Day 2: We wake up in the beautiful city of Orem, Utah. It is January 2013 and we are here to attend the Rocky Mountain Rumble Wrestling Tournament. This year there are 68 teams competing with many state champions and state placers from last year in attendance. We just endured a 13 plus hour bus ride to get here and we are looking forward to breakfast. Now I grew up with an old grouchy, loud, cowboy/logger for a dad. Breakfast was cooked by him and it was MANDATORY. He was not a particularly good cook or singer but unfortunately he did both every morning. Runny fried eggs or flat egg looking rocks, burned bacon and oatmeal that was runny or impenatrable. In my 50’s breakfast holds a special place in my heart. I became a good cook because I got tired of the countless breakfasts described above. When I wake up in Utah I think “Yum!” and head downstairs to the continental breakfast. Last year when we came to this tournament the breakfast was to die for. Large heated trays of eggs, bacon, sausage and oatmeal. Hot cakes and many other tasty morsels abounded. I forgot we changed to a different lower priced hotel this year. I walk into the lobby and see the breakfast spread…I think my dad cooked it. Damn and double damn.
Cold hard-boiled eggs, toast, and watered down juice. Some packaged oatmeal and various and sundry other less than appetizing offerings. I then remember the boys have to weigh in shortly for the tournament. They have certainly done so in their rooms as soon as they woke up. Depending on their weight breakfast may not be an option for them.
I see the boy “Captain America” stroll in and raise my eyebrows. He knows the question and grins. He says “Weighed 194.5. I get to eat!” He gets a two-pound allowance at this tournament so he can weigh 197 pounds and make weight. He loads up a pound and a half of food so he has a one pound leeway. I can’t imagine doing that in high school. He doesn’t bat an eye.
The team eats quick and light and heads out to weigh in at 9:30 a.m., tournament starts at noon, so the parents have a little more time. We eat breakfast, such as it is, and then another set of parents invite us to Costco to buy wrestler food. We hop in their car and hit Costco. Cases of Gatorade, bananas, bag of tangerines, box of apples and off to the lunch counter.
We gobble lunch and jet to the Utah Valley College main gym. It must seat 5,oo0 or so and is about 1/3 full. 68 teams are registered. One of the largest tournaments in the western united states. The tournament starts at 106 pounds and there are 64 wrestlers at each weight. Each match lasts about 6-10 minutes, there are 12 mats…The boy weighs 196. You do the math on how long we sat there. He wrestled at 4 p.m.. He was nervous and just nibbled a sandwich and sipped water from breakfast until the match.
He wrestled a kid with a 16-11 record and beat him easily 6-2. His next match was at 7 p.m. so he ate a sandwich and drank a Gatorade. The next young man he faced had a record of 23-3. Billy wrestled tough into the 3rd period. The other kid was up 5-2 when Billy made a mistake and boom! Kid spun left, Billy held still, kid spun right and pin! So…now we wait through the hour-long break, walk next door to the smaller gym and watch the Utah Valley wrestling team wrestle Arizona State. We stay and watch the college 197 pounders so he can see what they look like.
We head back to the big arena and watch (I am not making this up) match 794. This is so we can see who wins and gets to wrestle with my very cranky son. The winner is declared so now we wait…for match 906. Wrestlers are gettin’ a little wound up now ’cause if you lose two matches you are done. Everyone still rolling tonight has lost once already.
My kid, Captain America, looks a little deceiving when he warms up. He wears the biggest warm up jacket on the team. The one that is for the 285 pound wrestler. He wears it because sometimes he rolls at 285 pounds and he is the biggest kid on our team. Bottom line…it makes him look skinny. He most definitely is not. When he warms up he listens to some kinda music that sounds like a bad chainsaw and stomps around getting more and more pissed. Then he goes out and usually wins.
Tonight he is way motivated and the assistant coach actually video tapes Billy warming up. He looks scary. As the match comes up the opponent watches Billy take off his jacket and pulls up his wrestling singlet straps over his shoulders. This causes much flexing and bunching of muscles. The opponent looks over at Billy and turns to his coach and says “Do I have to wrestle HIM?” The coach looks at the kid and nods. The kid hangs his head. My tiny Captain America kid stalks out on the mat and dominates the kid 5-0. The ref raises Billy’s hand and the other kid says “man are you strong”.
It has been a heck of a year so far. Captain America is 2-1 on the first day of a major tournament, is 20-10 for the season and is so buff he is scary. So other than me not finding any tasty food the entire day, cause wrestlers don’t care if they eat, it was a great day.
Up at 6 a.m. tomorrow, at the college to weigh in at 8:45 a.m., watch him wrestle twice, on bus at 8 p.m. when all the kids are done and then a comfy 13 hour bus ride home after dinner at… the Wal-Mart McDonald’s. We must love that boy!