Nadkarni: A call to arms


Rohan Nadkarni, Sports Editor

My Daily Northwestern career didn’t really start until I attended wrestling practice for the first time.

I was desperate to join the staff, so I jumped at the opportunity to cover a sport I knew nothing about. In fact, my wrestling knowledge consisted solely of The Rock, DX, John Cena and everything in between, but that didn’t exactly apply to Big Ten wrestling. (I did watch that one Even Stevens episode where Louis had to wrestle a girl. It’s been all downhill for Shia LaBeouf since then.)

Fortunately, wrestling’s sports information director Betsy Golomski and coach Drew Pariano quickly put me at ease. Whether it was Betsy making sure I actually knew what terms to use or Drew not being afraid to joke around or explain to me every last detail, I finally felt at home at a school thousands of miles away covering a sport I previously barely knew existed.

Over the course of the season, I came to enjoy the sport and the Wednesdays I would hang out with Pariano. He was always good for not only a memorable quote, but also great stories from his college days or critiques about everyone else’s choice of music.

I was honored to cover football this season, as well as lacrosse last spring. And while those two sports have a relatively high profile, their coaches aren’t exactly known for loving the media. In fact, I’m pretty sure Pat Fitzgerald wonders why this school allows nerdy journalism students to approach him at all.

But wrestling was different. Even after a tough loss on the road, I could count on Pariano to be honest and thoughtful with his answers and thank me for covering the team. It’s not often a coach or player thanks you after you’ve grilled them about a loss.

This year, I haven’t been able to make it out to many wrestling practices or duals. My plan is to change that this Friday — and hopefully with a little help.

You’ve heard it before: Team X is really good but no one goes to see them. Well, I’m telling you again: Our wrestling team is damn good, and you guys should go see them.

NU is ranked in the Top 25 despite being riddled with injuries and using a host of underclassmen in every dual. The level of competition in the Big Ten is also unmatched, perhaps by any conference in any sport.

Recently, I spoke to Pariano and could sense the frustration in his voice. The man self-admittedly eats, sleeps and breathes wrestling, and the injuries on his team have taken a mental toll on him.

Which is why I want to help an old friend out.

This Friday, I want to see everyone at the Wildcats’ home dual against Purdue. You don’t have to stay the whole time, and you don’t need to know anything about wrestling. You just need to wear purple and go nuts.

I know it’s hard for every student to support every team, but I’m making a personal plea to everyone who reads this column (or uses it to stop a nosebleed) to make their way to Welsh-Ryan for one Friday night.

I’ll see you there.