise an eyebrow, not to mention how a perceived advocate of women’s sports is trashing one of the activities that many young girls and women compete in. Ask a cheerleader — is cheerleading a sport. Now as a “women’s” sports quota monger — is cheerleading a sport.
The “women’s” group doesn’t see the case of their skirt-clad competitors. It doesn’t help the angry WSF agenda to admit that girls like cheerleading.
Said Lopiano: “The more sports there are the better it is for women,” she said. “The NCAA does not classify competitive cheerleading as an emerging sport. It’s clear the NCAA does not support it. It doesn’t fulfill the criteria set forth by the Office of Civil Rights. I do not believe any school can count it as a sport. It hasn’t evolved enough. In the future it could, but not as it exists today. It’s not a sport. It’s not even close.”
So under those criteria, how many “sports” aren’t actually sports? Women’s wrestling, an Olympic sport for the past two cycles, apparently isn’t a sport because the NCAA doesn’t support it, right? I wonder how many other Olympic sports that could be available for women aren’t sports because the NCAA doesn’t classify it as “emerging.”
Sorry girls, the “Women’s” Sports Foundation doesn’t represent your best interest in athletics, only their own.
And I’d expect Ms. Lopiano isn’t a fan of Debbie Yow, an innovative AD who isn’t skirting Title IX when she added competitive cheer, she was a trailblazer for women and girls around the nation who love their sport.
I was a wrestler, my sister a cheerleader. That’s what she wanted to do. That was her sport. That was her choice. No social construct, but a short, athletic girl wanted to be on the competitive/competition cheer squad.
I dare Ms. Lopiano to go to a cheerleading competition and tell those GIRLS and MOTHERS that cheerleading isn’t a sport.
It’s been a few months since I scribbled anything over here. Mainly because with the new job, I’m more “in line” than I could be when I was an independent entity. Anyway, just some updates.
I finished up a long list of trips since March.
NCAA Division III
NCAA Division II
NCAA Division I
USA Wrestling Girls Folkstyle Nationals
– Easter -
USA Wrestling University & FILA Cadet Nationals
– Abby came to visit, went house hunting -
USA Wrestling ASICS U.S. Open
That’s six tournaments in eight weekends … all the while trying to assist in planning a wedding. Notice I didn’t say “plan” the wedding, but Abby has been great at organizing and planning, making my hectic travel schedule the last two months a bit easier to deal with.
The next few weeks don’t get any slower.
I go to Virginia for a day and a half this weekend for what amounts to seeing friends who can’t come to the wedding. Bachelor Party isn’t really in the works, but I’m sure I’ll be having fun back home for a bit.
Then I ship out to Minnesota to get married (May 8 … 10 days away, Yikes!), then to Aruba, then to Philly, then to Lancaster, then back to Colorado Springs.
No, I’m not talking too much about wrestling right now, but just saw this page sitting idly and figured, update time. Blah.
Wedding coming soon. Oh boy.