Sep 1988: Alger calls me a leech

Pre-season team meeting today. Gable talked about the importance of getting back to #1. He says the fear factor is no longer on our side--opponents aren't automatically intimidated by Iowa, and that has to change.

He wants to see us be "entertaining" as wrestlers. I had never heard him say that before. He means constantly scoring, going for pins, making the crowd anxious to see you wrestle.

I did great against Bruhl yesterday and pretty good (relatively) against Barry today. I wrestle with Martin tomorrow for the first time this season, and that will be the true test. I've never gone better than 50% against Martin.

If he goes 118 he's almost sure to be an All-American. He's good. If I can go 50% or better against Martin, I'll know I'm good.

I just wrestled Martin over at the arena. He beat me pretty good--just singles and counters. Damn. I hit some good stuff on him, though. I've got to be sharper and quicker and tougher. But it's not like I'm flopping all over the mat or anything. I hit some good stuff today, put him on his back a couple of times. I could never do that last year at this time.

Diet soda is one of the greatest inventions of all time. Fire, the wheel, written language, the printing press, the telescope, and Nutra-Sweet.

I went to Great America today with Kyle Beaird and Tracy Breen. He's one of the walk-on wrestlers, and she's one of the mat-aides. We rode all the roller coasters. It was great. We took my hot car.

I went downtown to the Field House tonight, and some girl came up to me and said, "I know you. You're a wrestler," and kissed me.

Royce was there, all f--- up. He told me in so many words that I'm leeching off the Iowa Wrestling program, that I'll never be a real Iowa wrestler or place at Nationals.

Everything has to be about him. Some guys, like Barry, are supportive, and Barry is just as good a wrestler as Royce. Just because you're a great wrestler doesn't mean you have to put everybody else down, to show them their place in the pecking order. You don't have to be a dick. You choose to be.

It's doubly annoying because he may be right. I haven't proven myself yet.

Still...f--- him.

I've got to work harder. The Steiners are both beating me handily. Terry is a lot bigger, but that's no excuse. Martin has been beating me good too. I'm so-so against the Brands. I generally beat Zaputil and Bruhl, although they are both tough and getting tougher. Yegge is not a problem. I just feel like I'm at a plateau. It's not enough to just roll with the flow. I need to push harder to get to the next level.

I've been kicking ass on the runs. A couple days a week we do a 3-mile team run around the golf course, followed by 10 sprints up a steep hill near the arena that has been dubbed Wrestler's Hill.

The Steiners take off like bats out of hell--about a 5-minute mile pace, like a dead sprint. There are only a few of us that try to go with them, because it's a seriously FAST pace. As long as I go with them from the beginning and just draft on their asses for the first 2 miles, I can generally pass them in the last mile and sprint it out to the hill. Barry Davis is the only other person on the team who can keep up with us.

That feels good. Knowing that my physical stamina is as good as anyone's here is reassuring.

Barry didn't place at the Olympics. He went 1-2. He was quite disappointed. Having won the silver in '84, he was hoping to retire with a gold.

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