The Final Push

The other night (Monday/Memorial Day) I was hanging out with friends drinking some beer and in the middle of a Breaking Bad episode I stopped the show and told my friends about the sacrifices several hundred athletes were making that weekend.  They were not drinking  beer and eating barbecue that weekend, but rather doing what it takes to  become a world champion.  I tried to reinforce with my friends how difficult it is to become a world champion, or just get to the world championships, but they thought the idea of giving up a single hotdog and beer was torture enough, and would I please start the show again?  Slackers!  Little do they know the hardship wrestlers go through.   To this day I can say I never worked so hard as when I was training for wrestling.

The final push is on for these athletes.  Spenser Mango, Justin Lester and Justin Ruiz weigh-in in four days!  I know that’s a hard four days for Mango who’s built like a brick s*** house (as they used to say on the farm), and Lester, I suspect Ruiz doesn’t have as hard of a cut.  Then the rest of the greco crew goes, followed by the women and men’s freestyle.  Bring it on!

Its exciting to think we’ll be in Istanbul in a three days and in five days have gotten all of that touristy stuff out of the way to get down to the real business of wrestling.  With Cael back and the American team looking strong there are high-hopes for some hardware flying back state-side in ten days.  I believe.

I’m excited to try out some new equipment and pray the old stuff doesn’t fail.  I do have better redundancy in my gear now (except for my long lens – scary!), so that’s cool.  I have two new transponder/receiver radios from Pocket Wizard which will allow me to either have a second camera fire, or a second flash fire.  But, more gear means more distractions, so I will play with that as time allows.

I fly Friday evening with a long haul to Hethrow and have about 15 movies loaded for that 10 hour flight.  Then a decent layover and a four hour flight to Istanbul arriving Saturday evening.  I have what promises to be a great little apartment about 1.5 miles (or less) from the venue, so I may be able to walk between the two, which would be great.  I found it on AirBnB and have my fingers crossed it works out.  It’s a brand new building and the place looks really nice.  I wanted to stay in old town with other wrestling folks, but the 20 minute (+) cab ride each way seemed too crazy to make two times a day.  I can hop a train easily to get to old town, or take the cab in when I want to go.

The only thing left for me is some packing, and few odds and ends, maybe upload all my shots from the 2009 Worlds (oh, that’s all), and get on a plane. That’s easy stuff compared to losing 15 pounds and facing some of the toughest beasts to step on a mat.


About Tony Rotundo