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Archive for January 2009

Augsburg vs. Wartburg

Full broadcast of #1 Augsburg vs. #2 Wartburg from Wrestling411 and Stretch Internet through Augsburg College.

Written by Jason Bryant

January 31, 2009 at 6:29 pm

A personal request and a fantastic interview

Many of you might know that Vision Quest is the most well-known movie with wrestling as a focal point in its plot. What many might not know is that Vision Quest, starring Matthew Modine and Linda Fiorentio, was originally a coming-of-age book for young adults initially published in 1979.

The author, Terry Davis, penned it initially in 1976 and it went three years before being published. Davis recently retired from teaching after spending over 20 years as a professor of Creative Writing at Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minn.

Wrestling411 had a chance to interview Terry on Wednesday before our broadcast of the Minnesota State-Upper Iowa Dual.

I send this out to wrestling fans for two reasons.
1. Vision Quest was one of the best, if not the best, novel with a wrestling focus. While it’s not “about” wrestling, the sport plays a primary role. I find the book much more enjoyable than the movie for dozens of reasons, the Madonna “Crazy For You” song isn’t one of them.

2. Terry Davis was one of the most down to earth people I’ve ever met and had the pleasure to interview. This was a personal thrill. I had him sign my copy of Vision Quest, which was one of the best feelings I’ve had in wrestling. I’ve met numerous Olympians, National Champions and Hall of Famers, but having the opportunity to interview Terry was something that I have to rank as a one of the watershed moments in my career as a writer and as a broadcaster.

Do yourself a favor, buy the book … for yourself or for the wrestler or teenager in your life. It’s a good read even if you’re not in the age demographic, it’s something every wrestling fan should explore.

Check the audio at

Buy the book here:

Written by Jason Bryant

January 29, 2009 at 3:23 am

Wrestling fans outdrawn by Roller Derby?

I’m a little overdue for a poingant post about anything not relating to Wrestling411, but this weekend in Minnesota, something dawned on me that I feel wrestling fans need to address.

Kyle and I have harped constantly about fan support of college wrestling. In places like Iowa City, an off-day can mean 4,000 people. In New Brunswick, N.J., that’s an all-time record.

Rutgers beat Rider in an all-New Jersey dual over the weekend, drawing just over 4,000 fans with a solid high school dual as a prelim to entice a large crowd to see the state’s two Division I wrestling programs. Nice job, but that needs to be consistent, not a one-time deal, once in a blue moon.

In Denny Diehl’s most recent edition of the Lehigh Wrestling News (LUWN), he pointed out this attenance mark broke the previous mark, which was set 44-45 years ago.

Some of you might know I’ve got a relationship with Roller Derby. I spent time announcing derby back in Pennsylvania under my (registered) derby name — Horace N. Buggy. Last night, I checked out my first Minnesota Roller Girls (MNRG) bout. I took one of my roommates, who’d never seen derby. He’d also never seen wrestling on TV until two weeks ago.

Now, I’m used to seeing derby in rinks surrounded by concrete walls. ESPN did a feature on Roller Derby not too long ago. This isn’t the banked-track type many might think of, but Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby.

But here’s the thing … the capacity of the “legendary” Roy Wilkins Auditorium in downtown St. Paul is about 4,000. There were at least 3,500 people there last night. It blew me away. It was a real event, big time, concessions, beer sales, merchandise.

Compare that to what I saw today, about 10 miles from where I sat last night. The Sports Pavilion on Minnesota’s campus saw 2,571 come through the doors. That’s not a bad crowd, especially when I’ve announced duals in front of 50 fans.

But Roller Derby drew more fans than Minnesota wrestling did on Sunday against Michigan State.

Before fans make excuses about the weather (it was sunny, with a slight breeze and 10 degrees — in Minnesota, we call that WARM for January) or the team (Michigan State is the only unranked team in the Big Ten), you’re telling me that Roller Derby outdrew college wrestling in the same area?

I didn’t hear a single commercial for the MNRG bout, but I saw sponsor booths, vendors, radio station bumper stickers (For an NPR station!) and a carnival atmosphere. The smell of PBR and mini-donuts and overcooked hot dogs oozed from the place.

So why only 2,500 for a college wrestling dual? We will complain about lack of television coverage, but until wrestling fans start showing up more than once in a while, we’re going to be relegated as a second-tier sport, disrespected … not by the networks, but by our own sport itself.

We can make excuses that “Oh, it was just Michigan State, I’ll go when they wrestle someone good.” That’s like playing the lottery when the jackpot only gets over $80 million or something. What, a little bit isn’t good enough?

C’mon people. I really enjoy Roller Derby, but I love wrestling and I sat back and wondered what is it going to take for us to finally get off our butts, stop making excuses and go to a wrestling match, any match, all matches, bringing people, to NOT get outdrawn by Roller Derby.

I don’t know what marketing the MNRG uses, but they started out in a small rink (much like Dutchland) and now have sellouts, halftime entertainment, a risk factor with the contact sport.

And the thing is … more people here in Minnesota know about wrestling than they do Roller Derby, BUT I can’t prove that based on the attendance I’ve seen. This isn’t just in Minnesota, because I know Dutchland outdraws both Millersville and F&M combined. The Windy City Roller Girls outdraw Northwestern on average.

We, as fans, point to basketball constantly about coverage. We don’t get this, but basketball does. Why are we focusing on a sport every Division I school plays (I haven’t looked it up, but I’m sure the 300-plus D1 schools all have hoops)?

We’re being outdrawn by Roller Derby. That’s a great thing for derby fans, but if wrestling fans are so passionate about supporting their teams and programs, even in wrestling hotbeds like the midwest and Pennsylvania, we sure have a funny way of showing it.

I’m happy that there’s such a following for MNRG and Roller Derby in general, but they make their events … events. Jim Harshaw talks about marketing our sport (no, this isn’t a name-drop, but it’s something people have read about on the boards and on Flo recently), well, I can’t think of a better reason to kickstart the marketing of our ON CAMPUS duals than to realize we’re now drawing fewer fans in some areas than Roller Derby.

Some schools have meet and greets and autograph signings, Derby has after parties. Same general concept that the Gopher club uses here in Minnesota with a bus to and from the meet point. Great. The interaction between fans of derby and the derby girls themselves is something that gets people coming back. Perhaps we need more of that.

Mike Denney at Nebraska-Omaha had about 800 fans on Friday, which for Division II, isn’t a bad draw against a non-traditional opponent like Augsburg. But they honored local coaches, threw t-shirts into the crowd, had a great opening intro sequence, made it fun to show up and watch. Wrestlers mingled with fans afterwards with ease.

We, as a sport, like the fact that our athletes are approachable and we don’t have the ushers shooing us away like in roundball … but we don’t take advantage of how good we have it.

Get to a match … because right now, I wouldn’t compare us to basketball … I’d strive to outdraw Roller Derby first.

Bottom line: Sports Pavilion and every wrestling venue SHOULD be full EVERY TIME OUT. Until that happens, we’re going to be a community relegated to whining on message boards about why the NCAA hates wrestling and why ESPN hates wrestling and why wrestling doesn’t get respect.

We must first respect our own sport by showing the support it deserves. I had fun at the derby bout last night … and for good reason, it was a good show.

Today’s Jayson Ness-Franklin Gomez bout was a good show … and more people could have been there to see it.

Written by Jason Bryant

January 25, 2009 at 11:41 pm

Thursday’s Wrestling 411 show posted

I took a break from editing to see “Yes Man” and it was a quality flick. I’d recommend it.

Speaking of recommendations … here’s Thursday, January 15th’s show.

Written by Jason Bryant

January 16, 2009 at 5:11 am

Posted in Wrestling 411 Radio

Tagged with

Fear and Loathing in a Chevy Blazer

I’m cold, I’m covered in snow and now, I will soon be parting from my owner for the last time. I’ve had a good run, I’ve had some interesting company. I was born in 2000 and don’t really remember much about my first owner.

Apparently they didn’t feel I was good enough, so I sat in Hampton, until one day, some guy named Twinkie came in and rescued me and took me for a whirlwind tour and it was one helluva ride.

It was October of 2003 and a distant cousin, a Ford Bronco II, had been put to pasture. I was newer, more in tune with society, I even had an airbag or two. I was more comfortable and kicked serious ass.

I got pissed at times. I’ve been puked on, puked in, pissed on, sneezed on, spit on, smoked in, spilled on, spilled in, hit by trees, sideswiped by taxis and seen the country.

I started out living in Virginia, hitting potholes in ghetto neighborhoods and driving up on curbs. I was not the Bronco, so Twinkie treated me with more respect. I wasn’t beaten up, I was in great shape, in the prime of my life.

I’m a Southern being, I don’t like snow, I don’t like the cold. I’ve had better days, been sick, broke down here and there, but I’m powered by Vortec, and I know how to get from point A to point B.

I’ve come home for Christmas, moves across country, been jammed with a 46-inch flat screen TV as the only other passenger. I’ve been crammed with seven people heading down to a concert, where I was sadly left outside.

I’ve been pulled over, towed, and I’ve had three different coworkers with my sound system.

I’ve been covered in dog hair, old CD’s, dirt. I’ve had better days, I’d have worse days.

I’ve been to Philadelphia, New York City, Virginia Beach … I went over 100,000 miles at the base of the Washington Monument in D.C. I’ve been lost in Baltimore, turned around in Harrisburg, and seemingly, at home, in some place called Fargo, N.D.

I’d never been to Fargo, yet I seemed to know everything about it. Why did I know what the Bison Turf was? I’d never been there. Who were these people piling into me? They seemed familiar, like friends, but I hadn’t met them.

Oh wait, I remember you Ben, you puked in me two weeks after I was purchased.

It was a happy day when I learned I was no longer the property of a bank, but some guy who couldn’t drive a lick and ran me to the bone … October, five years after I drove off a Pomoco lot in the shadows of the Hampton Coliseum on Mercury Boulevard, I was now fully paid off.

Here it is, January of 2009 … and I won’t see February. My wheels don’t grip ice well, I got punched in the face by a concrete wall. I’m done, I’m not going to ever get back on the road. I’m worm food, well, at least I’m due for a slow demise in a crusher or salvage yard. I’ve got some good things left, but I’m no longer of any use to anyone who wants to drive me.

I haven’t been on as many roads as Johnny Cash, but I’ve been to Fargo, I can probably sing half the lines, because I’ve heard it so many times.

I’ll never hear any more 2 Skinnee J’s, I’ll never hear any more Atmosphere. I’ll never be stuck in a parking garage again. I’ll never have to deal with needing new wipers. I’ll never know what it’s like to see the Pacific.

I know these inherent facts:
I’ve had many co-pilots from Virginia to Pennsylvania to Minnesota.
I’ve seen people spin out and crash in front of me just days before Christmas.
I know that disc golf isn’t just an activity.
I’ve toted Olympians, NCAA Wrestling Champions and the sport’s finest.
I’ve toted scumbags and complete jackasses as well.
I’ve hauled PA equipment.
I’ve attended Roller Derby.
I’ve reeked of beer and smoke.
I’ve been unlocked by locksmiths.
I’ve been unlocked by a very large Katana blade.
I know what the drive thru attendant at the Lancaster McDonalds sounds like and she knows the rattle of my muffler.
I know people see me and know I spent time at Old Dominion University.
I know people have used me to sleep in … and pass out … and again, puke.
I know I once cost 80 bucks to fill up.
I know I’ve been worked on, fixed, broken and repaired.
I’ve been to New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri and North Dakota.
I know what the outside of Pat’s and Geno’s look like.
Very few people have ever been behind my wheel.
I know what a “WU-FONG” is and have mastered it.
I know I had a good run.

I had a great life and in 136,000 miles … I don’t regret it all.

I knew my time was coming, but didn’t think it would be this abrupt.

I will say this … when I see you in hell, Mr. Concrete, I’m going to EFF you up something good.

This is my swan song …

Blazer – OUT.

Written by Jason Bryant

January 12, 2009 at 3:29 pm