Sunday, February 13, 2011

High School Wrestling Ain't What It Used to Be!

After switching a shift with a co-worker earlier in the week, I had this past Thursday evening off so that I could head over to Rhode Island and take pictures of a friend's son who is on the wrestling team at Chariho High School which will most likely be the school that my grandsons attend if my son and his wife stay in their current residence.  Having never been to a wrestling match in  my entire life I wasn't exactly sure what to expect but I was willing to give it a try as it was Senior Night for the team and Matthew, Renee's son, is one of those Seniors.

Let me just say that there's a darned good reason that I stick to taking pictures of things that don't move - well, with the exception of the occasional train which is a lot easier to take pictures of then teenagers wrestling!  Now I'll be the last to tell you that I am any sort of professional with a camera and I certainly hope that I don't pretend to be but if I ever thought I was even close to that mark, Thursday night's results certainly proved otherwise!   Out of the 350+ pictures I'm lucky if there were 50 that came out halfway decent.  Between the lighting (ah, flourescents!) and the constant movement, the pictures were less than stellar but hopefully there's one or two in there that Renee likes.  I did get the all-important picture of Matthew pinning his opponent in his match but it would have been nice if some of the shots leading up to that moment had come out better.

Matthew gets the pin
Matthew "grapevines" his opponent for the win
Anyhow, all of the technical photography stuff aside, the wrestling match itself was a bit of an eye-opener as to how much things have changed since I was in high school way back in the dark ages of the late 1970's.  When I was in high school it would have been totally unheard of for a girl to be a member of the boys wrestling team but by golly, not only did Chariho have a girl on their team but so did Burrelville, the team that they were competing against.  They weren't wrestling each other either as they were in different weight classes - nope, these gals were taking on guys.  Jamie said that she'd never heard of girls being on the wrestling teams down in Florida either so maybe Rhode Island is just a bit more progressive?

The girl on the Burrelville team lost her match fairly quickly and I noticed that as she sat on the chairs on her team's side of the mat that she was pretty much left to her own devices as the guys seemed to pretty much ignore her.  I gave her lots of points for not only wrestling but also for dealing with the indifference from the rest of her team.  On the Chariho side of the mat things were totally different as Isabella, a foreign exchange student from Germany,  not only seemed to be accepted but welcomed by the guys on her team.

Matt, Nate, and Isabella
Matthew, Nate, and Isabella
When the time came for her match, Renee whispered to me that Isabella probably wouldn't win as she usually lost her matches but as she approached her partner Isabella looked like she had not only come to play but to win. No doubt the kid she was wrestling against was under pressure to not just win his match but not "lose to a girl" so he was going to be trying extra hard to wrap this thing up quickly.  Turns out that it wasn't quick or easy and it was quite the match to see!


So guess who probably got razzed unmercifully on the bus ride home after the match?  It was the closest match all night and, in my opinion, definitely the most exciting as Isabella managed to hang on for the win by a mere two points.  You could tell that she was becoming quite exhausted towards the end of the match but with the entire home-team side of the gym shouting encouragement and yelling "Isabella!  Isabella!", she managed to hold on and take the win. Heck, it was enough to make me almost jump up and cheer myself but instead I put the camera down and clapped just as loudly as everyone else as it was a darned impressive match and Isabella definitely had earned the applause - as well as a lot of admiration for even just being there.

I forget the final score but Chariho managed to win by pretty much a landslide which I guess is not too surprising considering they're at the top of their Division in Rhode Island right now.  All in all it was an enjoyable evening in spite of how the pictures did/didn't come out and I'm glad that Renee had asked me to come out - she and her husband John have a lot to be proud of in Matthew and Matthew has a lot of to proud of in his team.  Here's hoping they finish their season in that Number One spot and that Isabella wins a few more matches before the end of her season!  Not to sound cliché but YOU GO GIRL!

John, Renee, & Matthew
John, Renee, and Matthew


  1. A few photos cwere not available, but the ones that were were good.

  2. Ratz...I couldn't see any of the photos. I would have been cheering on Isabella myself. It takes a lot of chutzpah for a gal to be on a male team. Go Isabella!!!

    14 more sleeps. Can you believe it??!

    Big hugs, honey...

  3. Sports photography is definitely not easy. I had a friend in high school who was chief photography of our HS newspaper. I remember him saying that the most difficult thing was watching a game through the view finder.

    He said you couldn't relax because you never knew when the action would produce the shot.

  4. i can see all the photos, they are wonderful and isabella is a doll, good for her!

    smiles, bee

  5. Isabella rocks! Wow. I don't get wrestling, but a girl wanting to wrestle sounds way cool.

    I think you did a great job on the photos, especially considering the venue and lighting!

  6. Well you managed to get some great shots!

  7. I keep telling Hope I want her to play football on the real team, not the half baked one they throw together for girls
    she says OK, which is only because it's her new favorite word ;)

    great shots
    motion is not easy to capture

  8. Anonymous8:59 AM EST

    Yay Girl Power! Matt is a handsome guy. Hubby was a wrestler in HS... I know how tough it is. I've heard stories.

  9. That's pretty awesome! Isabella rocks! I think your photo's look great, nice job.

    There's no way I would have ever been on a wrestling team, all that close, sweaty, smelly body contact with complete strangers? no thank you lol

    Dang, I wish these Blogger comments would just let you put in a name and url instead of being forced to choose a login service

  10. Wow, a girl wrestler! How cool is that. I hope next they allow girl football players. Why not?!

    The pics look great. I can't imagine how tough it must have been. Sports have got to be one of the hardest things to capture on "film". My boss does a pretty good job at his son's cross country and basketball games. He's on flickr if your interested... mlstel.

  11. My oldest, Shawn, was on his school wrestling team but I only went to see a match once because I couldn't handle seeing my son wrestling! I kept thinking the other guy was hurting him and I wanted to go slap him silly! lol I know they have girls wrestling teams here but I've never heard if they have a unisex team, something I'll have to ask Shawn.

    Don't you just love trying to take pictures in a gym or in a church? I find those are the worst places in trying to take good pictures. The ones you posted on here are terrific, though! xoxo


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