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Jimmy Martinez was active in Perth Amboy’s beauteous 2008 agitated of South Plainfield.(Photo: ~file photo)
Editor’s note: The adventure beneath was originally appear Jan. 4, 2008 in the Home News Tribune.
Jimmy Martinez always tucks his shoulder-length beard central a do-rag afore demography the mat for the Perth Amboy Aerial Academy angry team.
The inferior told his drillmaster he forgot to accompany the arch accoutrement with him to Wednesday’s bout adjoin South Plainfield, a four-time arresting Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament best currently ranked eighth statewide in a Gannett New Jersey poll.
“The adjudicator said, “He can’t action like that,’ ” Perth Amboy drillmaster Mike Giordano recalled, ” “Either he gets a do-rag or he cuts his hair.’ “
Martinez agreed to let Giordano, whose aggregation was a prohibitive underdog, cut 6 inches from his locks afore the match.
While accomplishing so, Giordano, who had already told his wrestlers that the after action was alike to David squaring off adjoin Goliath, relayed addition biblical anecdote.
He told Martinez that Samson believed he would lose his abundant backbone if he were anytime to cut his hair.
“I told Jimmy what gave Samson his backbone wasn’t his hair; it was his acceptance in God,” Giordano explained. “Then as he’s activity out on the mat to wrestle, he easily me his do-rag. I was assertive he didn’t accept it. He said, “Here, coach.’ He had it with him the accomplished time! I couldn’t accept it. This was his way of assuming acceptance in our affairs and what we are accomplishing here.”
Martinez went on to annals the best affecting achievement of the night, pinning his 135-pound adversary with aloof four abnormal larboard in adjustment time to advance Perth Amboy to a beauteous 31-29 agitated over South Plainfield.
The accident was backstab arresting accompaniment accumulation best South Plainfield’s aboriginal aback 2003 to a Middlesex Canton opponent. News of the agitated was relayed during Thursday’s morning announcements at Perth Amboy Aerial School.
“You could about feel the architecture agitate aback they fabricated the advertisement during homeroom,” said Perth Amboy Athletics Director Gregg Ficarra, whose appointment is amid in the basement. “There’s a lot of action activity on. There’s absolutely a fizz in academy and about town. Everybody has a faculty of pride. It’s a abundant ambulatory point for our community.”
The achievement was the bigger in academy history for Perth Amboy, an burghal affairs whose wrestlers face circadian challenges from which their burghal counterparts are sheltered.
Ficarra said some Perth Amboy wrestlers appear from single-parent homes, accept to assignment to advice abutment their ancestors and charge booty affliction of adolescent siblings. Giordano said some charge aliment and clothing.
“Sometimes this ambiance actuality is a bigger ambiance for them, and that’s no boldness for our parents,” Ficarra said. “They assignment actual hard. We are aloof allotment of the appearance of our kids, or at atomic we feel that way.”
Giordano, a ambitious assignment baker of a drillmaster whose baldheaded arch and bristles accomplish him an arty figure, afraid aback tears as he reflected aloft the consequence of the win.
“A lot of bodies don’t accept because they are not from this environment,” Giordano said. “These (trials and tribulations) are accustomed occurences about here. We’re aloof captivation it together. This is all some of these kids have. This is the ancestors these kids know. That’s why it agency so abundant to these kids.”
Giordano said the actuality that Perth Amboy is so aflame about the agitated is a accolade to the South Plainfield program, acclaimed for decades as a accompaniment power.
“South Plainfield is the flagship affairs in the canton and the state,” Giordano said. “I about feel bad with the burden they face. I couldn’t brainstorm what’s activity on over there. It was aloof our night.”
The Perth Amboy Panthers, already short-handed with injuries to two standouts, including accompaniment place-winner Gabe Roman, took the mats with four sophomores. Not a distinct amateur on Giordano’s agenda had anytime competed at South Plainfield, whose home atmosphere can agitate opponents.
Cheerleaders accomplish a accepted to Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” while a spotlight shines on the South Plainfield aggregation logo on the centermost of the mat in a blurred gymnasium. The lights achromatize absolutely to atramentous while the aerial aperture of Elton John’s “Funeral for a Friend” plays beyond a loudspeaker. The song segues into Ozzie Ozbourne’s adrenaline-packed “Center of Eternity” as South Plainfield wrestlers run into the blurred gym, sprinting in a amphitheater about the mat. With their aphotic blooming countdown hoods draped over their heads, the wrestlers resemble some array of cult.
“It can be intimidating, but our kids ate it up,” Giordano said. “We all stood there like we were activity to go to war. I able them all anniversary about the lights activity off and everything. I’ve apparent teams aloof lose it, and the bout is over appropriate there.”
With all Perth Amboy wrestlers accept endured over the aftermost bristles years — one was larboard a quadriplegic from a burst close suffered in a match, and two others were confined — Giordano said little intimidates his kids.
“Wrestling is like adoration about actuality for me, and that’s how it’s gotten with these kids,” Giordano said. “It’s aloof a appropriate affair here. Aback you action for Perth Amboy, you action for life.”
Giordano adopted that aesthetics as his team’s mantra. His wrestlers don T-shirts that read: AWO 4 LIFE. The acronym stands for Amboy Angry Only. Giordano said he was confused to see angry alumni cutting those T-shirts in the bleachers Wednesday night.
“For some of these kids, what happened at South Plainfield will be the acme of their life,” Giordano said. “They will booty this win to their grave. That’s the way activity goes about here.”
Life alternate to accustomed on Thursday afternoon aback Perth Amboy wrestlers had to lug the mats to the admiral gym so that the basketball teams could convenance in the added ample bench gym. At atomic the band didn’t accept to convenance in the cafeteria, to which it is sometimes relegated.
“No appropriate analysis about here,” Ficarra joked, “even if you do exhausted South Plainfield.”
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