Ah Vision Quest. No one had a clue that Matthew Modine would go on from there to even higher cinematical heights like Married to the Mob and Gross Anatomy. There would have been no Over The Top without Vision Quest. No Over The Top, No “Meet Me Halfway” by Kenny Loggins. The implications are frightening. Wrestling is what made Matthew Modine the massive star he is today. What? Massive. Obscure. Whatever. That’s neither here nor there. What’s important is that I didn’t see any butt draggin’ in Vision Quest and neither did the Fresno County district attorney.

Preston Hill is in trouble with the law after being charged with “using a wrestling move to sexually assault a teammate’. The movie is called the butt drag and it’s customarily used as retaliation if an opponent has wronged a teammate or isn’t moving during a match.

According to a police report, during a July practice Preston used a maneuver informally known as a “butt drag” — which involves grabbing the haunch of an opponent to gain leverage — to roughly and intimately assault a smaller, younger wrestler on his team in retaliation for a supposed affront.

Preston has denied attacking the younger boy, who is 14, telling the investigating officer that he was merely executing a common maneuver that “everyone does,” in order to “to motivate people who don’t move on the mats.”

Some people like getting a finger in the ass during sex but it’s probably not as enjoyable when it comes out of nowhere. It’s like sitting on a bike with a bike seat. Um … or so I’ve heard.

The police in Clovis, a middle-class enclave where wrestling is a proud tradition, say the case began over the summer. The 14-year-old accuser, who has not been identified, told the police that he had been “bullied by several students,” including Preston Hill, who, the younger boy said, had made a habit of taking his drinking water during practice.

On July 15, however, according to the younger boy’s account, he refused to hand his water over, prompting threats from Preston, including menacing gestures. The police report states that at a practice that evening, Preston purposefully stood near the younger boy during a wrestling exercise and, when the coach whistled for wrestling to begin, threw the younger boy down, pinned him to the mat and performed an invasive “butt drag” maneuver.

Listen up, kids. The next time someone tells you to pass the water, do it.

Over the Top: Ode to Opening Day

On Saturday evening I sat with some friends discussing the merits of running as an athletic event.  Was running an actual sport or just exercising?  As the discussion continued, I lost interest, and as I tend to do, began thinking about baseball.  You can make your argument about what constitutes a game, because really, they are all games, but there is only one sport: baseball.    

Every summer, countless hours are spent taking in spectacular moments of pure athletic accomplishment.  It is a game that has no clock, waits for no one.  It’s old, inefficient, and slow.  But this arrogance, devotion to purpose, and execution is what makes it the greatest sport ever. The intricacies of the game that make it superior cannot be quantified.

<Boswellian alert> Throughout the summer, baseball fans are spoiled in a pure state of sporting ecstasy.  Living in this Elysium through beautifully long days and warm inviting nights, we wade slowly.  When our fair mistress leaves us in the fall, we shuffle into the darkest time of the year. Through those four months, we act as beasts: consuming, hibernating, hiding, trying to do anything to get through the misery of winter.  Like any other lovelorn man, we long for our goddess; waiting patiently for her return.

But unlike any other lost love, she returns in the spring with arms wide open, in time to give us new hope.  To enable us to wash away the pale, bourbon-soaked itchy wool sweater that is winter.  It is the greatest elixir known to man: tastier than any cold beer, sweeter than any woman, more loyal than, well, just about anything.

Football games are different; when a monumental moment occurs, it resembles utter chaos. In baseball, the greatest achievements are seamless and effortless. Its fans are the strong, silent types: calculating, cold and intelligent.

The Man.

Between fans, there are heated arguments about whose club is better.  There are disagreements, but sometimes there are also jokes.  Baseball fans, no matter from Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, wherever… They may loathe each other with a passion, but there is an unspoken sense of respect among them all.

I come home from a long day of work. As I unwind, for some reason, I begin to assess my life. I think about when I was 18 and all of my plans for this age: richer, stronger, healthier, and more successful. I’d drive a nicer car living in a different city, completely on top of my game.  My mind begins the slippery slope into full-on moping.  I slide onto the hot couch, sweating.  At my zenith of frustration, I reach for the remote control.  I turn on the television, it’s Comcast Sportsnet, Baltimore against Tampa. I don’t care for either team, but it’s the bottom of the 6th and Brian Roberts has two men on, a 3-1 count, 2 outs, with his team down by 2 runs.  I hear Buck Martinez relay this information to me in his unmistakable tone. I slowly become engrossed.  I begin to exit the real world.

Baseball is back – And not a moment too soon.  Happy Opening Day.