There's nothing like it in the world!  That was one of the statements I heard Wednesday morning while talking with former co-worker Rick Fink. Fink has followed the wrestling scene in South Dakota as a referee and fan for the past 30 some years. I had called him to do a followup on a past years story Who Is The Best Wrestler in South Dakota History . The one thing he kept referring back to was camaraderie. He said;

Wrestling is an amazing sport. It's different that basketball or football. In those sports, you come to your game and go home. Even if you're involved in club sports like baseball, basketball or soccer, you play your games, then go shop and come back for the next game or match. But in wrestling, you come. And you stay. The whole day. 

Fink went on to say;

By staying there in the gym all day with like minded wrestling fans, it changes them. They start out as competitors. Fierce competitors. And many times that time spent together turns them into lifelong friends. He said, it's a different bond you get than other sports. Maybe it's the dedication that's involved to participate. The training. Weight management. Commitment. It's all part of it, people recognize what the other wrestlers and parents and families are going through and they gravitate to people who are going through the same process.

The end of February in South Dakota is the Super Bowl for the sport of High School Wrestling. Both A and B divisions will be coming to Sioux Falls for the State Tournament at The Denny Sanford Premier Center. In many cases, people will be continuing or renewing friendships formed around the mat.

I asked Rick what might be the main story at this years Sate Tournament. He said,

The Hutmacher kid from Chamberlain is a beast. Nash Hutmacher, Chamberlain, SO., 42-0 A man among boys. To be heavyweight state champion as a freshmen is unheard of. The intrigue is that the kid from Beresford, South Dakota is probably The Man in South Dakota Wrestling this year. Nick Casperson, Beresford-Alcester-Hudson, (Fresno State Recruit-Senior 34-0) usually wrestles at a lower weight. (195)

I heard from wrestling fan Duane Miles of Hartford, South Dakota. He said Casper has weighed 195 the bulk of the year, but would sometimes wrestle up a class to get the best competition. The Heavyweight Hutmacher may give him his best test of the year. Miles agrees that this is the match people will be talking about.

You can almost hear the 'movie trailer guy in the background, ('tonight at The Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls!)

A lot of good things will happen this weekend at the Denny Sanford Premier Center, but one thing is certain, people you once considered competitors will become lifelong friends. That's wrestling.

Please share this story with your wrestling friends (and competitors) on Facebook and Twitter.