This weekend holds something I look forward to every year, covering the state wrestling tournament.
I've volunteered for this task in recent years for several reasons, and this year is no exception.
The wife and I get somewhat of a mini-vacation. Kids go to the grandparents, we stay in a hotel with a pool and free breakfast, and she usually heads off to the mall.
Which reminds me to conveniently "lose" the debit card this year.
I also can't describe how awesome it is to have a statistician sitting in the stands keeping track of who wins and the score of each match.
And she's a trooper. I'll probably get in trouble for saying this, but a few years ago, she decided to wear four-inch heels to the arena the first day.
For anyone who's never been, day one of the three-day tournament is by far the most chaotic. There are hundreds of wrestlers from just as many schools, along with families, friends and fans. The place is a madhouse.
Anyways, a heel broke off of one of her shoes, but she limped her way around all day. We are only recently able to laugh about that story (though I have been the whole time - shhhh).
Another mishap included the hotel I booked last year. Being ever-thrifty, I thought I had found a good deal. The pictures looked nice, but when we got there it seemed we had booked a room in a house of ill-repute.
I have to leave that story there, but a word of advice, don't ever, EVER, go with discount lodging. You're welcome.
This falls under the "don't take wooden nickels" category, only involving a place you wouldn't want to sit down instead of worthless currency.
So it's a win-win situation. The paper gets the scoop on state happenings, grandparents and kids enjoy time together, and we get a glimpse of freedom.
I don't want to sound like I don't enjoy my children, because that's very far from the truth.
It's three days of guaranteed no fighting over toys. Three days without hearing a kid whining for a pop-tart, or "top-part," as the girl calls the toaster pastries (she also calls toothpaste "poo taste" - working on language skills, I promise, but that one cracks me up every day).
Three full days without diapers, wipes, broken crayons and coloring books. And any parent knows, the stress-to-patience levels correlate, a bonus for the kids when we get home.
For these reasons, we like to call it a mini-vacation.
That is if you take out the 10-hour days of running up and down the stairs of Mizzou Arena, countless hours pouring over brackets, and keeping track of which wrestler is on which mat at what time.
Page 2 of 2 - Oh, and the fact that the press room only has warm soda on tap (ah, poor me). We need more funding for education so the state activity's governing body can spring for some sandwiches, maybe even bags of chips. I hope the sarcasm is obvious on the last comment.
Not sure if anyone has ever thought of work as a vacation before.
Sometimes I feel that way, but as I sit here at 9:30 p.m. finishing this column, it seems fair to a certain extent.
See you on the flip-side friends.
I’ll be back next week, re-charged. Hopefully I won’t have any broken shoe or shady motel stories to share.
Jesse Murphy is managing editor at the Maryville Daily Forum. He can be reached at