Sunday, February 05, 2006

Super Bowl XL - Steelers 21, Seahawks 10, Detroit A

I'm going to write and post a lot more on my trip, but I want to get my videos and picts done before I do. But I will take time to report that Super Bowl XL, my fourth Super Bowl, was certainly fun.

I missed going with my friend Beth Schnitzer and her two brothers, as they opted not to come for the first time in my history of attending this spectacle. Also, I invited my friend and co-writer Anja Crotts to come, but she too was captured by obligations back home.

That written, I had a lot of fun. I will report in much more detail, but the bottom line is...

1) Detroit is a great city that gets less credit than it deserves, especially as a Super Bowl Host City. It was a great Super Bowl City. My only complaint was the large number of downtowners who didn't seem to know where anything was located. This was a terrible problem which sent some up in arms!

2) Ford Field is simply -- until Arizona's new stadium is able to be evaluated -- the best place to play the Super Bowl.

More later..

Young Woman Beats The Boys at Wrestling - Michaela Hutchison is Alaska's Champion!

This is a true breakthrough in the liberation of Women around the World, and makes the guys who like athletic, strong, confident women happy to. Michaela Hutchison of Skyview High in Anchorage won the 103 pound Alaska state wrestling title Saturday.

Skyview girl's win makes U.S. history
WRESTLING: Hutchison's state title against the boys at 103 pounds is unprecedented.
Anchorage Daily News

Published: February 5, 2006
Last Modified: February 5, 2006 at 05:56 AM

Armed with cameras and video camcorders, nearly 2,000 people packed Chugiak High on Saturday night to watch Skyview's Michaela Hutchison make history.
Flash bulbs popped when Hutchison took the mat in the 103-pound final of Alaska's big school wrestling championships. When the wrestlers were introduced, Hutchison received a roaring applause.
But the best was yet to come.
Led by chants of "C'mon Michaela" and "Girl Power," Hutchison blew the roof off the place when she earned a thrilling 1-0 victory over Colony's Aaron Boss to become the first girl wrestler in the nation to win a state title against boys.
Hutchison, a sophomore who entered the state tournament ranked No. 1 in her weight class, completed her historic run by scoring an escape with 16 seconds left in the match to beat Boss for the second time in as many weeks.
As time wound down and Hutchison and Boss locked together in the middle, the crowd started counting down "3 ... 2 ... 1" before letting out a deafening roar. Hutchison didn't show much reaction -- she was more concerned with stopping her nose from bleeding.
Family and friends mobbed Hutchison after she walked off the mat while the crowd honored her accomplishment with a standing ovation.
"They were helping me," Hutchison said of the crowd's support. "It was awesome."
Hutchison was a crowd favorite before she even took the mat, in large part because she was trying to do what no girl had ever done -- beat the boys.
Skyview coach Neldon Gardner said Hutchison's victory was one of the highlights of his coaching career. He has coached countless state champions, but this one stood out.
"After 23 years of coaching you remember a lot of things. I'll never forget this one," he said. "I can't think of anybody more deserving than Michaela. She works as hard as any boy I've ever had."
Lathrop's Leah Bachert, a girl wrestler at 112 pounds, called Hutchison a role model.
"I look up to her because she's proving everybody wrong," Bachert said. "She's showing everybody that girls can be just as tough as guys."
Beating the boys has been something Hutchison has dreamed about since she started working out with the Skyview High as a seventh grader. She was close last year, losing in the 103-pound final.
Across the nation, other girls have been close too.
Last year, 17 girls nationwide qualified for high school state championships that included boys. One of them, Deanna Rix of Maine, finished second at 130 pounds. Michaela's sister, Melina, placed third at state six years ago.
Now Hutchison is in a class by herself.
"I don't care about (the significance) right now," she said. "I was excited to get done with the season. I'm been waiting for this for a while."
Hutchison's victory rivals other historic wins by women in male-dominated sports. Remember Libby Riddles? In 1985, she became the first female musher to win the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Riddles, along with four-time winner Susan Butcher, changed the rules of the game forever.
And Hutchison might do the same -- at least in Alaska.
Kent Bailo, director of the U.S. Girls Wresting Association, believes Hutchison's victory will help girls wrestling become a varsity sport. He estimates 4,000 to 5,000 girls wrestle in high schools nationwide. Yet, only Hawaii and Texas currently offer it as a girls sport. But Alaska might be next.
"I think coaches would want girls to have their own varsity sport," Bailo said. "Their boys would be so embarrassed if a girl won state. The coaches don't want girls taking away their medals."
Boss shouldn't feel embarrassed about losing to Hutchison. She's been No. 1-ranked at 103 all season. Hutchison finished the season with a 45-4 record that included 33 pins, one shy of the state single-season record.
Other boys who have wrestled against Hutchison said it was no big deal to lose to a girl, especially one as talented and tough as Hutchison. Kodiak's Tucker VanMatre was pinned by her in 47 seconds at the region championships two weeks ago.
"It was quick," VanMatre said. "She got me in an arm bar and turned me (over)."
Did she catch you by surprise?
"No," VanMatre added. "I expected it. She's good."
Hutchison was born to wrestle. She's one of 10 children and the third in her family to win a state title, joining brothers Zeb and Eli.
"They love the sport more than any other family I know," Gardner said. "This is a result of that dedication."