Wrestling is a grueling sport that tests the physical agility of its competitors. The rewards of the sport come at the end of a season, when the athlete can look back on his accomplishment and say, "I did it. I'm a champion."
No doubt about it, the training is rigorous but there is an occasion during the Payson High School campaign in which wrestlers rightly earn a break. It's the team's annual trip to near Costa Mesa, Calif. where the young athletes participate in the Estancia High School Invitational Tournament.
Of course, the real purpose behind the long trip west is to find good competition that will help the wrestlers prepare for their annual run at the state championship.
But during the jaunt there's also time set aside for a little fun and revelry.
Saturday evening, the team traditionally gathers for a pizza party to celebrate their achievements. The following day is spent at Disneyland.
The airline trip to LAX and the overnight motel stay also do their share to build camaraderie among team members. Talk to most any ex-wrestler at PHS and he'll tell you the annual trip to California was one of the highlights of the season.
But, the journey doesn't come without a price. School District funds are not used to pay the expenses so wrestlers, coaches, parents and fans join together to earn the $2,500 needed.
Most of it is earned by hawking tickets for spaghetti dinners, selling candy bars and peddling homecoming T-shirts.
The team left this morning for its annual trip and is scheduled to return Sunday evening.
Hot times at the hoops
The local Elks club is set to host its annual Hoop Shoot competition Jan. 7 in the Tonto Apache Reservation gymnasium.
Registration begins at 1 p.m. and the competition is at 2 p.m. All boys and girls ages eight to 13 years are eligible to participate but youngsters must have proof of age with them at the competition.
The contestant's age group will be determined by their age as of April 1.
In the shoot, each contestant is awarded 25 shots. The boys and girls in each age group with the top scores earn the right to advance to the North District competition later this year. Winners at district can advance to state, regional and ultimately the national Hoop Shoot. Winners there have their names inscribed on the Elks National Memorial located at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.
According to Elk officials, more than three million youngsters compete each year in the Hoop Shoot.
Call Bob Troutman at 474-8931 for more information.