|Awards Ceremony in Iowa.|
I knew Iowa football was a big deal when my next-door neighbor named his pet dog, Kinnick. Kinnick stadium is a beacon that attracts loyal fans from all over the state. I didn't think anything else could be more important in my new surroundings. Then wrestling season started. Our family woke up at 4:00 AM last Saturday to watch our youngest son in a high school tournament. "You need to get there early," our son told us. "Coach said it's going to be a quick tournament."
Twelve hours after we arrived it was time to go home. His team took first place out of thirteen schools. The atmosphere in the gym was like attending the super bowl. During one of the matches, a nervous mother leaned back so far in her seat she nearly pinned me as she watched her son battle. Other spectators told me everything I need to know about Iowa wrestling. Here's a summary:
- Iowa babies are grouped by weight in the hospital nursery and share beds. The dads cheer as the babies grapple with their first opponents in the cradle while the mothers go over the weight charts and plan future wrestling play groups.
- As soon as Iowa babies can crawl, they learn the half-nelson.
- Iowa high school wrestlers are not allowed more than five matches per day. That is to make sure the rest of the family has enough travel time to get to the next tournament.