Well, I’m in SW Florida now…not far from the Tampa area where so much strong competition resides. Brandon’s less than an hour away. The Tampa schools are a straight hour. There’s tons of competition down here. If I wanted, it wouldn’t take long, but the road might be a bit swampy, to drive across the state to where the Miami schools are found.
At state last year, the Tampa area and the Miami area dominated the scene. I’d like to see the Jacksonville area dominate the scene, as I am told it once did. It could happen again. But it starts with you, today, and the work you’re willing to put in.
You’ve seen eight previews out there. Almost 7,000 words are written talking about who’s back. So there’s all of that to look at. There are preseason rankings out. Those are likely to be proven wrong before long, and that’s OK. I probably don’t have every team’s preseason capsule right, and that’s OK.
Because it’s not what’s written about you that matters, it’s what you DO that matters. You chose to cut weight, have practice on Thanksgiving and give up your social life for nearly four months for this. So that you have the chance to face the Tampas, the Brandons, the Lake Highlands, the South Dades, the Cardinal Gibbonses. That is the destiny that you start toward today.
I hope each of you succeeds according to the time you’ve put into this sport. For four months every year, in many years over the past 20, my family has put up with me being gone — at duals, at tournaments, even home but still sort of gone in my head as I type results, records, think about possible matchups, etc. And I get to live my life besides!
That’s why I respect what choices you’ve made, to do this. You could have played video games or hung out on the block, or anything. But you chose to wrestle. A lot of you are back and I look forward to seeing you again. Some of you might not be back now, but you may decide later to come back. For my part, I hope that you do.
I’ve talked about my heroes in the sport often enough in the past.
I can’t wait to find new ones this year.
Let’s get started. We’ll open our live coverage in Clay County Wednesday night, traveling to #7 Middleburg as the Broncos face Ridgeview. Then, I’ll hit Fleming Island on Friday night and then Bishop Snyder on Terry Parker on Saturday. We’ll have a ton of writeups as early as Sunday. More results than anyone else will publish all season, will be on this site the first weekend. I may even try out, if I can figure out how to do it, setting up a poll for a “Dual of the Week” starting in Week 2.
Let’s get started. We’ve got one defending state champion in Clay senior Adam Breindel and a pair of local #1s in seniors Josh Calhoun (Bolles) and Sasha Key (Suwannee). There probably could be others. It’ll be fun to track your progress. If time allows, I’ll publish running win/loss records.
Let’s get started talking about, being about wrestling. Because that’s why you’re here and that’s why I’m here.
See you on the mats soon!