Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Road to Cedar Rapids- 2014: Fighting Off of Our Backs

Just a little over five years ago the Cedar River rose to record heights and covered almost 10 square MILES of Cedar Rapids. The floor of the US Cellular Center that had, just three months before, held the mats for the 2008 NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships, was now a couple of feet under water. According to FEMA calculations the Cedar Rapids flood of 2008 was/is one of the most financially devastating natural disasters in American history.

We have a wrestling heritage in Cedar Rapids. Four wrestlers from our high schools have won a total of 11 NCAA wrestling championships - eight in Division I and three in Division II. Two wrestlers from Coe College have totaled three Division III titles. Barry Davis is an Olympic Silver Medalist. The grand dame of wrestling, Sandy Stevens, was born here and announced her very first meet here. Heck, even our home grown Masters champion, Zach Johnson, wrestled in middle school. It's not a stretch for us to deal with challenge with a wrestling mentality. In July of 2008 we were "bridging" and fighting to get off our backs.

As I watched friends lose their homes, possessions and businesses I was struck by their fighting resolve. Kinda' made me think of the most famous comeback by a Cedar Rapids wrestler - ever.

We're still fighting, but we've gotten to our feet and started to score. We and Cornell College are hosting the 2014 NCAA Division III Championships, March 14 and 15 at the brand new US Cellular Center. Put us on your calendar. You'll see some great wrestling and also what tough people in a tough town can do.

You'll love it here - I promise.