BY MATT MENCARINI | STAFF WRITER
As I walked through the threshold and into the the gym at Flagler Palm Coast High School to watch Seabreeze compete in the Flagler Rotary Tournament Jan. 11, I stepped into a different world.
I’m not sure if I should be embarrassed to admit this, but it was my first wrestling meet. Sure, I’ve watched some Olympic or college meets on TV, but only for a few minutes while something else was in a commercial break.
It was organized chaos. I stepped into the gym, which was blanketed with six wrestling mats, and quickly moved out of the way of people I assumed knew exactly where they were going.
There was one wrestler who was, well, the only way I can describe it would be to say he was shadow wrestling. He was crouching off to the side, squaring up against an invisible opponent. He was mentally preparing himself for six minutes against somebody real.
And he looked like he was holding his own. But I never did get a chance to see him actually wrestle.
After a few minutes I began to get my bearings. There was a rhythm to the noisy flow on the floor.
Spectators watched from the balcony, which had a full section of bleachers running the length of the gym. They looked down as if they were watching gladiators compete in the Colosseum.
There was also a person at each scoring table, whose sole job was to hit the referee with a pool noodle, which had been cut in half, when each two-minute period ended.
But of everything I saw while roaming the floor, nothing stuck out more than the way coaches used technology.
At least half of the teams at the meet were using iPads for film study. A coach or wrestler would film a match, and then the coach would review, frame by frame, what went well, or poorly, for the wrestler.
Coaches didn’t have to explain how a wrestler’s footwork may have been better, or how a wrestler could have gotten out of a pin. The coaches could show them, literally, seconds after the match was over.
So while it may have felt like Rome at first, an abundance of Apple products quickly brought me back to Central Florida.