A whole different kind of wrestling

Posted 1/21/18

Since I was a small child, I’ve been a wrestling fan.

I’m not talking about the sport you find in the Olympics. I’m talking about the sports entertainment brand of wrestling where some of the athletes wear colorful masks, participants march to the ring with crazy music playing and often times grown people settle their differences inside a steel cage. I guess it is typically known in our neck of the woods as ‘rasslin’ instead of wrestling.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

A whole different kind of wrestling

Posted

Since I was a small child, I’ve been a wrestling fan.

I’m not talking about the sport you find in the Olympics. I’m talking about the sports entertainment brand of wrestling where some of the athletes wear colorful masks, participants march to the ring with crazy music playing and often times grown people settle their differences inside a steel cage. I guess it is typically known in our neck of the woods as ‘rasslin’ instead of wrestling.

As a child, I was a Hulkamaniac. I said my prayers, took my vitamins, trained and believed in myself. As I got a little older, I thought it was much cooler to style and profile, dreaming of one day being a limosine-riding, jet-flying, kiss stealing, wheeling and dealing son of a gun.

My son Stone is 15 years old now, and we have spent many nights sitting ringside at wrestling events all over the Southeast. We are even hopeful for a trip to Wrestlemania in New Orleans this year.

A few months ago, I was officially introduced to that other kind of wrestling. I have watched amateur wrestling throughout the years, but I never had a real reason to pay close attention to it until Stone joined the Jasper High School wrestling team back in November.

I’ve coached and cheered for that kid at some sort of sporting event since he was less than 3 years old. I knew I would enjoy watching him compete, but I didn’t know if I would care much for the sport overall. It was basically going to be a way to keep him in shape between football and soccer seasons.

Our first event of the season was a junior varsity tournament in Hayden. Stone nearly picked up a win in his first ever match and then did earn a victory in his second match. I didn’t know a lot about how the scoring worked during that first tournament, but I watched other matches closely and picked up on a few things. Stone finished fourth in his weight class at that tournament, and I was a proud papa.

We are nearing the end of his first season as a wrestler, and I am loving the sport just as much as when he is on the gridiron or standing in the soccer goal.

Before this season, the only wrestling moves I knew were things like the DDT or an RKO. I can now confidently describe a cow-catcher and a half nelson. I know what it takes to earn points, and I can even give Stone an idea every now and then for what he should attempt in his upcoming match or what he should have done differently in a previous match.

During our home matches, I can usually be found keeping the clock. Even though I have grown to love the sport this year, these matches can last hours sometimes, so operating the clock helps keep me from getting bored or letting my ADD get the best of me.

The wrestling team doesn’t get as much coverage as basketball during this time of year, but the sport is quickly growing in our area. Dora, Curry, Corner, Sumiton Christian and Jasper all have high school wrestling teams in the area. The Dora program has been outstanding this season, and the Jasper team has steadily improved. The Vikings team grew from 28 members last season to 51 this year.

The team just hosted 10 other schools for a junior varsity tournament on Saturday. Being a freshman, Stone wrestles for junior varsity and varsity, and I was proud that he finished second in his weight class at the home tournament. The Viking team also finished second overall, trailing only perennial wrestling power Gardendale.

There are a few more meets remaining before the team enters the sectional and state tournaments. The Vikings final home match will be on January 30 against Hayden and Oak Grove. It would be great to see a lot of Jasper folks there to support the team.

Stone has lost more matches than he has won this season, but I’m extremely proud of his progress from the first day until now. The entire team has shown improvement, and that is a testament to the hard work the kids have put into the program, and it is evidence the coaching staff is doing a great job with them.

I expect I may still see Stone in a Texas Death Match for the WWE Championship one day, but until then, he will have his dear old dad in his corner, letting out a “Whoooo!” just like Ric Flair after every one of his victories.

James Phillips is editor and publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle. He may be reached at 205-221-2840 or james.phillips@mountaineagle.com.