I sat in my usual spot on the Saturday before Christmas :
Top Row, Back against the Wall in an Oakland County Gym.
The National Anthem echoing, the smell of fresh Popcorn and sweat in the air !
I have sat in this spot for about 40 years, off-and-on.
The Saturday before Christmas is almost always the weekend of the Oakland County Wrestling Tournament, actually nicknamed by some "The Christmas Tournament".
I participated in it a bunch of years ago, not to any acclaim.
But since then I have come to appreciate all that it means to some folks, even those who have "No Skin In the Game", like myself.
The schools who Host these events always have run a GREAT Tourney :
Clean Facilities, well attended, mats moving along at a quick pace, sometimes at TOO quick of a pace, causing hold-ups for Wrestler Time Issues.
The Teams who participate are always some of the best in the State and a few times are actually THE best in the State. (Shout out to the 2011 Oxford Wildcats !!)
My favorite part of the time spent in these stands is listening to Parents and Grand Parents !
I hear how amazing their kids are, how terrible the Refs are, how their Coaches aren't really helping their kid but he'll get a D-1 offer anyway, how the sport is too violent nowadays, how the sport is too soft nowadays, a real Hodge-Podge of interactions !
And I get to see the wrestlers before and after their Matches :
A jumble of nerves, elation, and disappointment.
It is one of my favorite Saturdays of the year, every year.
And I hope it NEVER changes!!