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The STOMP heard ’round the Gym

Somewhere there exists a video of this but for now I’ll just have to recount it for you….

Eons ago in a gym not-really-that-far-far-away…

I was wrestling in a college tournament against a bruiser.

This kid was big, strong, and athletic – and in the opening moments of the match, he grabbed me and threw me violently to my back.  It was all I could do to keep from getting pinned.

There’s a moment, and again, if I had the video you’d see it, that I look around and see that I am a mere foot away from the out of bounds line.  At the moment I started scrambling furiously to force us out of bounds (was I fleeing?  Meh.)

I survived it – got out of bounds – and earned myself a fresh start.

Now, way behind, I started the slow journey back.


Takedown (I don’t remember how I got him down).

Escape for him.

Now I was closing the gap, but I needed another takedown to tie it up.

I tried the only thing I could think of at the time.

I STOMPED my foot.  HARD.

He didn’t budge.

Years later we would run the tape back over and over again and laugh at my set-up attempt, the big foot stomp.

But in the moment it was serious business.  Stomping my foot was all that came to mind.

I don’t know what I was thinking.  Maybe I was hoping that he would just disintegrate on the spot. 

I can assure you that he did not disintegrate.

Somehow I forced the match to overtime.

No score first period.

One quick escape in the 2nd period.

A quick escape in the 3rd period.

Overtime ends.

They brought us to the center (this was in the day when a match could be decided by criteria instead of a wrestling conclusion)…..

And raised his hand.

It would have been my 3rd title in 3 years at that tournament.

After a few minutes, a wrestler from a rival school came over to me.  

“My coach said you should have won by criteria.  They raised the wrong hand.  Tell your coach."

I approached my coach and relayed the message.

He blew it off.

“You wrestled well but you lost.”

I told the wrestler what he said and he took it back to his coach.

Then that coach sent for me.

I  talked to him and he told me this:

You should have won on the 19th criteria.  You escaped 1 second faster than him in overtime.

He then huddled with another coach on the tournament committee….

They called me back to the center….

And raised my hand.

It helps to read the rulebook front and back.

Now for the point of this story…

If I had just had a more effective set-up than the STOMP….

when action happens fast, and you’re in the middle of the match, and there’s no time to think…

your quick instincts that you developed here must kick in.

Or, if you didn’t develop them here

Maybe just stomp your foot.