Thursday, November 25, 2010

I'm thankful I never had to wrestle Tom Brands

In accordance with holiday tradition here is a list of things for which I am thankful.

I am thankful that Dan Gable never got me in the double arm bars. At age 60, my shoulders ache enough as it is. I’m also thankful to Eric and Adam Heneghan for introducing me to Dan. It has provided me with one of my favorite stories.

I am thankful for all of the people who have supported this blog – Danielle Hobeika, Al Bevilacqua, Bill Lahman, Barry Davis, Chad Zaputil, Johnny Cobb, the Rush Family, Jeff McGinness, Joe and Dee Pollard, Ken Chertow, Mark Ironside, Mike Clayton, Mark Palmer and others I’m forgetting at the moment – have a all contributed in some way to several blog editions.

I am thankful for the people I have met the past couple of years who battle every day for the future of this great sport (again, I’m sure to forget some) – Mike Duroe, Dick Simmons, Sandy Stevens, Jason Bryant, Lee Roy Smith, Richard Small, Mike Moyer, Tammy Tedesco, Dr. Tim Drehmer, Kyle Klingman, Kent Sesker, that Gable guy again. I have been honored to contribute in some small way to your efforts.

I am thankful for the people who have supported Tickets for Kids – to Fred Jones at the Cedar Rapids Marriott who has made the largest donation to date - to KJ Pilcher of the Cedar Rapids Gazette, whose feature on the effort really got the ball rolling – to Eric Betterman from The Open Mat who gave us our website (stop by now and make a donation) and Sandy Stevens who wrote about us in WIN. Thank you to the many generous donors who have made and continue to make it possible (so far) for well over a thousand kids to attend a big time wrestling event. I am especially thankful to Rod Frost and Gail Rush who, in separate efforts, have raised almost $2,000 this season.

I am thankful for a special group of friends who listen to my tired stories and patiently allow me to ramble on about the glories of wrestling. You know who you are – Jamie, Jacki, Jayme, Angela, Steve (who is finally going to his first wrestling meet this year), Curt (brother of an NCAA champion), Shane and – of course, former Cedar Rapids Kennedy wrestler – Lenny.

In today’s world of the blended family, I am thankful for Barb and Mike. I was once married to Barb and she is the mother of my two lovely daughters and remains one of my best friends. And Mike – I can’t say thanks enough. You see, many years ago when our house burned to the ground, it was Mike who got the girls out.

I am thankful for those two lovely daughters. No father could be prouder than I. I am thankful for the grandchildren who will run through the house today and yell and play and maybe stop for a second to hug Grandpa.

Finally, I am thankful for Cindy. Somehow, I won the marriage lottery. She loves me in spite of my many bad habits and has supported all of my meager efforts to help wrestling. But, really, she only has herself to blame – in her effort to hook me she did buy our first season tickets 20-some years ago.

I’m not sure why God chose to bless me in so many ways, but I am truly thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving.


rob said...

Thank YOU for all that you do Jim. - rob calkins

Jim Brown said...

Good to hear from you, Rob. I'm sure I'll see you some time this weekend.

Brian said...

Great post, Rob. I wrestled Terry Once, at Junior Nationals in 1985. That was the first big tournament where they made a splash. Imagine a headgear in your face for three minutes until the officials graciously ended the matter.

Terry was trying to turn me when the first period ended (the old 3-3 format). During halftime, the refs decided he had scored points on the move, awarded them and ended the match by technical fall. I have never been so happy.

Terry was a different matter. He was fuming that he would only get 3.5 points for a tech and not 4 for a pin, demanding the refs change their mind and let him pin me. I can't remember if he ever acquiesced to a handshake, but I was amazed at the sight of this kid being held back by his coaches as he yelled, "I need to pin him" and lunged toward my corner.

I love this sport.