The Bryant Blog: Life, Wrestling, Pop Culture

Find my wrestling podcasts at

Posts Tagged ‘Wrestling

College Wrestling Scores: November 7

November 7

Anderson 21, Campbell 20
Buffalo 31, Ashland 9
Liberty 25, Campbellsville 9
Virginia 37, Anderson 9
Virginia 36, Campbell 6
Kent State 20, Virginia Tech 18
Virginia Tech 21, UT-Chattanooga 18
Kent State 22, UT-Chattanooga 15

Maryland 57, York (Pa.) 0
Maryland 35, Drexel 6
Drexel 37, York (Pa.) 9

Millersville 18, Boston U. 18

Bloomsburg 26, Boston U. 9
Bloomsburg 35, Millersville (-2)

N.C. State 21, The Citadel 18
Lakeland 37, UW-Eau Claire 9
North Central 31, Lakeland 12
Concordia (Minn.) 46, Lakeland 3
Wabash 29, Lakeland 16
Wabash 24, Milwaukee School of Engineering 13
Concordia (Minn.) 36, Wabash 6
Wabash 46, UW-Eau Claire 3

North Central 34, Milwaukee School of Engineering 3
North Central 23, Trine 11

Concordia (Minn.) 28, Trine 10
Concordia (Minn.) 42, UW-Eau Claire 0

Trine 44, UW-Eau Claire 6
Mt. St. Joseph 24, Baldwin-Wallace 19
Lycoming 29, Thiel 9
Lycoming 29, Baldwin-Wallace 15
Thiel 36, Mt. St. Joseph 7
Thiel 25, Baldwin-Wallace 12
Lycoming 42, Mt. St. Joseph 6
TCNJ 53, Norwich 0
Baker 30, York (Neb.) 21
*Baker’s first dual win in school history.

National Catholic Invitational Team Scores | Brackets
Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open (at South Dakota State) Brackets
King’s College Monarch Invitational Brackets
Eastern Michigan Open Open Division Freshman/Sophomore Division
Clarion Open
Embry-Riddle Collegiate Championships Brackets
Ithaca Invitational Saturday Results
Kaye Young Open
Loras Open Brackets
Messiah Invitational Team Scores Brackets
The Citadel Open Brackets
Yellowjacket Open
Northwest Open Brackets

Written by Jason Bryant

November 7, 2009 at 7:13 pm

The PGA Championship: A first look at one of golf’s majors

“Golf requires goofy pants and a fat ass.” — Happy Gilmore

As an avid sports fan, but one who has a concentration in wrestling, I still make a point to keep up with things outside my bubble. I pay attention to NASCAR, but rarely get excited over it. I pay attention to the NHL, but again, rarely get excited.

I love baseball and pro football, keep up with college football and to a lesser extent, the college roundball, but I loathe the NBA and pay zero attention to it.

I moved to Minnesota in August of 2008, on my birthday to boot.

It’s been an interesting year in sports, and on Thursday, I added to a growing list of sporting events I’ve attended in the past 12 months with the PGA Championship in Chaska, Minn.

I knew the PGA Championship was coming to Minnesota, but it wasn’t until Monday when I was watching KARE 11 news that I realized there were tickets left.

I thought to myself, why not check it out. It’s one of the majors and it’s not like I’m a huge golf fan, although I do play occasionally in benefit tournaments and wrestling club fundraisers. I at least “look the part” when I’m on the links.

I’m modestly decent at Golden Tee, but this was the real stuff, with the best in the game. I wasn’t going to go out of my way to stand with throngs of people to get a glimpse of Eldrick “Tiger” Woods.

I was just going to experience one of the major sporting events in one of the most regal of sports. Sure, you can debate the ins and outs of golf actually being a sport, but that’s another topic entirely.

For a first-round ticket, I paid $110, which in retrospect wasn’t really worth it considering the time I spent there. However, it was worth it to see how people watch the game intently, ooh and oh on great approaches and missed putts. The price wasn’t important in the sense of being able to experience a major golf championship.

By the time I’d arrived, Tiger was on the 17th hole and already out to a lead. He was five under by the time I stepped onto the grounds at Hazeltine, which last hosted the PGA Championship in 2002.

I’m a golf tournament novice, at least from a spectator standpoint. Growing up in Virginia, Kingsmill hosted the Anheuser-Busch Classic (later becoming the Michelob and even later, an LPGA event). I never went, but I do have some friends who routinely play at Kingsmill — Apprentice School wrestling coach Bruce Shumaker is one of them.

I studied the course guide, but didn’t pay much attention to tee times. I just wanted to watch and study the interaction between caddy and golfer, fan and friend. Some people definitely come to “dress the part,” even when they are just spectators.

Tiger hats dotted the crowd, as did sweat-soaked Antigua shirts, which went for $83 in the souvenir tent. Kids from the surrounding area sold bottled water outside of the gates, telling us, “It’s the cheapest thing you’ll find before you go in.”

They were right. A cup of Country Time Iced Lemonade was $5. It was tasty, though.

I nestled next to the Par 3 #8. The first threesome which came through from tee to green were some golfers I wasn’t too familiar with: Francesco Molinari of Italy, Lee Rinker of Florida and Ryuji Imada of Japan.

Rinker led off with a solid shot off the tee landing 20-25 feet from the pin. Molinari’s tee shot wasn’t helped by the on-and-off blustery conditions and died in the bunker. A storm was sitting outside of the Twin Cities, sometimes prompting steady winds from the southwest to play with the ball when it was in the air. I guess Molinari was anticipating this before the bottom fell out on the aforementioned wind.

Imada, sporting some pretty slick plaid pants, dropped a great shot within 10 feet. I liked Imada’s style. He seemed to be enjoying himself. He missed the birdie putt, while Molinari blasted out of the bunker, missed a short par putt before bogeying the hole.

I watched another threesome come through, with Darren Clarke, Ryan Benzel and Charles Howell III. Clarke missed a birdie putt and came out with a par, while Benzel’s woes continued. After double bogeying the Par 5 seventh, he bogeyed the 176-yard #8.

I moved away from the hole before Howell finished up.

The clouds started looking ominous, so I figured I’d mosey down to the #7 and get a shot of the second shots by the next three groups. In the second group, Geoff Ogilvy was in the mix and in the following group, it was Vijay Singh, Davis Love III and Steve Elkington — three names I knew from just being a casual observer of the game for years.

Singh birdied the 572-yard hole and was met with a solid applause.

Behind them were Ernie Els, Steve Stricker and Ian Poulter. At this time, the rain started to fall and while the droves of Tiger fans had already left Hazeltine, I figured I’d do a quick lap (well, half a lap) before stopping to pick up some things in the souvenir shop.

Since I was devoid of a camera and cell phone, per PGA regulations, I couldn’t take any pictures during real competition. I was relegated to snapping a picture of my grounds ticket before coming in, and one or two of the Goodyear blimp, which hovered over the course low enough to hear the whirr of its engines.
I don’t think I’ll ever attend another PGA tour event, because as much as I like playing a leisurely round of golf, I’m not a “golfer” or a “golf fan.” I’m just not part of that crowd, and while I admit it takes a tremendous amount of skill to master the game of golf, standing around watching people hit ball, chase ball, putt ball, pick up ball, hold ball towards clapping fans, hit ball, lather, rinse, repeat.

This was more to go and see what it was all about. I was at the Kentucky Derby earlier this year, and that was an experience, a festival, a shit show (on the infield). Golf has etiquitte and elegance. People like me aren’t a part of its target demographic.

But as a sports fan, I couldn’t deny myself the opportunity to attend such a prestigious event so close to where I’m currently living. I can see where golf fans love this so much, I had an appreciation for everything that goes in to putting on a great event — from parking at Canterbury Park and taking a shuttle down to Chaska High School (where I actually know two people whom graduated from the school), to getting back and fighting Twin Cities rushour traffic.

I’d rate my experience rather good, with the exception of my own folly regarding the camera and a muted cell phone. If you have the money, it’s certainly a great social experience, especially for you big money people who work for companies that like to sponsor these types of things.

So I can add on the PGA Championship as one of many notable sporting events I’ve attended in the past 12 months. I turn 30 in a week and as far as I can tell, when it comes to seeing great sporting events, I haven’t had much to complain about this year.

The PGA Championship, while not my personal cup o‘ tea, did satisfy a personal quest in seeing a major.

The Year in Minnesota
Division I Wrestling Dual Meets
Arizona State at Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
Hofstra at Missouri, Columbia, Mo.
Purdue at Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
Minnesota at Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
Michigan State at Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn.
Northwestern at Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn.
UT-Chattanooga at Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa
Virginia Tech at Old Dominion, Norfolk, Va.

Division II Wrestling Dual Meets
Augsburg at Nebraska-Omaha, Omaha, Neb.*
Upper Iowa at Minnesota State-Mankato, Mankato, Minn.
Nebraska-Omaha at Minnesota State-Mankato, Mankato, Minn.
*-match between Division II and III teams

Division III Wrestling Dual Meets
Wartburg at Augsburg, Minneapolis, Minn.

College Wrestling Tournaments
Missouri Open, Columbia, Mo.
Brute/Journeyman Northeast Duals, Troy, N.Y.
Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, Las Vegas, Nev.
Dick Walker Invitational, Waverly, Iowa
The Midlands, Evanston, Ill.
NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals, Cedar Falls, Iowa
Northern Sun Regional Tournament, Marshall, Minn.
NJCAA Championships, Rochester, Minn.
NCAA Division III Championships, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
NCAA Division II Championships, Houston, Texas
NCAA Division I Championships, St. Louis, Mo.

International Wrestling
U.S. World Team Trials, Council Bluffs, Iowa
USA Cadet & Junior Nationals, Fargo, N.D.

High School Wrestling
The Clash National High School Duals, Rochester, Minn.
Albert Lea vs. Coon Rapids, Minneapolis, Minn.
Virginia Group AAA State Championships, Chesapeake, Va.
Virginia Group AA-A State Championships, Salem, Va.
NHSCA National High School Championships, Virginia Beach, Va.

Division III Football
Macalester at St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn.

Major League Baseball
Los Angeles Angels at Minnesota Twins, Minneapolis, Minn. (2 games)

American Hockey League
Philadelphia Phantoms at Norfolk Admirals, Norfolk, Va.
Hershey Bears at Norfolk Admirals, Norfolk, Va.

Horse Racing
Kentucky Derby, Louisville, Ky.

PGA Championships, Chaska, Minn.

Roller Derby
North Star Roller Girls, Minneapolis, Minn.
Minnesota Roller Girls, St. Paul, Minn.

The Alamo, San Antonio, Texas
Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute & Museum, Waterloo, Iowa
National Wrestling Hall of Fame, Stillwater, Okla.
Fishing at Lake Vermilion, Cook, Minn.

States and Countries Traveled
Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Canada

Written by Jason Bryant

August 13, 2009 at 8:37 pm

Posted in Blogging

Tagged with , ,

Well, there’s been a slight change in plans

Last year, I made a decision to run a marathon. This decision still stands, but the timeframe was a bit premature for me to try to run the St. Louis Marathon on April 19. That being said, I’m simply backing up my schedule, and instead, running the Twin Cities Marathon on October 4.

I could make excuses, but the reality is, I’ve got running shoes and the desire to accomplish this feat, but wrestling season, traveling and of course, the Minnesota winter, got in the way.

I started running in October and early November, then the cold got to me. I’m from Virginia, so I’m used to pretty mild winters with little, if any snow. I’m not a runner. I’ve never been a runner. I’m also not a runnin’ fool like my co-worker, who can probably rip off 10-15 miles if you say “Go.”

The most I ran in one set before the winter set in was six miles. Now, the weather is starting to cooperate and I can get some real headway before the summer. Another bit of motivation is my girlfriend is going to run one in June. Now, the alpha male in me cannot have that on my conscious. If anything, it’s something we can do together and I’m looking forward to it.

Kyle had suggested I start with some 5K’s after I train some, that way I can get used to running road races and get a bit acclimated to the decorum and rules of running. I’m to the point where I’m 255 pounds and my knees don’t have 30 extra pounds of weight pushing down on them. Why join a health club when I live in the suburbs and have many running trails and less-traveled roads to follow.

The trail behind my house is a few miles long and could be a great way to just relax. I’ve been eating right, living right and doing what I can to make my body work better for me. Gone are the days I’d kill 2-3 pitchers while shooting darts and rifling through a pack of smokes. Gone are the college parties, bar hopping and general debauchery. Oh, I’m not going all prude, if anyone saw me in St. Louis, they know I’m still a social being.

I still loathe fast food, but during the wrestling season and traveling, it’s very hard to avoid those types of food options. What may come as a surprise to many of you is that I really enjoy salads. I’ve made some kick ass salads since returning home from Nationals and returning back after my trip to Virginia. It’s a lot more cost effective than ordering salads out. I’m cutting the dining out portion of my life back and using the space in which I live to be more conducive to a healthy, life-loving atmosphere.

The last three weeks, especially the last nine days, have been a great motivator for me. The weather is cooperating and it’s now disc golf season. For the die-hards, it never died, but I now have maps to 100 courses within 100 miles of my residence. I bought some new plastic (discs) from the Disc Golf shop on Rice Street in St. Paul and I’m eager to toss them around and check out the new courses.

The thing about disc for a portly fellow like myself isn’t just throwing and chasing, but the walking involved does lead to breaking a sweat up the hills. The course back home in Newport News is about 1.5 miles around, and I usually play 1-2 rounds a day. This will start to pick up, probably tomorrow. I’ve finished editing Tuesday’s show and it should be encoding as I type this, but there’s something very calming about disc golf to me. I’m not very good in the grand scheme of things, but it’s an activity you can start doing with little cost and even less effort.

I won’t be playing today, but I’m anxious to get my new drivers some added distance. I’ve never been a “big arm” thrower, which doesn’t make sense since I’m a big guy. One of these days, I’ll finally beat my buddy Nate, who has NEVER lost to me once. We’ve tied once at Buchmiller Park in Lancaster, but maybe I’ll get a shot when he comes into town on business next week.

I’ll also be blogging more and blogging less, if that makes any sense. I feel energized now that our season has come to an end, but it also hasn’t. We’re having more topical shows on Wrestling 411 and still doing two shows a week and trying to fundraise, which is always a treat in this economy.

So the new goal is October 4, 2009 — Twin Cities Marathon. I WILL be ready.

Written by Jason Bryant

April 15, 2009 at 5:33 pm

The road trip: Day 1.5

It’s not the greatest of ideas, but at the same time, this has already been something that I will remember when it comes to “those moments” in my life I look back on.

Right now, I’m sitting in an office at the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum in Cedar Falls, Iowa. This place was destroyed during the floods last summer and it was lucky to get back up and running. This is now the third time I’ve been to the Gable Museum — the first was at the National Duals, the same weekend where I totaled my truck, the second was yesterday and now the third is today.

I’ve got some postcards to mail out. I’ve already gotten an oil change, something I should have done before I left Minnesota yesterday. I’m updating Facebook, Twitter, the blog … and who knows what else during this trip. The biggest question I have is how to follow this accordingly.

Should I post it over here, with more of a personal tone, or should I write a separate entity entirely for the Wrestling 411 side of things? I’ll post mileage charts and things of that nature on the 411, but really, where I want to write some of the cool things down will be here.

Cool thing #1: We stayed with Kyle’s parents last night. Ken Klingman is the team chaplain for the Northern Iowa wrestling team and an all-around good guy. I slept in a twin bed (wondering where my brother was — ok, Mitch Hedberg I am not) for the first time in like … five or six years or something like that. What’s cool about that? The Tom Brands and Brad Penrith family Christmas Cards sent to the Klingmans. No, I don’t think it’s “funny” and I’m not poking fun at it, rather I think it’s uplifting to see coaches, whom I only see in a wrestling-related work environment, in a family setting. I saw that with Greg Strobel and his wife, “Mrs. Coach,” but something about seeing Tom Brands in a Christmas card with his wife and kids made me smile. I thought the grin he had was somewhat amusing, but it proves, yes wrestling fans, these people are real outside of the sport.

Cool Thing #2: Being able to set up shop here in the Gable Museum and get some work done while I’m waiting to head down to Cedar Rapids for the Division III Championships. Sending out some post cards shortly.

Ironically, this is the exact same exit I totaled my truck at during January. Not just the same town, but as I leave here today, I’ll drive right up the on-ramp where I lost control.

Only difference is today, the temperature is 60 degrees and its gorgeous. I get to open up the sunroof on my Trailblazer and play my “Set the Cruise Control to 90 mix”

I like making mix CD’s with themes … I have another one I’ve labled as “Highway 218 in Iowa Sucks,” but that’s for obvious reasons.

If I was on my other computer, I’d post the playlist. Maybe I’ll do that later when I get to the arena in Cedar Rapids.

Written by Jason Bryant

March 5, 2009 at 2:05 pm

Posted in Blogging

Tagged with ,

My first wrestling match

I spend a lot of time on Facebook. I was dead set against social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook in the early days. In fact, I didn’t jump on Facebook until after I’d graduated from ODU. But I still had a university e-mail account (which I never used), so I was “eligible” to jump on back in 2004.

Well, those of you on MySpace and Facebook are familiar with those little surveys that roll around and you tag people and then they give their responses and whatnot. Well, one of my high school acquaintences who I later became friends with (we weren’t really friends in high school) tagged me.

This was #17 random fact, so I’m honoring it by this blog:

17.) I think Jason Bryant a.k.a Twinkie is a great example of someone who are living the dream. He is also a HUGE asset to the sport of wrestling and I wish he would mention me in a up coming article about how I took him to his first tournament in which he wrestled in at Northhampton Middle School. I also hope he forgives me for being a dick to him sometimes in class…

So Jimbo, here’s the story of my first wrestling match.

It’s well documented that I was a pretty crappy wrestler. I came out for the team basically beacuse of my interest in the sport. I wrestled a bit in open tournaments but could never hack it on the mat. I was, by that time, pretty deep into my love of broadcasting and writing and was writing a lot and announcing eight sports. Well, here’s the deal about my first wrestling tournament.

I had been to TWO club practices to start learning how to wrestle. We were team state runners-up at the AA state tournament that year to rival Grundy. Jamie Holloway, our 135-pounder, had toted me to my first practice and taught me the finer points of the Poquoson crossface, which basically amounted to a forearm that knocked both of my contact lenses out. Great.

Well, I’d been to TWO practices and saw there was a tournament the upcoming weekend at Jeff Davis Middle School (or as Jimmy mentioned, Northampton M.S.), well, it’s pretty much the same since that was the Northampton section of Hampton.

Well, I’d waited for Jimmy to come pick me up. Earlier in the week at the wrestling room, I’d borrowed a pair of his old shoes, a pair of black Asics with the hot pink trim, they were pretty popular back in the late 90s. Well, I knew the start time was around 9 a.m., so I was up and ready. No Jimbo. So I got my mom to drive me 15 minutes over. No biggie. I met up with Jimmy as we came in. I can’t remember exactly what the excuse was, but afterwards, I did catch a ride home.

Well, as I sat there, I looked at the wall charts and saw my name along with three others using the VA Easy System (or Madison) system. I weighed in at 204 the day before, had my USA Card and I was set to go.

I found some teammates, Jason Forrest, Jimmy, Coach Ruff and Mike Green, who was an 8th grader at the time. I made a joke as I walked past a mat of tots wrestling and said, “Hey coach, that kid knows more than I do.”

“Yes, Twink, he does,” said coach. This got a laugh out of the guys.

Well, I didn’t have a singlet, I was wearing a t-shirt from the AA/A State Tournament I’d bought the week or two prior. My headgear was brand-spankin’ new. I didn’t even know how to adjust it.

I sat on the bleachers and watched Jason Forrest get called for his first match. Jimmy graduated a year earlier and was helping with the upper weights towards the end of the season. The guy had freakish strength and was from the same area of Newport News I’d previously lived. He was wrestling in the open division, along with two folks I knew, one well, the other I’d know well later. Allen Hackmann, our assistant coach and Rob Henesey, a former Poquoson state champ who is now a wrestling official. Jimmy, Hackmann and Rob were in the same weight with another guy.

I sat waiting to be called and when I heard my name, I walked over and waited for my bout sheet. As I write this, I can actually feel the rush of adrenaline back to my system. I was so nervous. I mean, I can, right now, feel that sense of a raised heart rate, jitters, etc.

Well, two of the other guys in the bracket next to me were from Kecoughtan (Kick-o-tan), a high school in Hampton. They didn’t show up. Neither did anyone else from Kecoughtan, severely screwing up the hand-paired brackets by local wrestling pairmaster Candido Rodriquez.

Victor Holloway was the coach at Kecoughtan, I didn’t know who he was yet at the time. I ended up getting to know Victor as I covered wrestling for the Daily Press in later years. Well, the tournament director was so pissed, he told “Everyone who has a Kecoughtan guy, walk over to that guy (pointing at Holloway) over there and say thank you.”

So we did.

That left me and someone named Andre Elliot in the bracket. Andre was from Northampton … not the Northampton section of Hampton, but from the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Those of you that wonder what that is, well, it’s that section of Virginia connected to Maryland on the other side of the Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel runs from the southern point of the Eastern Shore to Virginia Beach … it’s about a 30-mile run on the CBBT itself.

Well, little did I know that Andre was there looking for the Poquoson 215-pounder … but not any 215-pounder. He wanted our state qualifier and eventual state runner-up Emile Cochet. He got me.

I saw him, and like a dumbass wrestling noob, I sat next to him and said, “Hey man, how long have you been wrestling?”

“Forever,” he said. “Sh*t,” I said to myself.

He said, “Hey, is that shirt from this year?” I replied, “Yup.”

Then a finger is poked into my back, “Yup, there I am.”

Like a dork, I asked “So, how’d you do?”

“Third this year, I was second last year.”

Granted, Northampton was Single A, but coach Brian Harmon had produced some monster teams over there. Great for Single A and when they went AA, they were still pretty solid.

So here I am, my first wrestling match, and I get a state runner-up and two-time state placewinner who came looking for our starter (and later my drill partner). I’m in for a rough day.

Having started learning to wrestle about a week prior, I knew about half of an inside step, an armbar tilt and an anklepick, even though my arms were like T-Rex arms, short and not very good for going underneath and snatching up ankles.

After watching Jimmy win, Jason Forrest battle Western Branch’s Danny Smith and Mike Green maul some poor sap, I was on the mat.

We wrestled one four minute period at the Bethel Open. I wouldn’t make it the four minutes.

Jason Forrest, who’d just lost in overtime, heard me called and grabbed Mike. “Twinkie’s wrestling, we have to watch this!” Admittedly, they didn’t help with my hesistancy. I was scared to freakin’ death.

The whistle blows and Andre’s in great shape, this guy has muscles on muscles. I tie up (or so I think) and halfway bang the head down and instead of changing my level and attacking the leg, I just dive. I think I might have touched Andre’s kneepad. He snapped (well, didn’t really have to), spun around and scored two. He then threw a half and drove me over to my back. Having no knowledge of wrestling other than a year of watching it and covering the stat aspect, I knew one thing —  I wasn’t going to flap around like a fish out there. It just looks stupid, so I remember thinking, “No, I’m not going to look like that.”

Well, my left arm was trapped underneath me, so there was no way for him to have pinned me from that situation, so he released the half and I bellied down. I moved up to my base and Andre pushed me away for a one-point escape. Before I turned to face him, I looked over at Coach Ruff and Coach Hackmann and said, I kid you not, “I scored!”

I turned and faced Andre again and repeated my folly, a half shot dive. This time, it wasn’t so difficult. Andre sunk in another deep half and simply overpowered me. The half was on my right side, which was the direction of Ruff and Hackmann.


“C’MON TWINKIE!” hollered other teammates, half amused, half concerned.

This is also the point where I realized my nickname wasn’t really suited for wrestling. I mean, couldn’t they have just yelled my name instead? That might have saved some of the embarrassment. I mean, c’mon … who’s going to be scared of a wrestler named Twinkie? But I digress.

Of course, instead of looking away, I look directly at them, looking right into the half. Not Good.

Whistle blew and I was pinned. Fall time 2:51. So in a regulation match, I would have at least made it through the first period.

For my efforts, I was given a second place medal, my first and only wrestling medal. I should have it somewhere, my mom I think has it back in Poquoson. I look at it more of a turning point in my life than it was “winning” a medal, because I took second … out of two.

Jimmy ended up beating Hackmann, but then lost with an illegal slam, so even though he beat Hackmann, Hack got more classification points. Jimmy took second, so did I.

As I left the tournament, Jimmy looked over at me looking at my medal.

“You’re proud of that aren’t you?” he said.

“Actually, kinda,” I said.

I later ran into Andre in college. He went to Old Dominion and was a bouncer at the now-demolished 4400 Club. I’d see him from time to time and be like “Dude, why’d you have to whip my ass like that?” He’d always laugh. He was a good guy.

Coach Ruff and I still talk to this day. He’s a big reason why I’m so enamored with this sport. When my wrestling career came to an end, Ruff pulled me aside and told me “You’ll do more for this sport doing what you’re doing now, than you ever will for me on a wrestling mat.”

Those words ended up being prophetic. Jason Forrest ended up taking fifth in the state his senior year at 130. Mike Green never got the chance. Later that summer, Mike died after sustaining injuries in a freak accident at the base of his driveway. Until that time, Mike beat me up and down the Poquoson wrestling room. He was a 6-2, 190-pound specimen of a rising freshman. I truly believe he would have been a four-time state champion. After Mike died in August of 1996, I told myself I would make 189 and make states, because that was his spot.

I never fulfilled that obligation, because quite frankly, I got too late of a start in the sport and was so far behind the curve. I remember one practice where Mike just beat me up and down the room, it was just bad. But after a 10-minute go where I think he pinned me five or six times, he looked over and said, “I’m scoring on all your mistakes. It’s not like you’re not picking this up, but you’re just making bad choices on when to shoot and when not to shoot.”

Later that summer, after Mike’s passing, I scored my first (and only) legitimate takedown on Hackmann, who had been a state runner-up at Green Run when he was in high school. Bash the head, quick level change, shot in the direction of where he was circling, snatched the leg, doubled off on the leg and drove him to the mat.

Had it been a match where he was in trouble, I doubt I would have scored it, but to this day, I can still say “Hackmann, I took you down.”

So there’s a little bit about my first wrestling match and the summer that followed. It began my passion for the sport. I ended up winning a few matches at tournaments the rest of the summer, but never qualified for Fargo despite wrestling freestyle for, like a week, that summer.

So Jimmy, that’s the story about my first wrestling match. You talked me into wrestling in it and toted me home. Funny how that seemingly random event would have an effect on the rest of my life.

Written by Jason Bryant

February 2, 2009 at 11:21 pm