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Old 01-04-2009
Wrestling Media
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Chicago
Posts: 18,957
Is the Illinois wrestling community cheap?

With over 11,400 post on this website over the last 10 years I have had a lot of opinions on a lot of things. But when I read J.D. Oliva's recent post called "Do We Really Want A State Finals DVD" I was truly amazed that the state of Illinois wrestling community had gotten to this point. I just could not bite my tongue on this one.

Wrestling fans are always complaining about the lack of publicity / coverage for their sport. They want daily newspaper coverage yet the coaches won't even fax in scores to the local newspaper to get the coverage they want. Or the fans complain that there is no television coverage of the state finals. Next best thing is a DVD that every fan can take home and play over and over again.

Four years ago JD Oliva decided to do something about it. Aong with Mike Bare, owner, they negotiated with the IHSA (not the easiest of things to do)and got the job done. A high quality DVD was produced and distributed. Was it perfect? Probably not but it was damn close. And he added semi final and quarterfinal matches at no extra cost. He brought in national announcers Mike Massery, Rob Sherrill and Ken Chertow - Wrestling Announcer of the Year. He incorporated local announcers Dale Eggert and Mike Vest and even enticed me to provide pre and post match comments from the state champs at the moment of championship ecstacy down on the floor of Assembly Hall. He hired professional cameramen (with real cameras, not that junk Best Buy sells) and produced a Jumbotron extravaganza on the history of wrestling to cover up the dead time before the finals. And he included it for free in the package. We even went all over the state and interviewed past IHSA greats and did a full length feature on two future four time champs. No other era has had this before. What more can you ask for?

Here is one man, J.D. Oliva trying to produce a extreme high quality video at minimal cost of Illinois best wrestlers. And he was literally begging for money from you the wrestling community. Talk about wrestling apathy. The Illinois wrestling community should be ashamed if the plug gets pulled because of lack of support. ASHAMED!

Does anyone remember The Big Guy Show? He tried to provide a state finals production but there was a lack of support financially from the wrestling community. So he left for the more lucrative pastures of basketball and football. He didn't want to, he was forced to by the wrestling community being tight pocketed. Don't be surprised if JD (who unlike The Big Guy is one of our own - a wrestler from the wrestling community) is soon gone.

Why? Why is this even an issue?

I just don't understand this. J.D. stated in his post that he needed 30 sponsors at $400 per sponsor for all three weight classes. He outlined that this would cover all production cost and keep the fee charged to the customer to a minimum so that there would not be a price increase. He also pointed out that this was necessary because while the IHSA, everyone's favorite state run organization does not invest any money in the DVD they do require 40% of the profit. Talk about a stick up. But that subject is for another time and column. It is what it is.

I know for a fact that the last two years JD and his production company Video Infinity has taken a loss in this project. In fact just last year one sponsor (who shall remain nameless} promised to cover over half of the cost of the production but when his own kid did not place at state he never paid or even returned phone calls. Talk about a welsher! Because of that JD in order to keep his promise of delivering the DVD's paid the cost out of his own pocket. As you might imagine this did not sit well with his newlywed bride.

But those of you in the wrestling community got your DVD's. So now we fast forward to January 2009. Time to place those request for a sponsorship so the DVD's that everyone claims to love can be produced. Initially 10 sponsorships have come through. Twenty more are needed. JD puts together his post on all three boards. As of this column being written I counted a total of 20 responses on all boards. AAA had 14, AA 4 and A 2...and 3 of the twenty were from a poster who I know has their only kid wrestling in college. So that reduces the responses to 17.

However if I was to count other popular topics like "Why is Montini is AA" or "Why is OPRF ranked #1" there are 17 responses in about 5 minutes.

This all takes us to JD's original question. Do we really want a state finals DVD? Put yourself in his place. He is not making a profit. He has a young wife at home that is wondering what is his tie to the wrestling community and why is he spending his personal money to make it happen? the responses to his questions about desire to have a DVD is minimum at best.

Now personally for me it is not that big of a deal. Sure I get paid. But as announcers or reporters we are not getting rich on wrestling nor do we expect to. I don't have a personal investment in the DVD other than I like doing my part to make sure that someone else has a quality memory. I do have a quality production of my son's last two trials and trivilations in the Dome because of JD Oliva. But I do remember his first two trips to the state finals and how I tried to juggle filming and "parent coaching" from deep in the stands. Even my press pass could not get me close enough to film and if it did I would of spent a lot of time filming the roof of the dome. The group of parents / fans that was my son's era ponied up the money to have a finals DVD. It sure made being a fan a lot easier.

The real questions are what will this era do? Will you step up and sponsor the DVD's? Are you willing to let this die? Do you really think the IHSA will replace Video Infinity and provide you with a quality DVD by February? Maybe you are thinking ESPN or Flo wrestling is going to provide coverage of the state finals? Is the wrestling community cheap?

I can't wait to see how this all turns out. Meanwhile I will pop in last year's DVD or maybe some of the previous years DVD's because the memories like Blanton vs Benefiel or Lloyd vs Prater or Spangler vs Blanton are there to see over and over. But what about this year's memories? Maybe you are thinking this years memories are not worth preserving? Hmmmnnnnn!

I hope everyone bought a video camera for Christmas because you just might need it!

Last edited by MR TWISTER; 01-04-2009 at 04:03 AM.
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