One of my proudest days with Maddy was when I visited to see him at a wrestling tournament as a freshman on the Varsity team. He was wrestling at the 103 lb. class, when he only weighed 96 lbs. He was the only wrestler on the team who could eat as much as he wanted. All his opponents were bigger, but he was doing surprisingly well with a 7 win and 7 loss record so far in the season.
After a loss and a win, his third match of the day was simply amazing. He and his opponent were evenly matched, but Maddy put on a clinic, scoring 24 points with a blazing set of takedowns, near pins, reversals, and escapes. Part way through the match, I noticed that it wasn’t just the home section cheering him on. Maddy’s name was being shouted all over the arena. Nearly everyone was riveted on his match in the center ring. All the wrestlers not wrestling were watching and even the basketball team, who had just finished their practice, were cheering him on too.
Maddy had a charisma that was hard to define. He has been unusual from day one. No one was sure exactly what he’d say or do, but people were always interested in whatever it was. He had met the governor of Colorado and even shook John Kerry’s hand during his national presidential campaign. He walked on the balls of his feet and talked fast. While I couldn’t always follow the rapid-fire conversation, I was gratified to hear everyone shouting his name that day in the gym.
His opponent in the last match that day was very good and led all through the match, nearly pinning Maddy a number of times. But, Maddy always managed to slip out of trouble until the very end of the match. With 15 seconds left on the clock, one shoulder was pinned and two feet were out of the circle. The referee was flat on his stomach with his head as close as possible to Maddy’s unpinned shoulder, watching and waiting for that last inch to disappear. The referee’s arm was raised, ready to slap the mat to signal a pin when, in a split second, Maddy reversed and was suddenly pinning his opponent. The ref slapped the mat and the crown roared. Maddy had won the match.
A ref came up to me later that day and told me that had been his favorite match of the tournament and that he loved Maddy’s attitude. I was the happiest grandfather ever.