Monday, July 7, 2008

2008 - an internet odyssey

2008 – an internet odyssey

I found internet wrestling sites two years ago. I had never been much of a surfer, but my wife had developed such a network of relationships among fans of The West Wing (a couple of whom are now very good friends of ours) that I thought that, perhaps, the same opportunities existed for fans of amateur wrestling.

From the ridiculous …

I found first and lurked for a couple of months. While the site was incredibly slow (even by 2006 standards), I found the news sections highly enlightening. The message board – now that was something else. Here are a couple of threads I actually read that were discussed extensively:

“If Dan Gable were wrestling today, he couldn’t beat Troy Nickerson”

“If Cael Sanderson hadn’t wrestled in such weak weight classes he never would have gone undefeated.”

Interestingly, these (or similar) threads get posted at least twice a year.

I would not be surprised to read the following post:

“Jake Deitchler is ducking all of the best guys by not going to Fargo.”

(Note to the non-wrestling fan readers: Jake Deitchler just graduated from high school and is, therefore, eligible to compete in the national junior freestyle and Greco-Roman championships in Fargo, ND. He will not do so because he became the first high school student in 32 years TO MAKE THE OLYMPIC WRESTLING TEAM.)

to the sublime.

Happily, about 18 months ago I found Hawkeye Nation. Yes these people were Hawkeye fans like me, but they also seemed to be real wrestling fans. There wasn’t much of the, “my team (recruiting class, coach, mascot) is better than yours and you’re an idiot if you disagree” posting that is so prevalent on some other wrestling sites.

After that I was hooked – was next. Here was a site that gave me in-depth articles and the best recruiting coverage on the ‘net.

Then I found, and the collection of videos from the 1972 Olympics was a true gift.

Wrestler, photographer and web developer extraordinary, Danielle Hobeika, introduced me to The Wrestling Talk and I found smart, international and (sometimes) humorous wrestling discussion.

Several of the best contributors to TWT are women. I’m beginning to believe that, as a gender, women make the best wrestling fans. They seem to be far more appreciative of the overall subtlety of the sport and far less into the “my guy can beat your guy” mentality. TWT is blessed with bluestater who writes a couple of blogs about sports as they appear from the “distaff” side. Her Chicks Heart Fights is one of the best I’ve seen about both wrestling and MMA.

The aforementioned Danielle Hobeika was instrumental in creating The Women’s Mat. It has fast become one of my favorite websites. As we approach Beijing, I highly recommend that you visit.

I write this blog once a week and there has been a time or two when I was challenged to come up with material. Jason Bryant of the National Wrestling Coach’s Association/intermat writes a DAILY blog called The Four Points. It ought to be a part of your regular reading – especially the guest blog written by Jake Deitchler. This young man, at 18 years old, is beautifully sharing his journey from Anoka, MN
to Beijing.

Andy Vogel, the head coach at Gettysburg College, writes and manages about NCAA Division III wrestling. The site is so in-depth I sometimes wonder when Andy sleeps.

So fans – fire up the old Commodore 64 and enjoy following the world’s oldest and greatest sport.


Matt said...

Good stuff. NOTHING was worse than the bashing Adam Frey took on message boards this past season only to find out he was wrestling with three tumors.

Jim Brown said...

Agreed. I prefer to discuss, promote and honor the sport and its' participants.

Thanks for reading.