Apr 1988: The Brands are like 2-year-olds

I just got back from a freesyle tournament in Rockford, Illinois. I went with Barry Davis, Terry Brands, and Bill Levy.

I won 3 and lost 1, but I had to drop out with injuries. I separated my sternum in the opening match, which made it basically impossible to move my left side without great pain. But I did beat the guy, 22-8.

I decided to go one more round and ended up pinning that guy. Then I decided to go one more round because I had a possibility of placing if I beat him. I beat him 6-5. Unfortunately, he head-butted me, which caused my right eye to swell up. And even with the victory there were still 5 guys left in my bracket.

But since only me and the #1 seed were still undefeated, I had 2 losses to go before being put out. So I decided to default against the #1 seed in the next round in hopes of being able to pull out one final victory against an easier guy.

It came down to 4 of us, including the guy I'd beaten 6-5. I lost 10-8 to the national espoir champ. But the guy I'd beaten 6-5 only lost by decision to the #1 seed, so he had fewer black marks than me. So those 3 got into the round robin and I was out.

The #1 seed took first, the guy who beat me 10-8 took 3rd, and the guy I beat 6-5 either took 5th or 6th.

So I didn't place and I'll be out with injuries for a week or so. Anyway, now I've got a black eye, sore knees, and I can't even cough without major chest pain. Hopefully I'll be okay for the Midwestern Olympic Regionals in 2 weeks, or at least Nationals in 4.

Barry says I'm improving, and from the way I'm wrestling I think that's true. I'm not beating top-ranked guys, but I'm beating or going even with the junior and espoir champs who are in their first year or two of open competition. I've said before that if I can just keep up with the best college freshmen I'll be as good as the best college seniors in 4 years, hence I should be able to place at freestyle nationals.

It's a formula that doesn't mean much in real life, but for the record, I'm keeping up with the freshmen.

Terry Brands is unique. I didn't like him at first because he was so moody and aloof. But I think a lot of that was because of his natural intensity. He cares so much about winning and losing. You can see it when he wrestles.

Tom is the same way, and I admire that. I respect that.

My sternum is still f---ed up from last weekend but it's coming around. I think I can maybe wrestle in Omaha next weekend, assuming I can make weight. I'm probably 15 over right now.

The sun has been out a lot. Spring is here. Life is worth living. I love this place. The grass is so green. The river is so sparkling. The town is so clean. The people are so nice.

I applied to the History department for admission to the MA program. Sort of spur-of-the-moment, since I just picked up the brochure on Wednesday and I never really took a History class as an undergrad. But it'd be nice to round out my NYU film degree with some liberal arts, and I'm interested in history, so what the hell.

I almost went for Philosophy instead, but it just didn't sound very fun. The Philosophy professor I talked to said it was only something I should pursue if I planned to teach Philosophy as a profession. That seemed ironic, because isn't the whole idea of Philosophy supposed to be that it's an idealistic endeavor? Whatever.

We had a little party at the Heff House last night. I met this girl named Linda. We were making out in my room, and I looked over and Rat Martin was making out with some other girl about 5 feet away. Ick.

Linda is a nurse. (Like every other girl I've ever met in Iowa.)

Linda called me at the arena tonight. I was over there typing my essay on "Principles of Darwinism in the Philosophy of Nietzsche" for my Master's application when the phone rang.

I'm going to try and wrestle tomorrow.

This afternoon we had a wrestling meeting, and Gable asked me if I was going to Omaha. I said it was 50-50, depending on my sternum. Then Rico Chiaparelli said, "Depending on if he has a date this weekend," followed by a general wave of laughter and teasing.

Then Gable said, "Hey, maybe Tarpley wants a girlfriend. Maybe he likes her."

Guess who I saw after class tonight?


I saw her at the library while I was returning some of my Darwin books. She was kind of aloof. But she looked very cute. She's a mystery.

I'm definitely going to the Midwestern Olympic Trials in Omaha this weekend. I was 132 after practice today after 2 Diet Cokes, so I've only got 6.5 to go.

My brother and his wife had a baby today. Well, technically, Tracy had the baby. Her name is Mary Catherine. Maybe in her old age, when I'm dead and gone, she'll pick up this journal and discover what a f---ing he-man her Uncle Todd was on the day she was born.

Tonight I am filled with complete and total optimism about my life.

I was 129 at 10pm tonight, but I walked down to Changas, had a beer, then stopped at Donutland and had a blueberry turnover on the way home. The beer tasted so good. I could've drunk a six-pack.

I'm probably 130.5 right now. I'll be 129 again by tomorrow morning. That's 3.5 over. I'll need to lose 2.5 in the plastics, then float a pound on the way to Omaha.

I wrestled with Barry today. We wrestled 2 "matches." The first one he pinned me, but the second one we went even, and even in overtime too. Of course, I was going 100% and he was going maybe 50%--MAYBE 50%. Still, I was scoring some hot moves, like the trip I learned from Lewis, and lots of turns and counters.

I'm getting better, I don't care what anyone says. I can't shoot a f---ing double-leg for s---, but I'm getting better. In fact, tonight I was drilling with Martin and I felt like I could've tossed him several times from his outside singles.

When I got home from the arena tonight Heff's girlfriend Shannon was in my bed. Heff was at some neighbor's apartment having dinner, and my bedroom window happens to have a great view of the apartment, apparently. I don't know if it was an actual date or what, but Shannon was jealous about it, so she was spying on him. So I left the lights out and silently rooted for Heff to make a f---ing move on the girl. Shannon's kinda hot, after all.

Last night was crazy. All of yesterday, actually. I won 2 and lost 2 at the Omaha Olympic Qualifier, so once again I just missed out on qualifying for the final Trials.

We drove back to Iowa City in the early evening. Tom Brands was driving, and Terry was in the back seat, and all of a sudden they started arguing about something totally stupid--a song on the radio--and within about 5 seconds there were fists flying. I swear, it's like they're 2 years old.

When we got back to Iowa City I bought some beer and drank it in the sauna with Lewboo (Randy Lewis) and the Brands (who don't drink). We went to the Field House, where I met up with a couple of the cocktail waitresses from Changas, and I really don't remember what happened after that.

I woke up in Tom Brands' dorm room at 4:30am, then tried to find the keys to his car. I found Carpenter's keys, but couldn't find his car. So I walked home just as the sun was coming up.

Well, as fate would have it, Carpenter's car was in the driveway at the Heff House, and I discovered that I still had the keys in my pocket. So I drove to Lisbon and picked up Linda from work at the nursing home at 6am, where she works the midnight shift. We went to her place and slept til noon. Beer breath and all.

Yesterday I wrestled Steve Martin and today I wrestled Paul Kreimeyer (ex-All American 118-pounder from UNI). I went about even with both of them; maybe not quite. I was getting very lazy with that defensive style of mine, and wrestling them forced me to be more aggressive. They're both tough to counter; Martin shoots outside singles but finishes quickly or keeps his shoulders to the inside so that he's tough to cut the corner on and crotch-lift. Paul tends to shoot singles from an underhook--or turns the underhook into a tightwaist and drives straight into me. I need to counter that better.

I've decided to run in a 10K road race on Sunday. Nobody thinks I can run a 6-minute mile pace; we'll see. I entered as "Elvis Nietzsche."

The following weekend is freestyle Nationals.

I ran the 10K race today. I kicked some f---ing ass. I finished 11th overall with a time of 35:28. I averaged a 5:43 mile pace. I'm in pretty good shape, apparently.

I also lifted a few weights this afternoon and sat in the sauna tonight. I was 135.5 after the sauna, then had 2 Diet Cokes.

Terry Brands won the 125.5 class at the Oklahoma regional Olympic Trials qualifier this weekend. There were only 4 guys in his weight. If I'd gone I probably could've qualified for the Trials. F---. I didn't go because I wanted to make sure I could get time off of work next weekend for Nationals.

Barry isn't wrestling at freestyle Nationals this year. Brad Penrith will be at 136.5 Terry Brands will be wrestling in the Espoir (20 and under) division. If Melchiore goes he'll be at 136.5. It would certainly take a load off my shoulders if I could place this year.

I'm completely sore today. I wrestled freestyle with Martin and went about even. I got more 2- and 3-point stuff; he got more 1-point takedowns. I lace-legged him 3 times flat to his back. Flat.

I leave for Reno for freestyle nationals tomorrow at 6:15am. It's almost midnight now. I hate cutting weight. I'm probably 5 over right now. I'm also sore and tired. My legs feel like cramping.

I may have a shot at placing. Who knows? I've been so optimistic latey. I feel like I can go with some good guys, if I can just bust loose.

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