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Quick update.

1. Got a new job.
2. Move to Colorado Springs.
3. Brought the weather with me, it was like 14 below this morning.
4. I’m broadcasting the Grappling World Championships.
5. Did I mention it’s in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. .. where it is 100 degrees warmer than where I was when I woke up.
6. Butch Irons’ imposter is going to get his come-uppins.
7. Kyle Klingman needs some movie suggestions.

Written by Jason Bryant

December 9, 2009 at 6:31 pm

Posted in Blogging

A few tidbits …

… tonight’s Angels-Yankees game gave me heart palpitations several times. The game-winning double occurred just moments before I sat down to dinner.

… as soon as I read “Wife Swap” in a story about Balloon Boy the day the “story” clouded cable news, I figured it was a plug to get these crazy parents on television again. Looks like my first impression was right.

… I’m flying to Colorado in a few hours for a job interview.

… D3wrestle.com’s preseason rankings came out today. I tell you one thing about Division III, it’s one of the best tournaments to cover. I had one of the best wrestling experiences in my life last year when I covered the event in Cedar Rapids.

… I think way too many juniors making verbal commitments is detrimental to wrestling news. I guess I was part of the problem a few years ago when then-Christiansburg High School (Va.) junior Cody Gardner announced his commitment to Virginia Tech. Yes, I wrote a story about it.

… I’m covering/broadcasting the Sunkist Kids International Open this weekend in Phoenix. So this week, I get to cross off two states I’ve never previously been — Colorado and Arizona. I’ve been to the Denver airport, but that doesn’t count. Neither does Salt Lake City in Utah, which I cannot count. And sadly, I can’t count The Netherlands, either. I was only in Amsterdam’s airport for a total of three hours.

… Wayland Baptist added wrestling last week. I tweeted about it, posted it a few places on the message boards, but I’ll say this again, great move for wrestling. This goes without saying, there needs to be a Division I program in Texas.

… “The Ed Show” on MSNBC sucks. Makes me hate politics even more.

… I need to stop playing Mafia Wars on Facebook.

Written by Jason Bryant

October 20, 2009 at 2:21 am

Posted in Blogging

Top Chef: Me … and let’s go Angels!

Since returning home from the World Championships, I’ve been watching a lot of wrestling. I’ve been watching it in the form of old NWCA Convention and Clinic DVD’s. I’m doing some work for my old employer in building on to the technique video library we started when I was at InterMat about three years ago.

So far, I’ve put together 160 new technique clips, but I still have 9 years of DVD’s to rifle through. It’s a perk of the NWCA membership, and if you’re so interested in seeing how the “Coaches Corner” develops, check out http://www.nwcaonline.com.

Anyway, it’s long been known I’m an Angels fan. I still refuse to call them the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and I’ll forever refer to them as the California Angels or simple “Anaheim.” We knocked out the BoSox in a three-game sweep, with a remarkable comeback against fearsome Bah-ston closer Jonathan Papelbon.  Next up, the Evil Empire known as the New York Yankees.

I’m looking forward to a good ALCS, at least, to erase the memory of the 2005 ALCS when the Halos lost to the White Sox in a series involving a dropped strikeout or something I’d rather not remember.

I’m waiting for wrestling season, but the location of such is still undetermined. I won’t go into too many details as to why, but I’ll probably know something within the next two weeks.

In the meantime, you might know I stepped away from the Wrestling 411 project for several reasons I would rather not discuss, because while I still believe in the project and the need for a “SportsCenter” type of show for wrestling, our outfit was let down by a lot of people who said they would donate and then backed out on their word. That’s what happened people, they backed out on their word. No sugar coating it, excuses, whatever.

Anyway, Abby started her new job a few weeks ago and loves it. She commutes from her place into downtown Minneapolis, and a few times, I’ll drop her off in the morning, pick her up in the evening and then we’ll go do something cool. Last Friday, we ate at Fogo De Chao, which is a Brazilian steakhouse with some absolutely FANTASTIC food.

We haven’t gone out to eat much in the past month, because we’ve made an effort to make dinner at home. I discovered teh greatness of the Crock Pot and had some grill time before it got cold. Oh, and it snowed last week. Screw that. It’s October.

So while I’m in the middle of the job world, I’m freelancing and working from home, so I’m shouldering the load in making dinner. I’m actually finding out, I’m a pretty decent cook. I’ll take recipes, then add my own little tweaks to them. It’s been more cost-effective and healthier eating.

There’s also something about cooking your own meal, having it taste good, and of course, getting a look of satisfaction from the person you made dinner for. On one of our first few dates, I made her dinner. That was a treat. Well, now it’s like that all the time.

When I get back into the normal work force, I wonder how much that will continue, but I enjoy making dinner. It’s not that hard, really. I wonder why so many people would rather shove McDonalds down their kids’ throats than make something quick and easy.

I made my first fettuccine alfredo the other night. No, this wasn’t boiling noodles and pouring a bottled sauce over them, I made the alfredo sauce from scratch. And it was a sauce much lower in fat than traditional alfredo, because I didn’t use the heavy cream like so many recipes call for. Although, I’ll go with grated parm next time, rather than shredded, because grated would melt easier.

I made homemade fried apples the other day, a throwback from my childhood. When I lived in Newport News (at the first place in the Richneck area), we had an apple tree in the backyard and mom would do them up really good. Abby’s parents gave her a bag of apples from their apple tree and I went to work on them. I was super stoked they came out delicious.

Sunday, I get to make my first batch of chili. I know what you’re thinking, it’s chili, it’s easy. Well, I’ve eaten chili for a long time, it’s a staple of cold-weather living, in fact, Jake’s Sports Grill in New Brighton typically has great chili. But we’re having two of Abby’s friends over on Sunday to watch the Vikings (blah) game. So I’m making chili! Woot!

And Saturday, I’m taking Abby to check out her first roller derby event. The Minnesota Roller Girls take on the Carolina Roller Girls at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium. She’ll get to see what I’ve been talking about every time I take a drink out of a Dutchland Rollers draft glass purchased from Brendee’s in Lancaster.

Tonight, we’re going to eat at Emily’s Lebanese Delicatessen in Minneapolis. We saw this featured on the Travel Channel (or Food Network) a few months back and we’ve been wanting to try it.

Written by Jason Bryant

October 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm

Posted in Blogging

Tagged with , ,

Decompression in Danish

It’s roughly 9:10 in the morning here in Amsterdam as I start this update. It’s been over a week since I let the world know what was going on with my trip to Denmark for the 2009 Wrestling World Championships. So much to catch up on and I still have four stories to write for W.I.N. Magazine — three from the tournaments that came and went in Herning, and of course, my column.

I guess I’m a bit of a glutton for punishment. The last 11 years, I’ve covered the biggest wrestling tournament (as far as numbers go) in the world in the USA Wrestling Junior Nationals in Fargo. It’s 8 days of hell.

For the last seven days, I worked along side USA Wrestling’s Craig Sesker in covering the 2009 World Championships, my third worlds. The first was in 2003 in New York City, the second was two years ago in Baku, Azerbaijan.

I didn’t get to cover my first Olympics in 2008, but I did watch intently from the live stream when I was home in Poquoson, Va., and moving to Minnesota. I have a Doug Schwab Olympic shirt with the date of his competition, 8-20-08 … the same day I turned 29 and the same day I moved to Minnesota.

In all, my efforts with the team at USA Wrestling provided the wrestling world with 50 interviews and messages from our U.S. coaches, athletes and parents. I even sprinkled in some miscellaneous video and an international interview, although for us in the states, interviewing a Canadian is hardly considered “international.”

I developed a lot of future story ideas and a few I have to work through.

But a little about the competition. Jake Herbert finished second at 84 kilos, giving him his first World medal in as many attempts. Same with Tervel Dlagnev, who finished with the bronze at 120 kilos. Both of them came in freestyle. “Chocolate Chrome” Dremiel Byers won his third world medal late last night — a silver — to go with his world title in 2002 and the bronze he won in 2007.

The energy in Herbert’s semifinal win over the Russian is something I’ll never forget. Watching him and Dremiel wrestle for world golds is right up there with one of the best feelings you can witness as a wrestling fan.

There’s a lot to wrap up … but as far as the event goes and Denmark goes, I’ll say once is enough for the little country. It’s super expensive and Herning was ill-equipped to handle things. Most things close early and we frequented only one pub — Murphy’s — a pseudo Irish bar serving Danish beer overrun by wrestlers. The scene was similar to the Landing in St. Louis, only there’s no one speaking English and the beers are about $8 a pop.

One good thing about the trip is it’s given me about 20,000 frequent flyer miles if you couple in last month’s trip to South Africa. I’ve spent about a total of four hours in Amsterdam, but haven’t seen anything beyond the airport, but while my passport got a Dutch stamp, it never got a Danish one. Odd. No stamp, no customs in Denmark to speak of.

With roughly an hour before I board my nine-hour flight back to Minneapolis, where hopefully Abby will be prompt on her arrival to pick me up, I’m just figuring out how you survive such a grind.

One thing that complicated things was this killer sinus cold I picked up along the way. It took a toll on my energy and the sore throat that accompanied it, made broadcasting the last three days incredibly tough.

Yes, I can add “broadcasting the World Championships” to my resume (ok, webcasting if you want to be a turd about it). We fired it up the last three days, testing one day and then realizing, “Hey, we CAN do this,” although it put me into a work-overload kinda mode. I think I did ok. That type of work day leads to improper preparation, so if anything, I think I “faked it” well.

Also notable was I’m now at the six-month mark in the relationship, of which, either Abby or I have been out of the country away from each other on three of them. She was in Australia and South Africa, I was in Denmark. What the hell? Oh well, whatever we got, it’s working, and while I’m trying to figure out what life will lead to in terms of the job search, I know one thing’s going for me … someone who can put up with me.

Craig, who I roomed with all week and snores like a banshee (I’m no slouch myself), said she must be a saint for putting up with me. I guess so.

I didn’t take too many pictures, because the long days lead to very little sight seeing. I rode in about 6-7 BMW’s (cabs) and learned that the Danish Kroner is much stronger than the U.S. Dollar … and they abuse the hell out of it. A 3.2km cab ride cost the equivalent of 20 bucks. That’s highway robbery. Even the schiester cab drivers in Baku would negotiate in their death mobiles.

Oh, that reminds me. Coming into the Billund Airport this morning, I’ve never been so scared on a bus in my life. Seriously, this thing was weaving across the small two-lane road in backwoods Denmark at 4 a.m. in the rain with oncoming tractor-trailers barreling towards us the other way. I was pretty freaked out about it … but I’m in Amsterdam, so I survived.

I haven’t been to sleep since Saturday night. I did catch about an hour nap on the plane from Billund to Amsterdam. I have a window seat and leaned up against it and passed out before the in-flight instructions. I woke up when we hit the ground. I don’t know if I was snoring or not, but I feel for the person who’s got to sit next to me for the next 8-9 hours back to Minneapolis. If all goes well, I’ll sleep the whole way.

My body hurts and I need a day to officially decompress.

And to hell with spell check, I’m just hitting “publish.”

Written by Jason Bryant

September 28, 2009 at 2:26 am

DK! And I’m not talking Dead Kennedys … I’m talking Denmark

Although I am a fan of the Dead Kennedys, the “DK” I’m referencing is my home for the next 10 days — Herning, Denmark, site for the 2009 Wrestling World Championships.

This will be the third World Championships I’ve covered, the first in 2003 in NYC, the second was in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2007 and now this one, in Herning, a city of roughly 50,000 people.

My trek was a tiresome one. I flew out of Minneapolis at 3:10 p.m. Central direct to Amsterdam. When I landed, it took me about 45 minutes to get through passport control and then meet up with the rest of the U.S. delegation I was meeting up with. The Amsterdam airport is pretty cool, but already I felt the sting of the U.S. > Euro conversion rate. A 16 ounce (or whatever it was over there, I didn’t even look) Vitamin Water was $5. Seems reasonable.

Anyway, I met up with Paulie Kieblesz (one of these days, I’ll spell his name right) and U.S. official Tom Clark. They were already mingling with some other national delegations who were on the same flight from Amsterdam to Billund. From Billund, we would be transported to Herning.

Tom, Paulie and I crammed in with five members of the Russian delegation and took the roughly 45-minute ride to the venue to get our credentials. This … WILL … be a problem. At least, with the credentialing. It’s a zoo, it always is. Don’t get me started on all the problems in Baku two years ago.

Anyway, after credentials were figured out, Paulie and I ended up heading over to the Hotel Scandic. Apparently, it’s nice, since that’s where FILA, the International Governing Body for wrestling is staying, too. Well, it’s basically a lot like the dorms in Fargo, with carpet and a private bathroom. So for the next nine or 10 days, Craig Sesker of USA Wrestling and I will be sharing this workspace. At least the internet is fast, so we can do our work with relative ease (crossing fingers), but it won’t be like the couch set up in the lobby of the Hotel Absheron in Baku (which Paulie informed me, has been leveled and is a new hotel entirely).

I really need to rest. My body clock is severely out of whack right now.

The flight from MSP to Amsterdam wasn’t too bad, as far as eight-hour flights go. Sat next to some woman reading a book in a language I couldn’t decipher and a guy named John, who was joining up with some of his friends from St. Thomas (Go Tommies!) in Munich for Oktoberfest. That’s gotta be cool.

Anyway, tournament starts Monday. Here we go.

As for now, I’m listening to NOFX’s “The Decline,” one of the longest punk songs ever. It’s a good one, too.

Written by Jason Bryant

September 19, 2009 at 6:12 am

Posted in Blogging

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