June 1991: End of the Road
Jen and I just got home from Colorado. We spent a week there for my sister April's wedding. It was fun. World Team Trials were at the same time, and I debated for several days about which was most important, and in the end decided that family should win out this time.
My brother Brad told a story at the reception about April getting bucked off her horse at one of her first horse shows, when she was probably 10 years old. She got back on and finished the show, and he said he was very proud of her. Who knows if it's even a true story or, if it was, whether he was actually there. But he makes a good toast, and that's the important thing.
I'm coaching two camps with Barry this week, one in Des Moines and one in Wisconsin. The Iowa camps start at the end of the month.
I'm in Illinois at Jen's parent's house. We decided to spend a couple of days here before wrestling camps start.
Last week I went to Ben Peterson's camp in Wisconsin with Barry. It was way up in the woods, on a nice little lake. We stayed five days, and--in addition to wrestling, obviously--we went swimming, canoeing, and fishing. We even saw a bear and the Northern Lights.
The only slightly weird thing was that it was a Christian camp. I curse like a sailor and like to quote Bertrand Russell and Nietzsche a lot. So I felt a bit like Judas infiltrating the disciples. I did mention to Ben one night that I thought it was great that he was offering these kids a good role model, regardless of whether they became devout Christians. He said, no, he wanted them all to become devout Christians. Okay. So my attempt at finding common ground was unsuccessful, and I slinked away into the night to read my science books.
The Iowa camps started this week, and they're going okay. We've got a lot of kids. I'm an Assistant Coach, so I have to run with the kids every morning at 6:45am. At this point I'm used to it. And I'm getting paid for it, whereas they're shelling out $400 for the privilege.
I got accepted to Yale business school.
It feels great to say it. The guy from the admissions office called early this afternoon to tell me. I'm supposed to get stuff in the mail on Monday or Tuesday. It caught me off-guard, to be honest, because I had already resigned myself to staying one more year at Iowa and finishing my MBA here. But when I hung up the phone I was kind of shaking, and I felt like running outside and yelling, "I got accepted to Yale!"
So...Jenny and I are going to New Haven.
I will miss wrestling. I'm know I'm in the twilight of my career already, but I'll miss it. I wrestled with Zaputil last week at camps and beat him twice in a row, 9-3 and 9-2. In front of the camp kids.
But it's time to move on, and I know that.
When I was at my lowest point, a few years ago, when I was struggling to find TV production jobs and trying to decide what to do about my wrestling career, I remember writing a letter to my grandparents. I said I guess I'll never be an All-American wrestler or graduate from an Ivy League college, but life goes on.
When Gable introduced the camp coaching staff to the kids last week, he said, "This is Todd Tarpley. He's a 2-time All-American." I thought, wow, I am.
There are so many better wrestlers than me here, and so many opportunities to be humbled if not outright humiliated on a daily basis, that I've never allowed myself to take a breath and be proud of what I've accomplished.
So...I'm smiling as I write this, and I hope my grandfather is smiling down on me too.
Posted by Todd Tarpley