In my time with this paper, Park Hill athletes have shown a unique penchant for seizing an opportunity.
Add to the list Ashton Sharp, a sophomore-to-be and standout wrestler for the Trojans. I did my research for a story this week recapping the All-American honors for locals in the USA Wrestling nationals held last month in Fargo, N.D. You can read more on the accomplishments starting on page one of this week’s issue.
But the real story must have been right in front of my face, only for me to miss out on it until the last minute.
You see, Sharp came away with a pair of national titles, winning the junior division 195-pound bracket in both freestyle and Greco Roman. This earned him an opportunity for a spotlight interview on the mat with FloWrestling, the website with exclusive broadcast rights for the event.
The ensuing 55 seconds gave Sharp a viral moment he’s unlikely to surpass.
“Ashton, it’s been quite a week for you. Take us through it,” the announcer prods.
At this point, Sharp simply takes the microphone. So far, off to a good start. The interview portion is over.
Sharp proceeds to tell about how he crashed his car, how he dealt with chicken pox, how his practice partner stole his sweatshirts (presumably teammate and fellow freestyle national champion Devin Winston), his mom’s wake up call at 6 a.m. — way before the bus’ scheduled morning departure. He went through the script so well that assuredly this had to be at least partially rehearsed with the chance that he would win.
The candid literalisms were funny enough.
But Sharp didn’t stop there. Oh no. He saved back the headliner for the finish, and what a finish it was.
“Shoutout to the Burger King girl,” he started in what sounds like a slight southern drawl. Sharp then proceeded to tell how she suggested bacon on the fast food joint’s chicken Parmesan sandwich.
Sharp believed the bacon upgrade did in fact improve the sandwich.
Somehow, I didn’t see this interview until nearly a week after it happened.
In the meantime, the Facebook video at FloWrestling had been viewed nearly 100,000 times. FloWrestling’s tweet has been retweeted thousands of times.
Big names in wrestling have shown their appreciation for the interview. One guy even tweeted a picture of bacon on his chicken Parmesan sandwich at Burger King, saying Sharp’s words inspired him to give it a try.
I suggest you search it out. It won’t disappoint.
Typically, I avoid interviews with younger athletes and defer to those with a little more experience speaking to the media. I didn’t talk to Sharp once this year, often seeking out the upperclassmen during Park Hill’s standout season.
Apparently, I’ve made a big mistake.
Luckily, Sharp — already one of the best returning 195-pounders in the state — has three more years at Park Hill. Presumably, I have plenty more chances to try and earn a good, candid interview with him.
Have to say, I’ll definitely try, but replicating the magic of Sharp’s Fargo moment will be difficult. Sometimes, you can’t plan for greatness.
Ross Martin is publisher of The Citizen. He may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @Citizen_Ross.