Friday, February 24, 2006

IPTV, IWIM, Arizona, State Tourney, etc.

In case you don’t know what these abbreviations are, they stand for Iowa Public Television and the International Wrestling Institute and Museum.

The second and third weeks of February were spent doing a lot of work for both of these entities. Went to the State Capitol in Des Moines to meet with state legislators to promote IPTV and their programs. Of course, my main tie is with the College Wrestling Series that has been popular for three decades. Jim Gibbons also attended and helped meet and greet. It seems to me their programming has lost state funding and should start going back up soon. I know play-by-play analyst Tim Johnson is probably going into his own pocket to help make ends meet. Great turnout at the Capitol so hopefully things are looking up.

We did broadcast matches with Iowa vs. Illinois and ISU vs. Missouri. Good matches, but not for the home state. But, no more duals, only tourneys, so hopefully things will pick up.

Back and forth to Waterloo helping to promote IWIMs plan to move. Definitely a strong showing by Waterloo, but they have to finish strong to get it done.

Speaking of strength, Wartburg Wrestling had eight champions in the strong Iowa Conference! Congrats Jimmy Miller…but remember, the season isn’t over yet!

Coach Greg Randall (former Iowa 4x State Champion and 3x UI All-American) visited Iowa City with his Boise State wrestling team. They had a respectable showing, but lost to Coach Zalesky’s Hawkeyes.

My wife Kathy and our daughter Mackenzie and I travelled to Phoenix to visit our friends Bob and Patti Altmaier. We stayed in their home in Red Mountain Ranch. What a blast – weather was good, food was great, companionship was even greater. Thanks Altmaiers! Bob and I actually witnessed Coach Blevins’ UI Softball team take on Arizona State. Coach Blevins is one of the most successful and respected coaches across the country and she reaffirmed it to me. After losing to ASU she came up to me and said that she wished that I had seen a game where the Hawks had performed a little better, almost apologizing. It wasn’t needed or expected, but much appreciated. Striving to be the best is always appreciated, especially by me.

Yes, striving to be the best is what is happening this week in the new Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines and at arenas all across the country. Many new state wrestling champions will be crowned. This event is one of my favorites, and not just because of all the participants and the fans. It’s an emotional roller coaster and I’ll cheer and cry as well. The new Hall of Pride is also on display and I love seeing everyone get a chance to spend some time reminiscing and others getting motivated for the future.

Oh, by the way, myself and 4 others, Jeff McGuiness, Eric Juergens, Dan Knight and Jeff Kerber are Grand Marshalls at this years state tournament finals. Quite an honor especially since the other four had more difficult requirements doing what they did – going undefeated for four years!

What's to come? Besides the state tourney, Mark Ironside and I are going to make a trip to the NCWA Wrestling Nationals at Grand Valley State right before attending the Big Ten Championships in Bloomington, IN.

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