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Off the Field – Part of a movement (Feb. 17, 2016 issue)

I’m not afraid to say I am part of the “Yes Movement.”
WWE superstar and professional wrestler Daniel Bryan made things official last week by retiring from in-ring competition due to multiple head injuries he sustained during his 16-year career.
Since the professional wrestling “fanboy” bug bit me, I have always been a fan of the smaller wrestlers. Two of my favorites, who are no longer with us, were “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Dusty Rhodes, both of whom barely cleared 6-feet in height.
Guys like Rey Mysterio Jr., Billy Kidman, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho were superstars I could also get behind. In a land of giants, the smaller-framed wrestlers were making their own mark on the business – just like Bryan.
Standing at just 5-foot-8, pushing 190 pounds, Bryan began his career wrestling under his real name, Bryan Danielson and the nickname “The American Dragon.”
During his retirement speech on Monday, Feb. 8, Bryan’s talk recounted starting out in the business wrestling at old gas stations and other small venues. It had nothing to do with the money or the fame; it was just a guy following his dreams of becoming a professional wrestler.
Bryan spent six years in the WWE before retiring. During his career, he consistently fought against the idea that only the big can survive at the top. At every turn when he could give up, Bryan never stopped and captivated the hearts of millions around the world.
Here was this average-looking guy, who was beyond-skilled in the ring, and no matter the roadblocks in the way … he is still making the best out of a situation. The situations arose and he continued to grow stronger as a fan favorite, starting the “Yes” chants that have spread from wrestling rings to sporting events across the globe.
The company finally caved in during Wrestlemania 30 and gave fans the finals that they wanted: Bryan as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion and the storyline they presented couldn’t have been scripted by Hollywood. He is a man that respected the business, his craft, his opponents and the fans who supported him. The selflessness of the man was on display Monday as he opened his retirement speech by stating he donated hair from his well-known beard to a charity for children. The man epitomizes what being a good guy is all about.
Wrestling may be “predetermined,” but I am not afraid to say I’ll continue to look up to the 34-year-old father of the “Yes Movement.”
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Maryville College’s Darrin Travillian recently became the program’s winningest women’s head coach.
Travillian surpassed former Maryville coach and current head man at N.C. State, Wes Moore, by earning win number 130 in a 63-46 decision against USA South rival Ferrum. The Lady Scots have former Lady Blue Devil Chelsey Harness on the roster.
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Who needs warm weather to take the field?
The Walters State Community College baseball team opened its season during the month of January as they began their journey to a second straight appearance in the JUCO World Series in Colorado.
The Senators currently have former Unicoi County High School baseball players Austin Green and Ethan Rice on the roster.
WSCC baseball returns to action this week on Thursday, Feb. 18, with a home contest against Tusculum College, home of Pioneer graduate and former UCHS Blue Devil Scott Gibson.
Along with the trend of JUCO baseball players with an Erwin flare, Roane State boasts sophomore Connor Simpson and New River has former Blue Devil Hunter Burnett. Ryan Lingerfelt will also look to get things going with Carson-Newman University.
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To stick with the trend of sports out of Morristown, the WSCC Lady Senators opened their season last week, competing Chipola Tournament in Florida. Larry Sauceman’s squad has sophomore Brooke Strother, a former Lady Devil, on the roster.
The team will welcome current UCHS senior Abby Hensley, who will join the team in 2017. WSCC softball returns to action this week in the Faulkner Tournament in Alabama.
• • •
Congratulations to Peyton Manning, who is possibly winding up his hall of fame career, for his team’s recent 24-10 Super Bowl victory against the Carolina Panthers.
Whether you love or loathe the Tennessee Volunteers, Manning has made the NFL landscape rather enjoyable during his tenure with the Colts and the Broncos. He has carried himself as a God-fearing, strictly by-the-book quarterback, who has done wonders helping young quarterbacks across the nation have a role model to look up to.
As for Cam Newton, the Panther signal caller will have multiple opportunities to get his own ring. There’s too much talent flowing through the former Auburn Tiger to be one-and-done at the grandest stage of them all.