On Saturday, October 16, the 1984-85 Postville High School Wrestling Team was inducted into the Postville Pirate Athletic Hall of Fame. During that season, I wrestled 105 lbs. on the varsity team.
A banquet was held that evening for all of the Postville Pirate Hall of Fame inductees, family members, friends, committee members, and other guests.
The first two inductees gave very nice speeches about Postville athletics, family, and community.
Before the wrestling team walked up front by the podium, our coach from that season said a few words. He was particularly happy that we had defeated Decorah High School that season. They were a larger non-conference school that we wrestled every year. We hadn't beaten them in 17 years, but we beat them that season. He spoke about how demanding the sport of wrestling can be for an athlete. He said we had over 30 guys on the team the season. He mentioned that we had so much talent on the team that a lot of guys who would probably have wrestled varsity at other schools had to wrestle JV. Fortunately, these guys loved wrestling enough to stay on the team even if they didn't get to wrestle varsity.
Some of our team's accomplishments that season included:
• Conference Champions
• Sectional Champions
• Only one dual meet loss
• Qualified three wrestlers for the state tournament
• Two wrestlers placed 2nd in the state tournament
• Defeated Decorah High School for the first time in 17 years
After the wrestlers were gathered up front, the presenters asked if anyone wanted to say anything. It looked as though no one was going to talk so I asked if I could say something. I approached the podium and said something like this:
"I started wrestling in 5th grade. I didn't find success right away but I knew deep down that if I stuck with it I would get better. I wasn't a pee wee champion. But, by the time I got to high school I was beating guys who had beaten me back in my pee wee days. I have many good memories of wrestling and a lot of that has to do with Coach Bucknell. He was a great coach. My mom and dad were always there supporting me. And, my older sister was there cheering me on. It's nice to be back in this area. I know I don't get home as often as I should. But, I just want to say that I will always be a Pirate in my heart."
I wasn't really prepared to give a speech. If I had prepared I would have said something like this:
"When I was growing up on our farm, my dad stored his high school letter jacket in the closet in my bedroom. I used to try it on sometimes and admire the medals sewn onto his letter. I didn't know much about my dad's wrestling career except that he had been a good wrestler. And, from a young age I knew that I wanted to be a wrestler some day. I started wrestling in 5th grade. I didn't find success right away but I knew deep down that if I stuck with it I would get better. I did improve but unfortunately I always seemed to wrestle the eventual champion in the first round. I had to settle for a green 5th place ribbon. I really wanted to win a trophy or a medal. I didn't really care if it was for 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place as long as I got a trophy or a medal. Of course, ideally I wanted to win 1st place. I wanted to get the bracket sheet showing everyone in my bracket and the opponents I had defeated. But, I never was a pee wee champion.
In seventh grade, I started wrestling for the school team and my wrestling really improved. My coach in 7th grade was Don Luck and my 8th coach and high school coach was Mr. Bucknell. By the time I got to high school, I was beating guys who had beaten me back in my pee wee days.
I have many good memories of wrestling and a lot of that has to do with Coach Bucknell. He was a great coach. He would give me positive feedback when I did a move well. I remember him shaking my hand before each match. I remember him squirming in his chair while watching his team wrestle as though he were out there wrestling himself.
The wrestling team from 1984-85 was very special. I remember Randy Lenth wrestling with one arm in a sling. He was my idol. Brad Porterfield was always fun to watch wrestle as well. We really had a lot of talent on the team that season. Even though I didn't qualify for the state tournament my self I was very proud when we had two wrestler place second in the tournament in DesMoines.
My mom and dad were always there supporting me. And, my older sister was there cheering me on. My younger sister was there to cheer me ontoo even though I don't think wrestling was that fun for her to watch. It's nice to be back in this area. I know I don't get home as often as I should. But, I just want to say that I will always be a Pirate in my heart."
After I gave my little speech a couple of other wrestlers stepped forward and said a few words. Kevin, the heavyweight from that season talked about getting thrown around his freshamn year and about how the win over Decorah came down to his match. Randy Lenth said that Bucknell had taken a lump of coal (Randy) and turned it into a diamond.
Lastly, our assistant coach from that season said a few words. It had been Virgil's first coaching job that season. He said he was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with such a talented team and to have a great mentor like Coach Bucknell.
Overall, the evening was very enjoyable. It was great to be home in Pirate territory again. I think we were all reminded of the importance that athletics, family, and community play in our lives. And, I meant it when I said that I would always be a Pirate in my heart.