Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Knock of Opportunity

Whether we shall be of any assistance to him I know not but come week's end the Missus and me - accompanied by Suzanne and her affection's current object - shall head south to Gomorrah by the Sea to support Frank's participation in the NJSIAA State Individual Wrestling Championships. I am lying of course. I know damn well how much assistance we shall be to him from our $10.00 seats at Boardwalk Hall. I take solace in knowing however that - based upon my own lack of grappling skills - I am of no less value to him being perched where I shall be perched than I would be if I was at mat side attired in a singlet and armed with headgear waiting to be tagged into the action. (At this point we shall pause to permit one and all a modicum of time in which to retrieve a pointed stick for the purpose of poking out one's mind's eye. OK. Time is up. Onward we press.)

A lot of kids of all shapes and sizes started this journey way back when in the Autumn of Aught-Nine. You recall autumn right? It was the season before the one that has dropped all of the g*ddamn snow upon us. Actually the kids in question - while being of all shapes - were confined by the rules of the sport to one of fourteen pre-determined sizes. In a curious point of convergence between geography and metaphor, as the teenage athletes have climbed higher and higher towards their destination in the southern portion of the Garden State Parkway, their numbers have fallen off markedly. While I know not how many kids began the quest in November as of this very day in this very State there are but two dozen per weight class still in a position to complete it.

All I know about interscholastic wrestling could be fit neatly inside of a thimble with generous space still available to accommodate one's thumb so I cannot pretend to know how long or short any particular wrestler's chance of winning a State title might be this weekend. I know simply that I am going -as is the rest of the 'NTSG traveling circus - to root like hell for our favorite son (and to root also for the son of one my all-time favorite people). In my/our endeavor we shall be joined by thousands of other folks, all of whom will have at least one wrestler among the 336 in action who serves as a particular object of attention and affection. For the fans it is quite a spectacle to watch. For each young athlete, it is a chance to be feted and honored for what has been a remarkable season to date while also being a chance to achieve something that he shall carry with him - proudly - forever.

So nigh is grandeur to our dust,
So near is God to man,
When Duty whispers low, Thou must,
The youth replies, I can!

336 of them shall this weekend. Fourteen of them shall win a championship. All of them shall triumph. An opportunity that - through their good efforts - is presented to all of us in attendance as well....

....Here's to hoping that we all hold up our end.

-AK

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