(© L.C. Holt)
Brad Kitchner wanted to interview his roommate from the moment they
moved in. Now in their dorm room on the second floor of Halcyon, the all-boys
floor, he was finally getting his chance. The official reason was because the
school paper, The Hive—get it, Hobard Hornets, The Hive, ha ha—wanted profiles
of all the incoming freshman athletes. Kitchner, a freshman himself, a
Creative Writing major, was given the no-duh assignment of profiling his
roommate. Seemed logical. It would also be a good excuse for them to try and
get to know each other. They couldn’t be less alike with Kitch being a gangly
pimple-faced kid with glasses and Mark—Mark Goetz—being a fit five foot eight
wrestler with a dark complexion and a high-and-tight Marine haircut.
Sitting across from one another, a lamp glowing on the desk, Kitch
activated his digital recorder and said, "Here we go." He asked the first
question, "How’d you get into the sport?"
Mark said, "I first started wrestling when I was about
eight-years-old. We were walking down the halls, me and a couple buddies, and
we saw a flyer and decided to sign up at the Y."
"Did you like it instantly?"
"Yeah. I liked it a lot. I wasn’t good at it at first, but I stuck
with it. Got better."
"How’d your other friends react to you getting into an activity that
required so much time and dedication outside school?"
"When I first started a lot of people made fun of me. They didn’t
think it was a very hard sport. But wrestling’s a lot different than other
sports. It’s probably one of the tougher sports around. Workouts, losing
weight, you gotta eat right. Pull-ups, push-ups, sprints, waking up at
six-thirty, going for four or five mile runs, lifting at six, six-thirty in the
morning. It’s hard work. Contrary to popular belief, toughness doesn’t come
"Do you think in general people look down on the sport?"
"Well, it’s more than just going to matches and having fun. It’s
much harder than that, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff you don’t get
to see from the stands."
"In high school you were a top finisher, is that right?"
"My record last year was thirty-three-and-three, which is pretty
"And what school did you come from?"
"Westside High in Macon."
"Getting back to the workout regimen, why do you love this sport so
much if it’s so taxing? Where’s your passion for it come from?"
"Well, it’s a one-on-one sport. It’s not a team effort and part of
me likes that part of it. The idea of forcing yourself to get better ‘cause in
a match you can’t depend on anyone else—it’s you versus the other guy and you
sink or swim based on your own performance. On top of that I like the
aggressive style of it. You know, roughin’ up your opponent, intimidating him
a little bit, making him afraid of you."
"Do you think you’re too aggressive sometimes?"
"Some people probably think I am and once in a while they’re
probably right, but I think every wrestler has a dirty side to them. The
problem comes when you get labeled a ‘dirty wrestler,’ which means you take it
too far, going for headshots and stuff. Get something like that attached to
your name, you don’t live it down, and refs start to not like you, which leads
to bullshit calls and other problems, but still I don’t think of myself in that
way and, you know, it’s sort of the nature of the sport. You’re not going out
there to be nice to the guy, bake him a cake."
"What would you say your style of wrestling is?"
"My style’s just to go out there and go after the guy right away.
Move his head, get him intimidated, take him down. I like to get on top,
punish him on top, look for the cradles, look for the near fall points, the
back points, and hopefully get the pin and take him out altogether."
"Mm-hmm." Kitch took a beat. "What would you say the best thing
about wrestling is overall?"
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