March 1st, 2014, 6:00 pm
I am one of approximately six thousand fans that simultaneously stand.
I remove my cap; I find the flag to the right of me up in the rafters of the Times Union Arena in Albany, New York, and I ever so lightly start to sing:
“Oh say can you see.”
The words to the National Anthem remind me that the finals of the 2014 New York State Wrestling Championships will begin in about five minutes.
A total feeling of inner peace and harmony comes over me; it always does during the National Anthem, especially one that precedes a major athletic championship event.
This time is a little different; my feelings amplified.
I look around, and I take a panoramic picture of the magnificence of this moment.
My mind wonders for a few seconds.
A thought comes to my mind of how much work and effort was needed, most of which occurred with no one watching, to get to this moment.
As I finish my thought, I look up, slightly to my left, and on the Arena’s Jumbotron, I see a gigantic picture of Nick, Travis, and Chris, now being seen by all six thousand wrestling fans in attendance.
They are each rocking back and forth, anxiously shifting their weight from their right side to their left side.
Every once in a while, they give a good leg shake, to kick the pins and needles out of their legs.
So much time has been put in by each young man in the basement of a secluded wrestling room, with no one watching.
Now, together, a giant size image of each of them is on the Jumbotron a few minutes before the State Finals.
From the basement to the Jumbotron.
Hard work, while no one is watching, wins.
From the Basement to the Jumbotron is a chapter excerpt from