I went home to Durango for Christmas. It was great. My whole family was there. I played with my 2-year-old niece Emily quite a bit. My sister April and I got her to say bad words on tape.
It was the perfect length of time: 4 quick days. And back to wrestling.
I didn't place at Midlands--I went 0-2. I lost 8-4 to Cliff Lentz from SF State, who took 7th at Sunkist (he was 4th in my pool there and I was 5th). Then I lost to Marco Sanchez from Arizona State, 2-2 on criteria. I just didn't wrestle well.
I placed second at the Florida freestyle tourney. Lewis, C.T. Campbell, Barry, Royce, and Scott Williamson all competed. Chris Campbell also wrestled for the Hawk Club and stayed with us, even though he's not training in Iowa. I'd never met him before, and he didn't seem inclined toward conversation, so we didn't even speak.
I lost to Rob Calabrese from Foxatcher, 12-2. He's ranked in the top 5-6 in freestyle, and it was good to wrestle him, but I should've done better. Even if I didn't beat him I should've kept it closer.
On Saturday night, after the tourney, I hung out with Barry. We walked down the Ft. Lauderdale strip and talked about our dreams and ambitions. I told him how much Iowa had changed my perspective about life. All this time I've been setting my sights too low.
Things are going well with Jenny. I drove up to Dubuque to see her after I got back from Florida. We started talking about having an exclusive relationship. She's a little bit afraid to get too serious with me, because she's not sure it's going to lead anywhere. I told her I disagreed with the whole concept. We're all going to be dead in another 50-60 years, so what do you mean when you say "permanent relationship" or "leading somewhere"? I don't like the idea of setting limits on our relationship.
I wrestled with Rat Martin yesterday. I went a little better than even with him on freestyle--good turns, better pressure, but I'm still not following all the way through with my shots.
It's Sunday night. Jenny spent the weekend with me. The past month has been so great in so many ways. Jenny is a great girl.
I wrestled with Martin again yesterday. I did extremely well, especially the first round or so--about 75%. Toward the end he started catching me--even pinned me once, the little f---er. But overall I looked good. Had it been a true 5-minute match, the first 5 minutes were all mine.
All of us lightweights are really coming on:
Rat Martin is 20-1 so far this season and ranked 2nd in the NCAA at 118. He is looking tough.
Terry Brands is 16-3 in open tournaments at 118. He and Martin go very close, but Martin still has the edge.
Chad Zaputil just beat NCAA All-American Mark Schwab (UNI) at the Midwest Championships at 118 and got the OW Award.
Tom Brands is the Iowa starter at 126, record of 20-3 and ranked 2nd or 3rd in NCAA.
Brad Bruhl hasn't yet broken through at 126, but he will. He's probably wrestling .500 or a little above.
And me, well, I've had my ups and downs this season, and I really haven't burst through like I thought I would--I'm 12-8 after an 8-2 start, but I'm still improving. I'll get there. Hell of a lot better than last season.
I wrestled Terry Brands in practice today and didn't do very well. I'd drilled with Barry yesterday and was hoping to utilize some of what I'd learned, but...I don't know, I just didn't.
We worry too much, you know? We all worry too much. We all want the whole pie, and we want it ready-made, with no missing pieces. People just can't stand missing pieces.
But, you know, there are little things that we can have, that we do have, and I think sometimes that we fail to appreciate them.
You know, when you look back on your fondest memories, often they are simple things--unplanned, spontaneous things. I think about my Grandmother Tarpley in her kitchen cooking Christmas dinner while I help mash the potatoes. I think about drinking with my brother Brad on the night before his wedding.
That's enough for me. It's okay not to have the entire puzzle figured out as long as the pieces you do put together are the right ones.