The music that pumped us up before the Big Games

With the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament starting this week, I thought back to my own days in sports in high school and the music that got our teams pumped up before the Big Games or, in my case, meets (cross country) and matches (wrestling).

Previously on this blog, I mentioned that I was in cross country in high school for a short time, from my freshman to my junior years. In fact, I was Senor Largo Calcetines. To see what I mean, visit the post. I won’t repost the infamous photo here, but will only say that I was stylin’ (I won’t say what style I was stylin’, but nonetheless, I was).

I don’t think I’ve mentioned here that I was in wrestling, but I was for a season in ninth grade when I wrestled, or at least pretended to do so, on the junior varsity squad. I was what other wrestlers term a “fish” because I flopped around on the mat instead of actually wrestling and was the one kid on the squad who was always said to be “counting the lights,” because while getting pinned, I would be looking up at the ceiling.

Aside: Why are wrestlers often referred to as being on a squad, but basketball players are referred to as being on a team? A typical high school wrestler’s response probably would be something like “Because we’re tough like the military while basketball players are pussies.” I’m not saying that’s my response, I’m just saying. Of course, a typical high school basketball player’s response might be “At least, we don’t roll around on the floor in tights.” At which point, the wrestler would kick the basketball player’s scrawny little ass.

Mostly I remember listening to music on the buses to matches and meets. In cross country, the song that stands out in my mind is this one:

Extraneous comment on the video: Dee might be scarier now than he was 25 years ago when the song was first released, but he still can sing– or at least scream hoarsely– his ass off, and what’s up with the bass player on the right at the start of the video. I think I could slap that bass like that.

I remember all of us short-haired cross country runners headbanging in the back of the bus, shouting the lyrics at the top of our lungs like each of us was Dee Snider sans the long hair: “Whoa..whoa…”

As for the wrestlers, they were even more hardcore and would just go right for the throat with this song:

Extraneous comment on the video: What the hell were those girls screaming at like these guys were The Beatles? I mean, you’d be hard pressed to pick out one of AC/DC, past or present, who were “hot.” They were, and are, some ugly mofos. Bon Scott, may your ugly soul be resting in peace—uh, sorry, to say, but probably in hell after all those songs you sang about it. Again, I’m just saying.

Concrete shoes
Done dirt cheap
Ooo, neckties
High voltage
Done dirt cheap, eah

Nothing else can get a high school sports team pumped up to go out and kill its opponent like this song.

The other song I connect with which I connect those bus rides with the varsity wrestling squad was this one:

I guess the varsity wrestlers were hoping to get some after getting back to the school and driving their girlfriends home in their own cars. Me? I was just hoping I’d be able to cry myself to sleep as my mommy and daddy took me home. Waaaaah.

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