Monday, January 11, 2016

S7s: Jan 10- Brotherhood

1) Friday night, January 8, we held a reunion for the 1996 West Henderson Dual Team State Championship team. 20 years ago, a young coach took a bunch of talented and committed individuals and together won a State Dual team title. We wrestled two matches that finals night because of inclement weather earlier in the week. We beat North Wilkes in the Regional Finals 28-26.

In the state finals, we beat East Davidson by the score of 28-26. There were big wins by Damon Blackley and myself over two of their better kids. There was a bite that ended up being huge points for us. Casey Manuel got a pin to put us up by 5. Troy Sapp bumped up to heavyweight and stalled his way through the match to give us the win.

As special as winning the State Title was, I think mostly back to the brotherhood. I miss wrestling but I miss more the being on the team. We struggled, worked and cried together. We laughed with one another and pushed each other. Damon and I traveled to countless off season tournaments together. Stephen and Ebert were practice partners. My brother was on the team. Michael and I were the co-captains. We had a coach that pushed us, cared for us and that we believed in. I don't remember the state title match as much as I remember the wrestling room, picking up Nick early in the morning for AM practices, trying not to get slammed into the back of the bleachers at West. That was a special team and I was honored to be part of it. We accomplished great things-- 2 undefeated seasons, 5 individual state champions and several state placers-- but it's the brotherhood we built together that made our team great and made Friday special.

2) This TED talk resonates with how I feel. I have not served and cannot put myself in the position of a soldier, but I think I understand the "brotherhood". There's a special connection when you have to sacrifice, sweat and hurt together. Brotherhood and friendship are not the same. You don't have to like someone to have a brotherhood. But the cool thing is that we our team honestly all liked each other. And we had a brotherhood.

Soldiers are willing to go back to war because of the brotherhood, not because they love war. I'd go back not as much for the wrestling, but for the brotherhood. These guys were that special.

3) One of the youngest members of Terry Lee Varnadore, who was a freshman in 1995-1996. Terry Lee died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan on April 23, 2011. Our group came up with the idea of a Terry Lee Courage and Leadership award that will go to a deserving wrestler every year. The award will hang in the West Henderson commons for everyone to see and for Terry Lee to be honored. This wasn't just some award because we felt bad that a guy died in combat, but this was so that people would remember and know that Terry Lee was a man of honor and character.

It was both heartbreaking and an honor to get to hug his parents. When the award was presented to his parents, I got pretty emotional. I got to meet his two daughters, who are both precious and adorable. The older one reminded me of her dad so much. The gym was full of love and laughter, but there was still a hole in our hearts. There were several members of our team that couldn't make it on Friday to the reunion, but Terry Lee's absence hurt the most. 

4) Last week was a really good week of classes for me. My kids were at it, trying to get things done and be ready for exams this week. I have never liked the state's mandate that schools start no earlier than August 25. It means we don't finish our first semester until after Christmas holidays. We have to reteach to get ready for exams because of the break rather than just review. 

Also, the state, in their brilliance, has created tests that can take 10 days to score. So we have to give "incompletes" if they don't have test scores back. This makes no sense-- if you're a senior and are in danger of failing a core class, you need to know immediately whether you have to retake the course. Of it it is second semester, you need to know if you're eligible to graduate.

And this article resonated with me: The Real Problem with teaching in NC

5) Up and down week for the wrestling team. We broke a losing streak to Pisgah on Tuesday by a score of 42-25. Our kids wrestled tough and we got several big falls. I was really proud of our effort and toughness. The win puts us at 17-4 for the season and 3-0 in the conference.

Yesterday was a day of growth for us. At the Fandetti Brawl, we got beat up some. We battled and fought, but lost lots of tough matches. The competition was stellar and while we are a good group, it showed that we still have work to do. We had 5 placers, but our highest kid was 3rd. We were humbled in some places and in other places we showed that we were fighters. Our potential is there, we still have high ceilings individually.

6) NFL Playoffs have been pretty fun. All the road teams won. Green Bay ended up running away from Washington. Chiefs in a blow out. But some notes:
  • Bengals-Steelers: dirty and ugly play by Burfict. I hope Antonio Brown is okay. Bengals lost their cool at the end. Fumble. Personal Foul. Personal Foul. That set up the game winning field goal.
  • I feel so bad for Vikings kicker Blair Walsh. He'll never live that down. I guess you'll see more coaches going for game winning field goals on 3rd down to get the second shot in case of a miss. 
  • I think that the Panthers wanted to play Green Bay or Minnesota rather than Seattle.
  • Predictions: Chiefs over Patriots, Broncos over Steelers (especially if Ben is banged up), Carolina over Seattle, Arizona over Green Bay.
7) College Championship Prediction: Clemson 33, Alabama 27

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