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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

BRIDGE TOMMY, BRIDGE!


BRIDGE TOMMY, BRIDGE!

 

 In high school I was on the wrestling team.  I was not particularly good and I did not like the sport, but the football coach was also the wrestling coach and he wanted his football players to also wrestle.  He thought it would give his players more speed and endurance.  It was probably the reason our football team was not very big.

While other kids used the off season to rest up and put on weight, wrestlers fought to “make weight” or lose pounds in order to compete in a lower weight class.  Working out in sweats in a 90 degree gym and feasting on carrot sticks and celery during the teen years probably resulted in stunted growth for several of our football players. 

I never wrestled higher than junior varsity and my record was about 50/50.  I generally won by a pin, or lost by a pin; I just did not have the stamina to go the full nine minutes of a three period match.  Much as I despised wrestling it did provide some good stories.

In one tournament I was matched against a kid from Hunterdon Central, a known New Jersey wrestling powerhouse school at the time.  I expected a tough match and was surprised to find from the very start that my opponent was not a very good wrestler.  At the referees first whistle I had this kid on his back. 

He was not an experienced wrestler, but he was a tough competitor and would not give in to a pin.  He bridged (arching ones back while lifting your shoulders off the mat to avoid being pinned) the entire first period.  During the whole time I had him in a near pin, there was a loud clear voice from the thin crowd exhorting him to avoid defeat.

“Bridge Tommy bridge…move Tommy move…fight Tommy, move…bridge Tommy bridge.”

This voice did not stop for the whole first period as I attempted to pin my man.  In the second period I once again took down my inexperienced but gutsy opponent and had him on his back in a near pin situation.  The voice from the crowd rang out loud and clear once again.

“Bridge Tommy bridge…move Tommy move…fight Tommy, move…bridge Tommy bridge.”

For almost three minutes the voice did not stop rooting this kid on, and in turn he refused to be pinned.

The third period was more of the same.  I had “Tommy” on his back, and the voice from the crowd could not be missed.

“Bridge Tommy bridge…move Tommy move…fight Tommy, move…bridge Tommy bridge.”

With only seconds left in the match, my opponent’s strength finally sapped and just before he gave up and submitted to being pinned he screamed out at the top of his lungs,




“WOULD YOU SHUT UP MOTHER!”

 

As much as I hated this sport, it did teach me in later years to root for my own children silently.

8 comments:

  1. Ah ha ha!! L.O.V.E This!!!
    Former wrestling mom. AND my ex-husband was a wrestler with the father that you could hear above everyone in the crowd. Thanks for giving me a great laugh & rewind of the memory. As a mom, I HATED wrestling season. My son was a grumpy pain in the butt dieting. Eating peanut butter only, spitting all the time. UGH!

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  2. hahahah. my brothers wrestled. In fact, my twin brothers would decide each year who would take the lower weight. All I remember is them bundled up, running up and down the stairs in the basement. They played football too. hmmmm

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  3. You made me spit coffee on my computer--would you please hand me that paper towel?

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  4. How much stamina is packed into an average carrot?

    I had no sons to cheer for, but did have a girlfriend with a son. Those little kids play on regulation football fields! I would get so involved in the game my friend worried we'd be thrown out. Eventually she quit asking me to go.

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  5. haha...I think i might know the mom!

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  6. I'm sure your kids would love to send a "thank you" note to Tommy's mom. :)

    S

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  7. I think I've just had a glimpse into my future. I'm sure that my kids will turn around one day and say the same to me. I admit I'm a vocal soccer/futsal mum, but I try to only say encouraging things, honest.

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  8. Too bad all parents don't root for their kids calmly or quietly.

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