New Providence PAL Wrestling Holds Annual Open Mat Night
Friday, October 19, 2012 • 11:23pm
NEW PROVIDNECE, NJ - New Providence youngsters were grappling, crawling and knocking each other down Friday night, Oct. 19, as the Police Athletic League held their annual Open Mat Nigh at New Providence High School.
Students in eighth grade and under were invited to attend and about 20 children showed up. The event featured drills to teach them basic wrestling moves. The kids enjoyed playing some games, as well.
New Providence resident Adam Smith runs PAL wrestling for that age group and seven years ago he started the Open Mat Night. A lot of children are nervous or aren’t sure if they want to participate and he hopes the event changes their mind.
“This kind of introduces kids who are younger,” Smith said. “A lot people are uncertain about signing up.”
Because wrestling on television is fake, many kids don’t realize what it involves, he said. By holding this event, he hopes they get a firm understanding of it and usually want to sign up.
Each year, different children participate, but they always have fun, he said. More importantly, the majority of the youngsters register after attending the event, Smith added.
“They had fun,” he told TheAlternativePress.com. “The kids had a ball. I think they’ll all sign up.”
Smith, along with three of his coaches, taught the students referee position, takedowns, bear crawls, seal crawls, forward roll and offensive and defensive stance. The wrestling season runs form November to February and about 60 to 80 children participate and are placed on four teams.
One of the kids who had a blast was Michael Lazzari, who is a fourth grade student at Salt Brook Elementary School. It was his first time attending the event, but he has a few friends that wrestle and he wanted to try it out. His mother, Angela, said she would support her son if he signed up, but it is a big commitment, she said
Michael said the drills were easy, but the games were difficult, especially after he had to carry another boy on his back. But, in the end he made his decision.
“I’m going to do it,” he said.