Personal Note

Merry Christmas From Matmen!

“So this is Christmas, and what have you done…Another year over and a new one just begun…”

Sometimes I do wonder what I’ve done and what I’m doing with this site. I had a 75-minute phone call just this morning with my third son in Illinois, who’s excited that the peak of his year is concluding and glad for things to get back to normal. I could have that conversation every day there. Conversations with my two older sons, one who is engaged and another who is beginning home life with a live-in girlfriend. Happier than both have been in a long time, perhaps ever. I want to be a part of that happiness with and for them. What am I doing, what have I done?

“And so this is Christmas, I hope you have fun, the near and the dear one, the old and the young…”

I feel this Christmas attacking me to some extent. After the mishap with the car this week (and I was really serious as I noted on my FB page, if anybody has an extra car they’re not needing for a few weeks, it would really help me out, and it will be brought back in same if not better condition), I lost the motivation to wrap up decorations. The season doesn’t give me much time to start and I started too late (next year, I have to get things going mid-November).

“A very merry Christmas, and a happy new year, let’s hope it’s a good one, without any fear…”

You guys do better than me on this part. I applaud your courage in the face of the pandemic to go out and do battle, and I’ve gone out as much as I can, but it’s been much harder. Much harder. All the time. I am always behind, ALL THE DAMN TIME. I can’t tell you how many stories, pieces of results, content you want to see just sits in a text file on my laptop for minutes to hours just because the work work keeps pouring in.

Even now, I’m only “caught up” because nothing new has come in on Georgia side that’s been wrestled this week (EDITOR’S NOTE: Not entirely true, Matmen guy, check yer email), and there are several big things that haven’t come in yet. (We’re not talking about #NextLevel just yet, I have my significant fears about that one).

Had I known my work work pace was going to double over the past three months, I would not have expanded to Orlando. But the decision was made, the work work pace doubled, and here we are. Behind.

“And so this is Christmas for weak and for strong, for the rich and the poor ones, the road is so long…”

While I’m not really down with the celebrating this go-round, I am going to try to not worry about what’s coming. About how far behind I feel. I am going to acknowledge the gratitude I have for the blessings I do have from this community. Several Orlando coaches, in particular, have expressed their thanks for my writing about them.

And then of course, there’s been new donations to acknowledge. Thank you very much for these!

  • Johan Olarte
  • Drew Lindsey
  • Mike DiTomasso
  • William Lamb
  • Kenneth DeFord
  • InspectzJax
  • Jason Weslager
  • William Pyburn
  • Nichole Smith
  • Steve Howard
  • Jonathan Smith
  • An anonymous coach donation

If you would like to donate to us, Venmo is the best way (shannon-heaton-6). I also have PayPal, which is functional too.

Page views are up substantially, on both sites, this year. Donations went fallow there for several months, but more recently have made many things possible and comfortable for me. Were it not for them — and a timely work work bonus paid out because we have worked, frankly, our asses off this year, I would be even more screwed with the car thing than I have been already.

So all the thanks go out to the donors and the readers, the recent and former ones, the old and the young.

2022 is coming whether we’re ready or not, and there will have to be some decisions to be made. None will be easy.

But until they have to be made, I want to thank you with trusting me with your coverage for nine seasons. I plan on a 10th. I hope there’ll be an 11th. Beyond that, who knows. I’m not going to worry about that now. Or at least try not to.

Because as John said, war is over if you want it. Even if the war is with your decisions.

Have a merry, merry Christmas, and a happy new year. (And reach out to me about the car thing; I can’t guarantee on-site coverage in 2022 as things stand right now).

Let’s hope it’s a good one, without any fear.

Personal Note

Thank You Sponsors

It’s been long past time since I sent out thank-yous. My mother is raging in eternity that I have misplaced my manners.

This offseason, we published over 100 #TheSeason recaps across two states. This is a unique feature not found elsewhere close, anyway. These are early-radar scouting reports on a good chunk of your immediate competition. We made several appearances at offseason events — around a dozen or so, maybe 15, most recently road-tripping to Osceola for Super 32.

And we began prepping for the season to come.

We didn’t have many days off this “off-season.” A few, but not many. And starting today, there’s likely not to be any off-days between now and April.

The donations from folks like these — who’ve donated online or sent via regular mail — have my gratitude, however belated my public thanks are. Life becomes a little easier with them. This is particularly true in this fall season, the first one since 2015 where I have not covered a dozen football games for local media. I’ve liked having Friday nights free to do things like buy groceries, or work, or as importantly, not work, but it’s made the budget a bit tighter.

We’ve started our Georgia preview writing — our first of seven was just completed today — and we’re still working with coaches to collect schedules. So far, for both states, we’re a little over 40 in hand out of around 120 or so. As we get close to October, we’re going to try to follow college wrestlers once again through our #NextLevel feature.

If you have opportunity to donate in the near-future — and I recognize that may be difficult, but believe me, any amount is helpful — I would ask you to reach out via Venmo or Paypal; if you prefer an alternative means, hit me up on Facebook and we’ll work something out.

Our most recent donations have come from the following folks, some Georgia and some Florida:

  • Kevin Glavin
  • St Johns Wrestling Academy
  • John Villenueva
  • Rod Maritato
  • Joey Secoy
  • Matthew Lawrence
  • Scott Snyder
  • John & Jennifer Mulvany
  • Bryan Fortay

The work continues, more or less without stopping. Thanks for continuing to read us — I know you have other options — and for your consideration.

JOIN us on Facebook at North Florida Matmen (you can also friend me on my personal page) or on Twitter at @NorthFLAMatmen, or on Instagram at nflamatmen.
It’s preseason time in Georgia as well! Check out the latest on our affiliated site at
Please support our independent journalism!
We’re on Venmo now: Shannon-Heaton-6
Or if you prefer PayPal, search me at Shannon Heaton (use the site email account to find the correct me).
Personal Note Uncategorized

Thank You Sponsors

The offseason is here, and the work gets even more long and lonely than before.

We’ll miss being at Clay Saturday, but we’ll be back next weekend at Westside, so there’ll be some more IG photos to post. We made the drive to Tyrant a couple of weekends ago, and there’ll be other things we attend.

And then there’s #TheSeason. A lot of hours — although less than in the past so far this year — get put into this project. Coaches (and maybe a few kids and their parents) can use them as a way to scout their competition not only in seeing who’s back for a given school, but also they can see every single match that competitor at another school has wrestled, all in one list.

It still takes time to generate. Only one coach sends me end-of-year stats (and he’s not even in the coverage area). But it’s a good scouting report for you, helps making up previews easier for me.

Since our last #ThankYou post, things have brightened a lot. I won’t be moving back to the Midwest, at least not for the foreseeable future. I still am looking for partnerships that might allow me opportunities to provide you some new content. It’s still an enterprise that has outgrown our ability to do the job as well as I would like it to be done; I’m always disappointed that I could be doing more but just can’t.

That’s why the donations from folks like these — who’ve donated since last time — are a source of gratitude for me, not simply because it makes my life a little easier (it does; a couple of these have really helped out) but also because it’s recognition that our work has value out in the community.

  • Ryan Durham
  • Cary Helton
  • Kenneth DeFord
  • Daniel Brewer
  • Lindsay Bibla
  • Joe Mobley
  • Charlie Hunter

Back to work on our next #TheSeason. We’re already almost a quarter of the way done and it’s not even mid-April yet. HOW IS IT EVEN APRIL YET

Just as offseasons make next year’s champions, offseasons make our in-season work so much stronger.

JOIN us on Facebook at North Florida Matmen (you can also friend me on my personal page) or on Twitter at @NorthFLAMatmen, or on Instagram at nflamatmen.
It’s month 2 of offseason work in Georgia! Check out the latest on our affiliated site at
Please support our independent journalism!
We’re on Venmo now: Shannon-Heaton-6
Or if you prefer PayPal, search me at Shannon Heaton (use the site email account to find the correct me).
Personal Note

#ThankYou: To The Sponsors

Before I head out for today, in what will be a very long weekend round these parts, I wanted to again express some appreciation — these words are really not enough, though I’m not really free to wash cars or mow lawns until after the season’s over.

We’ve got things we’re going through at Basecamp #Due, and I’ll share a bit more about that in the off-season, I should think. And we all, you all (fine Y’ALL) included, are going through some things.

Which makes your generous donations much appreciated.

We’ve quite frankly outgrown our ability to do this job, and until we achieve another business model (heads up: if you know things about business planning, Web businesses and the like, I want to pick your brain this off-season), donations are right now the only way to show appreciation for the size of this work.

And between the things we’re going through, and the growth we’ve had, we’re constantly asking ourselves if it’s worth it. We don’t always know. Results don’t come in. Emails asking for them don’t get answered. Some folks are rude. That’s life, but you know, this is a volunteer thing; I could be at the beach today (yeah, I know, it’s too cold).

Then there are situations like this week, with the spectre of potentially very real threat to the future of the website in play, when two very generous donations came in. The donors are sprinkled in along with those whom I can reliably track going back to my last #ThankYou post, which was criminally long ago, and again, apologies for that:

  • Laura Paridon
  • William Pyburn
  • Brian VanVactor
  • Kenneth DeFord (our most frequent benefactor)
  • Johan Olarte
  • Alex Vugman
  • An anonymous coach
  • John Mulvany (a Georgia parent)
  • John Rogerson

If you gave to me via GoFundMe in the last six months, I thank you, though I can’t list you because the link has expired and I can no longer access it.

The donations don’t pay my bills, I have that almost completely covered in paid work, but they do provide options. A little quality of life. And I realize anew the impact the work is having out there.

And donations of any size or type are always welcome. Our most generous donor over the past few seasons has provided in-kind services to my family for some while now.

If – and I should stress IF because I always said I wouldn’t in the past, but circumstances are changing beyond my measly control — we go to a subscription model, it’s going to be a very friendly one for all income levels.

And thank you simply for reading to the end of this post, and all the ends of all the posts I’ve written.

Gotta go to work now. The kids need their ‘Gram photos. Fletcher first, and then Flagler, and then a mountain of results from two states tonight. The work on-site is the easy and fun part. The drives home and the long hours alone, that’s where the real donuts get made.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

JOIN us on Facebook at North Florida Matmen (you can also friend me on my personal page) or on Twitter at @NorthFLAMatmen, or on Instagram at nflamatmen.
State duals in Georgia come to a close on Saturday! Check out the latest on our affiliated site at
Please support our independent journalism!
We’re on Venmo now: Shannon-Heaton-6
Or if you prefer PayPal, search me at Shannon Heaton (use the site email account to find the correct me).