So for my 1000th post I decided to format it in a way similar to the "Top 10 Wrestling stories of the past decade" and describe to you my personal top 10 wrestling memories.
Here they are
10. Winning my first match
It took two years of wrestling when I first started at 4 years old and the guy that I beat was actually in a lower weight class (but we were the only two in the tournament close to each other), but when I put him on his back and pinned him it was a great feeling. I?ll never forget many of the older guys in the wrestling club cheering me on and then screaming and yelling when I finally got a win. They all wanted high fives from me, and from that moment on I was hooked. I don?t even really remember the match. I do remember my friends, coaches and teammates congratulating me however. Let this be a lesson to all of you high school and junior high wrestlers out there. All the younger guys look up to you and what you say and do will leave a lasting impression.
9. Watching Ty Knebel finally win his title in 2009
Ty Kneebel is one of the single greatest kids that has ever graced a wrestling room. He is also a beast on the mats, but somehow something always went wrong when the state tournament rolled around. As a freshman he got a concussion and had to inj def out of the tournament. Doctors wouldn't let him wrestle any more, he had won enough to still place 8th however. His sophomore year he had a fever of 102 and he couldn't keep any food down, it was so bad that he never left the floor of the Tacoma Dome and normally stood within a couple of yards of a bathroom until he had to wrestle, he still placed third. His junior year he overcame a broken leg during football that caused him to miss most of the wrestling season, he was unable to truly condition until the beginning of January, and the doctors didn't clear him for contact until the week before districts. He had four matches before districts, and placed third again. His senior year Republic moved Scotty Bacon up two weight classes for the sole purpose of beating Ty in the state finals--in an attempt to win another state team title--they wrestled in Regionals and Bacon won, however when they met again at the state finals Ty came out ahead. It gives you that much more respect for guys that can win 4 years in a row, not only do you have to have the talent but you have also got to stay healthy.
8. Being certified as an Oregon State Athletic Association Official 2003
Though I realized that being an official is not for me it gave me a great perspective that I didn't have before when I wrestled or even as a coach. I think that every head coach should spend a season--even if it's only a club season--as an official. You learn a lot about the sport and about yourself.
7. Dibala wins his stop sign 2007/Bridger Sacher takes 2nd 2002
Two great young wrestlers from my home town see their work pay off. Bridger Sacher was my best friend?s younger brother and John Dibala was a couple years younger than Bridger.
6. My first year coaching at Powder Valley 2000
When my wrestling career was over I was fairly bitter, I never made it to state, never placed, in fact I watched others place as I sat in the stands with my arm in a sling. I didn't really even want to be a part of the sport anymore. I was convinced by a friend in my chemistry class to help him out coaching a Hwt at his alma mater. It was great to get back out on the mats again and to be a part of the sport. I almost enjoyed coaching as much as I did competing.
5. Taking my first wrestler to State 2009
I didn't get to take any my first year, in fact we had 6 with a shot of going, but they all lost in the same round of regionals. One right after the other, we hopped from mat to mat and took loss after loss. The hardest part of it is that this was the "qualifying round". If they would have won there they go to state, if they lose they go home.
4. Cael wins his 4th title 2002
This is one of the few times that I can remember people watching this match in the dorm room lobby. It is the only time I can remember a group gathered in the main TV lounge to watch a wrestling match.
3. Rulon wins Gold 2000
This is here in the number two spot for two reasons. First off, it was a huge upset. Granted the match was a bit boring and Rulon didn?t do a lot in the match to get the win but he did one very important thing. He scored more points than his opponent. The second reason that I put it up so high on my list is that this is the last time that I had the opportunity to watch a wrestling event with my high school coach. He used to have several of us over to his house for events like this. We would watch, re-watch and then review and pick apart the matches.
2. Being asked to speak at my coach's Funeral 2007
My best friend happened to be his son (who is one day older than I) and I considered Kurt and his wife to be parents. I looked up to them and came to them with questions when I couldn?t come to my parents (who have struggled off and on with drugs and alcohol). He was on several foreign exchange teams and is probably the strongest man I?ve ever personally met (at one time he benched over 550 lbs). he had no enemies and more friends than you could count. It was amazing to see how many of his former wrestlers traveled hundreds of miles (I drove over 8 hours to get there) just to pay their last respects. It turned out that this event would be a bit prophetic as the roles would be reversed a couple of months later.
1. Having much of the administration as well as all my wrestlers show up to my Son?s funeral.
November 2007 was a big month for me, I was hired for the first time as a head coach, my wife and I had our first child Curt Danger Lanthorn (named after my wife?s father and the coach I described above), and we put our first son in the ground. He lived a little less than 11 hours and never really woke up. Being born into a coma with bleeding on his brain and between his skull and scalp he was life flighted to Sacred Heart Medical Center where the best doctor?s in the area could not save him. He passed away Monday at 6:06 AM November 26th 2007. The funeral was Thursday and the wrestlers and wrestling community showed up to pay their respects on their way to the first event of the year a takedown tournament that night. I missed it to be with my family but on Saturday we had our first tournament. Having wrestling to escape into was an incredible blessing that year for me. I?ll never forget the love and support that was showed to me as a young and unknown coach that year.