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Old 03-13-2010
Wrestling Media
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Chicago
Posts: 18,958
NCAA National Championship thoughts of a Dad and his kid

Well here I am sitting in the press box next to Dan Gable and CBS Sports about to watch my son attempt to fulfill his dreams. Yes I am in the Lee and Heline Sapp Fieldhouse on the University of Nebraska @ Omaha campus waiting on the 2010 NCAA DII finals to begin.

When I first started this column in 2004, I promised to share our journey through wrestling from a father son perspective and here we go again. Hopefully it will be a happy one but either way it is what it is. As a family we feel blessed to even be in this position. 15 years of hard work can bear fruit in a few minutes.

It's all there in front of me. The televison cameras, the elevated stage with the NCAA logos on the mat are waiting on a champion. The two jumbotron videos signal everyone will see every move. The crowd is filled to the rafters and now I see the bracketboards and trophies. This is the real thing sports fans.

Mario as most of you know is the third ranked, 141 pound junior All American for the Mavericks who are the defending national champions. He has been having a stellar season winning his 100th college match this morning to get into the finals. He also has won 29 straight matches and not lost since December 5th of last year. Mario improved his record to 40-3 with only one loss to a DII wrestler this season and two others to University of Iowa wrestlers. He punched his ticket to the finals with a dramatic fall at 6:15 in the semi-fianls over two-time All American Cory Bloodgood of Central Missouri. The Sapp fieldhouse blew up in cheers and my son did something he had never done before, he ran off the mat and leaped into my arms. It was a signal from him that he was very close to achieving his goal of being a college national champion.

When Mario signed his letter of intent back in November of 2005 being on the big stage was a dream and a goal. Tonight the goal is almost reached with one more win and the dream can become a reality. As I look down on the floor I see him warming up with the other best wrestlers and I wonder what is going through his mind. Like any other parent of a wrestler I learned to stay away in these moments and let him find himself. Yet I still wonder.

There have been so many near misses over the last 15 years. There is the well document high school careeer at Mt. Carmel where losses to Nick Fanthorpe, Jimmy Kennedy and Dalton Bullard prevented him from becoming a folkstyle state champ. Sure there were freestyle and greco state championships and IKWF state championships. There was national sucess like at Senior Nationals, Brute-Adidas and USA Wrestling. Heck he even won the 103 pound AAU national title freshman year but who really cared. There was the time he was rolling throught the competition at Tulsa nad caught a bad cramp in the semi-finals. Ron Uccardi wenton to win that bracket but Mario came back to win that year against Uccardi in the IKWF.

But tonight is different. This is BIG! Very, very big. While it may not be DI it is still a major championship. And with only one more collegiate year left we as a family have learned that tomorrow is not promised. The knee and shoulder injuries reminded us of that.

So with all of that said I sure hope he gets it done. But I still wonder what he is thinking and for that matter just what is he listening to in his iPod.

Maybe I will ask him when we are at the podium if it's a good night.

Last edited by MR TWISTER; 12-15-2010 at 01:37 PM.
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