36 SPORTS STRONG, KSW, & STANFORD SPEAKING THE SAME LANGUAGE (1)
An amazing amalgamation of Stanford University Alums voices rang loud and clear as the University reversed direction and chose to reinstate the 11 sports it originally planned to do away with. A struggle that began with a shocking axe blow to the heart of “The Tree” last July came to a completely unexpected and joyous conclusion the 3rd week of May. Almost all sides involved have nearly injured themselves casting roses of appreciation and gratitude at each other. That’s all good, but the next step isn’t flowers but finances, folks. How much is wanted to reinstate Wrestling, let alone the other 10 sports? Millions in pledges were promised, and now comes check cutting time. Will the highly logical 5 year, self funding plan for the reinstated programs be implemented? Is a womans wrestling team coming into being? Who becomes the Head Coach/Coaches? How many athletes on how many of the teams will want to return? Tough questions, but at least it looks like the toughest one has received a positive answer. Let’s take a moment to be grateful that Stanford President Marc Tessier-LaVigne and the Stanford Board of Directors made the correct call. Let’s celebrate Robert Hatta and Patricia Miranda, Stanford Wrestling Alums who co-chaired Keep Stanford Wrestling. They reached across every media platform with a laundry list of facts for the preservation of their sport. The group galvanized folks from all walks of life, including the Scribe, growing support everywhere. Salud indeed to 36 Sports Strong, the Uber-connected group of former Stanford sports superstars (some of whose names may be somewhat familiar) that lent their considerable cache to the effort. Andrew Luck ring a bell? Janet Evans? Mike Mussina? Michelle Wie? Jennifer Azzi? Kerri Walsh Jennings? Julie Foudy? THIS incredible group of amateur, professional and Olympic stars could not believe their beloved alma mater would, could ever consider a decision so, well, un-Stanford like. Now, at long last, the University has reconsidered. YES! Makes you want to holler(2) but for GOOD reasons.
MINING GOLD IS RISKY BUSINESS
The Pan American Championships are just around the corner and Team USA is gearing up for Gold in Guatemala, folks. And Silver. And Bronze. AND to get away from a horrific Covid 19 infection rate in the original host country, Brazil. After Rio was a no go, Guatemala City popped up on the radar. They’ve hosted the event 4 times, back in 1993 and then 3 yrs straight from ’03-’05. So, good choice? Not exactly. A quick check of the CDC website and a follow up information gathering phone call revealed a “Level 4” Covid-19 threat for the city. A call confirmed the highest level of measurable danger exists throughout the entire country. Hmmm. In the CDCs words, lifted directly from their website: “Travelers should avoid all travel to Guatemala.” Also, this: “Because of the current situation in Guatemala even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading Covid-19 variants and should avoid all travel to Guatemala.” There’s more. It’s not ANY better. Surely there was a better place to host this event. Keep in mind 13 of our 15 Olympic Wrestling Squad members are going. If we don’t go, so what? Cut a check to some folks somewhere and keep Team USA training stateside, it says here. Why this kind of risk less than 2 months out of Tokyo?
SO COOL, SO HOT, SOCON
A few random bits and pieces from this columns fav wrestling conference….VMI is thumping their chests and tipping their graduation caps with a big smile. The Lexington, VA school snagged a big Silver medal as the home of the Keydets was named the #2 school for producing employable graduates….in the whole freaking WORLD, folks. BOOM goes the job offers! It needs noting that graduates are free to enter any workplace upon commencement as there’s no military commitment. Very much worth celebrating as well, the unanimous approval of Major General Cedric T. Wins ’85 as the 15th Superintendent of VMI. Outside looking in, sure seems like right man, right time. There IS a sharp wrestling team there, too, and of late its headliner is Freshman 197lb Tyler Mousaw. He had the highest finish, 3rd, for VMI at the SoCon tournament, finished the season 12-2, and won team Freshman of the Year and 2nd team All Virginia. 9 out of 10 Keydets at the SoCon Tournament were freshmen or sophomores. Its looks like there’s a strong upward trajectory for Coach Jim Gibsons 4th season.
Back in February of this year Davidson assistant coach Chad Walsh (2X AA for the Rider Broncs) took to the mats at the Americas Cup Tournament. Walsh posted a 2-2 record vs. some quality competition. The BIG Wildcats news post season is the fantastic recruiting class hauled in by Head Coach Andy Lausiers staff. Davidson will have a full 30 man roster for the first time in Lausiers tenure. Even better, the 11 athlete class comes from 7 different states as Davidson continues to spread the Wildcat word from North Carolina to PA to TX (SHOUT OUT, Braeden Baller, Liberty Christian) to Hawaii. Whoa. Whoa squared? How about Kyle Gorants NWCA AA Scholar award and a Davidson team GPA of 3.42, #13 in the country? NICE.
See you next week!
(1)OUTSTANDING work on this entire story by Anne Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle. Major kudos also to Ross Dellenger of SI, Kyle Bonagura of ESPN, the network broadcast team, USA Today, and EVERY SINGLE ONE of the broadcasters, bloggers, writers, athletes, fans, and alums who helped shepherd this story to the only correct conclusion.
(2) Nathan McCalls “Makes me Wanna Holler” is one of THE most important books for ANYONE who has ever read it. Brutally real. Searingly powerful. It has been of great help in keeping the author a work in progress.