SUPER BOWL LI

Super Bowl LI. There are three words to sum it up: boring, exhilarating, and historic. Right out of the gates, the Atlanta Falcons were outplaying the Patriots and seemed to be unaffected by the pressure of the Super Bowl. At halftime, the Falcons were winning 21-3. The commentators said that the biggest deficit a team was able to come back from in Super Bowl history was 10 points. 10 points. At halftime, the Patriots were already down 18 points and the odds were certainly not in their favor. It was every football fans’ dream, unless you are me or anyone from New England. I actually turned my phone off for the entire second and third quarters because all of my Ohio “friends” were attacking me for the way the Patriots were playing. I never lost faith, but I definitely had my doubts. Dave Portnoy’s (President of Barstool Sports) halftime speech did pump me up though as he said if there is any team to have a major comeback like this in the Super Bowl, it is the New England Patriots. Boy, he had no idea what was coming.

When the third quarter ended, everyone thought the game was over. Atlanta was up 28-9. How could a team possibly score 19 points to tie the game with only one quarter left to play? I squeezed my eyes shut at the start of the fourth quarter because I could not bare to see another Falcons stop or another Falcons touchdown. My mom said to me, “Meghan, we need the Miracle speech.” So, I stood up in my basement next to the television and cleared my throat. If you do not know Herb Brooks’ famous speech from the 1980 Olympics at Lake Placid, it starts something like this, “Great moments are born from great opportunity…” Let me just say, the Miracle speech works every time. I truly believed at that moment in time that we could win this game. We are all Patriots and I had faith in the team that had come so far this season. Tom Brady was suspended for the first four games this year due to Deflategate allegations and had a target on his back the entire season. He proved that despite all of Roger Goodell’s attempts at knocking him down, he could still defy the odds and improve his game. This Super Bowl meant so much.

In the first few minutes of the fourth quarter, I ran upstairs to the kitchen to turn my phone back on and communicate with my friends in Foxboro. While I was upstairs, the Patriots scored a touchdown. Of course, that meant I had to stay upstairs for the rest of the game for superstitious reasons. I sat on the large chair in my living room, digging my fingernails into the arm rests and praying for a miracle. Right before my eyes, I watched it happen. I watched history being made– Julian Edelman’s amazing catch, the touchdown followed by an indirect snap and successful two-point conversion, and another touchdown followed by another successful two-point conversion. Suddenly, the game was tied and we were headed into overtime. I thought I peed my pants (kidding). I was yelling, screaming, jumping up and down, and just thanking God for this chance. When the Pats won the toss, I knew this was it. I watched as my heroes drove down the field and Sweet Feet White (James White) ran the ball into the end zone. The game was over. It was a miracle.

My emotions were uncontrollable. The Patriots had the BIGGEST comeback in Super Bowl history and Tom Brady earned his fifth ring!!! Unbelievable. Words cannot describe the pride and joy I felt watching my team win this Lombardi. I ran into the basement, tears streaming down my face, and hugged my mom, who was also crying. My younger brother was in shock. My older brother Facetimed us immediately and sobbed, “How did we just win that game?” I just keep thinking that in 20 years from now, I will look back on this Super Bowl and remember where I was, how it felt, and the great memories that came with it.

Of course, the people that texted me cruel things about the Patriots quickly recanted their statements. No one can argue that Tom Brady is not the greatest quarterback of all time anymore. Here is proof– five. The only thing that would make this win sweeter would be celebrating in my hometown of Foxboro, Massachusetts, but I guess this basement in Ohio with the people that matter most will do. I am so thankful for the season the Patriots had and I will continue to support them as long as I live. This game offered a glimpse of hope and a break from the struggles and routines of everyday life. It reminded me to just have a little faith. After all, I do believe in miracles.

INDIVIDUAL WRESTLERS DUEL FOR TEAM GLORY

Wrestling is literally the world’s oldest sport, originating between 100 and 200 B.C. – and labeled as one of the toughest. However, wrestlers do not compete for recognition or for the fan fare. They work out incessantly and compete vigorously for the love of winning and for individual glory.

The Mason High School wrestling team practices every day for two hours and usually has competitions on Saturdays that last the entire day. Senior and team captain Andrew Hauer said a typical practice consists of warm-ups, drills, techniques, and going live, which is an actual match situation.

“The toughest thing about practice is definitely going live and coaches are always yelling at you to go harder and everything,” Hauer said. “You feel completely drained, but you still have to keep going because he is watching and yelling at you because you aren’t doing stuff right, which is no fun.”

Junior Zaid Hamdan said that one of the most difficult things about wrestling is the constant movement and going his hardest even when he feels like giving up.

“A joke amongst a lot of the team is ‘I don’t know why I picked this sport to begin with,’” Hamdan said. “The thing about wrestling that separates every other sport is that you have your own drive. A lot of people will say ‘Fight for your team.’ Well, that’s all good and fun, but in real terms, in wrestling, it is just you. How far you want to go depends on you, so it is that little drive in your head because it will pay off later and you will reap the individual benefits.”

Wrestling differs from other sports in the sense that the accountability rests on the wrestler’s own shoulders. Senior and team captain Jack Stein has been wrestling since seventh grade and enjoys the pressure of wrestling.

“There is a team aspect of it, but really, it is only you on the mat,” Stein said. “It is like the win or loss is on you and I like how you are taking all of the ownership. Winning keeps me motivated, just that feeling.”

Senior Jaimen Hood said wrestling differs from other sports mainly because thae work output is completely different.

“In football and basketball, you come in with a lot of energy, so you’re expected to go out with a lot of energy,” Hood said. “Wrestling you kind of go on with not so much energy, but you have to put out just as much as if you were putting out for a basketball or football game. It’s like working with very little.”

Sophomore and team captain Kamal Adewumi said that when it comes to other sports played at the high school level, wrestling proves to be more challenging with competing individually.

“I think it is harder because you can be going against state placers and state champs, and just the environment in general is a lot different from other sports,” Adewumi said. “It is individual-based, but it is team at the same time. It is kind of different because you don’t really have the energy that football games and basketball get.”

Unlike for other sports where cheering is prevalent, wrestlers compete at meets in front of their parents and do not get much fan fare.

Hood said that because wrestling does not carry a large fanbase or Black Hole, he is more focused on how he is competing.

“When it does come to the glory, you don’t get as much,” Hood said. “You’re very in tune to what you are doing and you’re not focused on what is going on around you. It is like an in the moment kind of thing.”

Hamdan started on the defensive line for the Mason football team in the fall and said that the difference in crowd sizes does affect the sport.

“In terms of the intensity of the match, it is definitely more daunting in wrestling because no matter the size of the crowd, it is still only you out there,” Hamdan said. “The thing about playing football on Friday nights is you can mess up, but I don’t think the whole stadium is going to know you messed up. If you lose in a wrestling match, it doesn’t matter if there are 10 or 10,000 people there, they can all point to you and say he either won or lost.”

Hauer said that when wrestling gets tough, he stays motivated by remembering what he will gain in the long-run.

“I know it is terrible right now, but later in life, it will benefit you a lot more,” Hauer said. “It teaches you life lessons, like discipline and that things will always be hard, but you just have to keep going and push through.”

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