August 10, 2007
August 10th, 2007
Last night was an interesting one. For the most part the routine didn’t vary too much from what it has been. I sat in the sauna for awhile in the afternoon. To fill you in on what the saunas are like here, I might need to explain them a little bit. A lot of times wrestlers will sit in the sauna for a couple of reasons. One reason is to relax, stretch and recover. Another reason is to lose water weight before it is time to weigh in. Basically a sauna is a wooden room with wooden benches with a heating element located somewhere in the sauna. The heating element usually will have rocks on top of it to keep some of the heat in the room. Generally water is thrown on these hot rocks to create steam in the room and increase the overall temperature. This makes it easier to sit and sweat in the sauna. I will usually stay in the sauna for about five to fifteen minutes at a time depending on how hot the sauna is and also depending on how heavy I am. Outside of the saunas there will usually be showers that you can jump into after you get out of the sauna. I like to jump out of the sauna and rinse off with a cold shower and sit out of the sauna for a few minutes to cool down a little bit and get ready for another sauna go. Sometimes there will be small pools filled with cold water known as a coldplunge that people can jump into to cool off and relax. The sauna here is a good one. It gets hot enough to break a good sweat and keep it rolling. All over Europe there are many bath houses that have a variety of hot and cold pools as well as steam rooms and saunas. They are very popular here, but they are not so popular in the United States. I just wanted to fill everybody in on what the saunas are like here.
Anyway I still haven’t gotten to the interesting part of last night, and it might be another paragraph until I do get to that part so just bear with me. After I was finished with the sauna I went to get some pizza for dinner with Harry Lester, a wrestler who trains up at Northern Michigan and wrestles 66kg for the US. The pizza was really good which is a rarity over here at times. I thought that I was hungrier than I really was. I ordered two pizzas which ended up being too much food so I had to box some of it up. I know it sounds strange that a wrestler would be eating pizza this close to weighins, I weigh in tomorrow, but yesterday was my birthday so I wanted to celebrate a little bit.
Well now I will get to the part of the night that I thought was interesting. It was kind of hot in my hotel room so I went to bed with the window open to cool things off a little bit. In the middle of the night I heard a loud banging outside. I didn’t have any idea of what it was, but to me it sounded like horses were being loaded in a trailer. This banging continue for awhile, and I was starting to get a little impatient. It was three in the morning, and I wanted my sleep. All of a sudden I heard a bunch of dogs barking outside so I got up to go see what all of the ruckus was. There were about fifteen dogs outside that had seemingly come from everywhere and they were all barking at a dumpster outside that was located next to the hotel. At first I couldn’t see what it was, but then I saw an extremely large black bear outside of the dumpster. He didn’t seem to mind the dogs too much at first and jumped back into the dumpster. It was actually kind of funny because when he got into the dumpster it spilled over with him in it. After awhile the dogs kept coming and advancing closer to the bear. A couple of times it looked like some of the dogs were actually going to attack the bear, but they would come with in a couple of feet and then retreat. However, after a couple of minutes the dogs accomplished their goal of scaring the bear away. The bear had decided that he had enough and rumbled back into the woods. This is the second year that I have been on this trip, but it is the first time that I have really seen any wildlife. We are pretty high up in the mountains, but I haven’t seen any squirrels, rabbits, deer, or many other animals for that matter. However, last night I did see a bear, and I thought that was pretty interesting.
August 9, 2007
August 9th, 2007
Yesterday I didn’t make it to the computer to write a post. The day was quite a bit like the other ones. We trained in the morning and then hit the sauna in afternoon. I took a nap in between practices yesterday so I made sure that I hit the sauna pretty hard so that I would be able to sleep at night. I slept all through the night without any problems. I stayed up a little later last night to to make sure that I didn’t wake up early in the morning.
To keep myself up I was reading in the lobby. Around eleven o’clock last night the coaches came back from a dinner that they had at one of the local restaurants that is owned by a man here in the town who likes wrestling. I had eaten at the same restaurant last year with the team that came to this same tournament last summer. When we ate there, they had put a bear hindquarter over a spit and had roasted it for us to eat. The bear was good for the first few bites, but after awhile it was hard to eat. It wasn’t that it wasn’t good, but it was that the meat was really heavy and they gave us so much of it. They made quite the spectacle of it too when they brought it into the dining area. They poured something on it and lit in on fire. It did well in serving its purpose of producing the dramatic effect. The coaches told me that this year they ate some deer or elk and some moose. They said that the owner made sure to light the meat on fire again and made a big presentation out of the meal. It sounded like they had a pretty good time. They also told me that they were drinking a popular liquor here known as polenko, or something like that. The owner of the restaurant was dared to drink it out of a shot glass after it had been lit on fire, but the flames were burning his mustache so he had to improvise a little. He poured the drink onto a plate while it was still on fire and drank it from the plate. The story sounded hilarious, especially if you know the owner of this restaurant. He definitely seems to be the type that enjoys life and is always laughing about something. I chuckled myself as the coaches told me the story. After the story telling, I decided that I was ready for bed. My head hit my pillow like a rock and I was out for the rest of the night.
This morning my wife woke me up with a phone call to wish me happy birthday. Today I am twenty eight years old. It is funny how the years seem to add up the way they do, but I don’t mind it. I am glad to be one year older instead of the alternative. As I was thinking about it I realized that I started wrestling when I was fourteen. I have been wrestling for half of my life. There wasn’t a whole of wrestling during the two years that was in Chile, but I did wrestle a little bit with missionary companions now and then. The time that I have spent wrestling has been great. I can’t say that I have enjoyed every minute of it, but I don’t regret any of the hard work that I have put into the sport. I have met many friends and interesting people from all walks of the life. I have been to see so many different countries and cultures, and I am very grateful for that. I have learned a lot of lessons along the way. It has been a great journey. Now I am doing my best to use those experiences to achieve my goals and try to help others do the same. The wrestling experience has been fun.
Other than the phone call earlier today, I have just been hanging out with the guys and also doing some reading. I am still reading the book The Power of Positive Thinking. I am trying to apply some of those lessons in my own life. I like to read the stories about the individuals who have been able to change their entire lives and life circumstances by making changes in their attitudes whick in turn affects their actions. There is something about reading about people overcoming obstacles that is very inspiring. We all have our own obstacles to overcome. Some are similar some are very different, but it seems that peoples attitudes determine whether they are successful or not. That is amazing to me.
Something else that has been amazing today is the fact that the sun was able to shine through the clouds today. For the past several days it has been raining here. Due to the fact that we are at a higher elevation it seems as if we are right in the middle of the weather. It has been a nice change to see the sun come out. The appearance of the sun seemed to have attracted some other people into the town as well. I think that today I have seen more people out and walking around than I have all week. It would be great if this sun keeps up like this. I might even attempt to get out and take some pictures that I can post on the website after I get home. I hope that all are well wherever you may be. Take care.
August 7, 2007
August 7th, 2007
It is day three here in Romania. Me and some of the guys came into town to buy some phones and use the internet. The cell phones here are pretty cool. They are relatively inexpensive and they enable you to receive calls for free after you purchase a sim card. I wish that I would have bought one a long time ago. This will make it much easier to keep in contact with everybody back home. There are some times when I go on trips and I don’t know if I will have access to the telephone or not. My roomate, Brad, bought a phone yesterday, and he told me all about it. So here I am in downtown Brasov after purchasing a phone, and so far, I am impressed.
This morning started out pretty early for me. I woke up at four a.m. again and didnt’ fall back asleep until about seven oclock. I woke up for breakfast at eight, squeezed in few more winks, and then went to practice at ten thirty. Practice was pretty good this morning. I wrestled with a Romanian wrestler and a Georgian. The Georgian was a heavyweight so I definitely had my hands fall. He was hard to score on, and in the end I just ended up choking him while trying to turn him. It appeared to be my last option. I finished up practice with some pushups, pullups, and bodyweight squats. For our practice this afternoon we are just going to sauna. We get a two kilogram allowance for weigh ins so I don’t think that making weight will be much of a problem. I haven’t weighed since I have been here, but I feel like I am not too heavy.
Speaking of too heavy, today I did something I shouldn’t have. I ate at McDonald’s. It isn’t that I dislike McDonald’s, but my wife and I had made an agreement that for a year we would not eat fast food. As part of the agreement, if one of us breaks the contract; then that person has to become the other person’s servant for a week. I am hoping that the week will start now while I am out of town so that I can avoid a few extra household chores. We started this agreement about a month ago, and up until now we had both done pretty well with it. Well I guess I will just have to do my best now from here on out.
As we were walking around the city to get to this internet cafe I was thinking that this place would actually be a pretty nice place to go on vacation. There are plenty of other places that I have been before that I wouldn’t want to go back to for a vacation, but it is really nice here. They even have Dracula’s castle here. There really was no Dracula. However, there was a ruler named Vlad the Impaler who was a pretty scary guy and that is kind of where the tradition started.
I gotta run to catch the bus. I hope everyone is well.
August 6, 2007
August 6th, 2007
This morning I woke up around four o’clock and couldn’t fall asleep again. I got out of bed and started reading the book The Power of Positive Thinking. I have read the book before, but I had forgotten the great stuff that it has in there. I don’t think that it was the best book to read to try to put me to sleep. I will have to remember that for the future. Don’t read inspirational books if you want to sleep. Next time I will have to bring one of my old textbooks with me so that I can start reading that when I want to fall asleep. It was time to eat breakfast which consisted of eggs, hot dogs, bread, and some crazy yogurt that made my tongue tingle. It wasn’t too delicious in my opinion, but I was starving so down it went.
After breakfast I went back to sleep until about 1 oclock. I was exhausted. Sometimes traveling takes more out of me than I realize. I am feeling pretty well now though. Harry Lester and I ate lunch and headed downtown to where we are at now on the computer at an internet cafe. Downtown Brasov it pretty neat. Their architecture here is historic looking and the town has a main square with some quaint little restaurants and shops. The town is situated in a small valley in the mountains. We are staying in Poiana Brasov which is up in the mountains in a ski resort town. It is very pretty this time of year. All of the trees are really green and the weather is pretty pleasant.
I was so tired this morning that I didn’t practice, but training in the evening starts at five oclock. I am going to wait to get on the mat until tomorrow. My back has been pretty tight, and I want to make sure I am feeling a little better before I push it all the way. I am excited to be here though. I think the couple days of training here will be great and so will the tournament. I love what I am doing and I am grateful that I have the opportunity to be doing this. The only thing that would make it better would be if my wife could have come with me on this trip. We will have to make that work somehow next time.
August 5, 2007
August 5th, 2007
Well I made it to Romania safe and sound, and it has been a long trip. All of the flights went smoothly, but I didn’t get any sleep on the eight hour flight from Minneapolis to Amsterdam. The seats were pretty cramped, but fortunately I was able to watch some movies while I was on the plane. They had a lot of moves to choose from, and I ended watching about three of them. I didn’t really see any that I would recommend to anybody. I thought the movie Next was kind of cool, but I didn’t really buy the love story involved. After we landed in Amsterdam we had another flight to Bucharest, and then we hopped into a van and drove a couple of hours to Brasov.
In Brasov they have their olympic training center up in the mountains. It is a cool little ski resort town. There are some people here on vacation from other countries. However, I have”t ran into any americans on the trip. We are a group of eight that made it in today. There are a few more that are coming in tomorrow. I think that the first group competes Saturday and the second group on Sunday. I think that the tournament is going to be a pretty good one. The georgians are here so I am looking forward to training with the guy at my weight a little bit. He won a sliver medal in Athens. It is always great to train with guys like that. These camps and tournaments are great opportunities to learn new things.
It is late here, we are nine hours ahead of mountain time, and I am ready to call it a night. I am looking forward to getting some nice rest. This is my first post on the website so it is really new and exciting to me. If anybody has questions you can email them to me, and I will try to answer them while I am here. I can give you the scoop on what is going on here. Until tomorrow take care and good luck.