Friday, March 4, 2011

Wearing a Coat of Fine Leather and Snakeskin Boots

The final AC road trip of if not my life than at least my foreseeable future kicks off in a few hours. Tonight, at sometime after 5:00 p.m. Margaret's nephew Frank will take the mat in the 189 pound weight class, wrestling in what is called (I think anyway) the "preliminary round". Win and advance into the pre-quarterfinals, which are also wrestled tonight - beginning at 7:00 p.m., and go to sleep tonight knowing irrespective of the outcome of that pre-quarterfinal match that your tournament shall continue into Saturday. Lose in the preliminary round and your State Tournament comes to a close....six minutes or less after it began.

Frank's opponent tonight in the preliminary round match is - like Frank - a senior. For the one who does not emerge from their encounter with his hand raised in victory, not simply are the State Tournament and the season over but his high school career is as well. In AC this weekend, there shall be a couple of hundred young men who are indeed all in for every round. What makes sport compelling is that all of them who are here (a) are here because they want to be; and (b) are well versed in the knowledge that this weekend on the Boardwalk will end in disappointment for more of them than not. This is a gambling mecca after all. All of them are here with their eyes wide open, knowing what needs to be done in order to accomplish their mission. The fact that for many of them that mission shall prove to be one that is impossible to complete neither dampens their enthusiasm nor tempers their confidence. Nor should it.

Abraham Lincoln once wrote, "Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing." Indeed. Resolve shall be prominently displayed tonight and all weekend in AC. From the cheap seats in Boardwalk Hall (actually all of the seats are reasonably priced irrespective of location within the venue), a toast:

Here's to steppin' lightly and feelin' no pain.....


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