Friday, March 6, 2009

REPORTER BLOG: Young Athletes Making Their Mark

by Ed Zelaski

Hey everyone, I’m back with what will be my last blog of the quarter. I know you’re all sad, and I’m sad too. But, life goes on. I’m sure that somehow everyone will be able to live without my blog entries. Now, let’s get started with the rest of this blog. This week I got to cover the Nelsonville-York High School boys wrestling team. I’ll admit, I don’t know that much about wrestling. Most of the little I do know is about the powerhouse that St. Ed’s is. I prefer St. Ed’s to St. Ignatius. I think it has to do with the fact that I share the same name as the one school. It could also be because I interned with Dan Coughlin at Fox 8 Sports this past summer. He’s a St. Ed’s grad.

The Buckeyes
Anyway, let’s get back to Nelsonville-York. The team had an impressive four wrestlers qualify for the state tournament. It was the most they ever had. Even more impressive is the fact that two of the four are freshmen. With great young wrestlers like that, the Buckeyes could become a wrestling force in the Tri-Valley Conference for the next few years. Also, seeing successful young athletes like that makes me feel so pitiful when it comes to my past athletic endeavors. I was a varsity athlete my freshman year (I ran cross country), but I was by no means one of the best runners on the team. Of the seven varsity runners, I would usually be the sixth or fifth best.

My best moments as an athlete date back to the third, fourth, and fifth grade when I played basketball (sad, I know). I was the first overall draft pick in my third grade rec league. I was selected to play on a tournament all star team. In fifth grade, I got to play on the sixth grade CYO basketball team at St. Bart's. I even was a starter! Sadly for me, my glory days as an athlete were over after that. But, this got me thinking about other athletic prodigies. If you missed my package on MidDay, you can watch it below.

Nelsonville-York wrestling package

The King
Where else could I start, but with LeBron James? The kid took the league by storm in 2003. He was the youngest ever rookie of the year. He joined Oscar Robinson and Michael Jordan as the only players in NBA history to average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists in a rookie season. That’s pretty lofty company. One of my uncles said before the draft that year that the Cavs should take Carmelo Anthony. Don’t get me wrong, I think Carmelo is a very good player. He’s one of the premier players in the league. However, he is no LeBron James. My uncle has since said that he was wrong to even think that Carmelo would be a better player.

I found some video of LeBron back in the day. I remember seeing him in his rookie season and thinking the he was already a pretty big guy. Looking back on the video and seeing how big he is know, he was tiny (comparatively) as a rookie. Right now, LeBron’s biceps are probably about the size of my head. On his Cavaliers’ profile, the King is listed at 250lbs. I don’t believe it. I read an article on Sports Illustrated’s website about a month ago that his real weight is somewhere around 270 or 280. I know I’d get out of the way he came barreling down the lane at me. Check out the video below for some highlights from his rookie season.

Wayne Rooney
I always forget that he’s only 23 years old. Wayne Rooney is a forward playing for Manchester United in the English Premier League. He burst onto the scene in October of 2002 while playing for Everton. He came on as a substitute against Arsenal (the champions at the time) and scored a beautiful goal to win the game. I remember seeing the goal replayed over and over again. You can watch the goal down below at the end of this section. It was an absolute stunner. When he scored it he was the youngest player to ever score a goal in the English Premier League, though that record has since been broken.

Currently, he’s scored 62 goals for Manchester United in just 148 appearances and 19 goals in 48 appearances for the English national team. He’s done all this and he’s just a year older than I am. Maybe I should have spent more time practicing.

Let’s Wrap it Up
Let me clarify something. I am not sad that I’m not a professional athlete. I’m extremely happy being (well, maybe becoming) a journalist. I don’t want you thinking that I’m getting all depressed here, thinking about what could have been. Good, that’s out of the way. Nelsonville-York has what looks like a solid foundation for their wrestling team. They have two freshmen and a junior going to state. They’ll all be back next year. I wish them the best of luck as their season comes to an end and in the seasons to come.

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