Are you a wrestling fan in New Jersey? If so, you’ve probably noticed that the state championship will be hosted at its typical venue -- Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall -- at a rather atypical date, March 8-10. The three-day stretch comes a week after the tournament has always traditionally been held. The date change caught many off guard, and seems odd given that there were no new school schedules that forced the event into a date change, nor is there an event booked for Boardwalk High between March 1 and 3.
Yet there was an event scheduled for that weekend until recently, and it had preempted the traditional high school meet, despite the fact that the wrestling tournament has a long history of being hosted from March 1-3. Clearly, that event is the culprit behind the shift in schedule for the state title game.
That event was a Lady Gaga concert. Yes, Lady Gaga is to blame for a week-long shift in timing for New Jersey’s wrestling tournament.
As reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association was offered the chance to move its tournament back to its original requested dates by Boardwalk Hall officials on January 11. Yet NJSIAA officials declined the opportunity to shift back because Gaga’s cancellation came after they had already committed to all the logistics of putting on the event from March 8-10.
"It would have been too much of a disruption," NJSIAA executive director Steve Timko told the Inquirer.
While the date shift might not seem like a major issue for most people, it could be a big deal for the wrestlers themselves. More than in perhaps any other sport, wrestlers are prone to cut massive amounts of weight to hit the size limits for their scheduled competitive bouts.
That means that in 2013, a number of teen wrestlers will have to adhere to strict diets for another full week, which could be either difficult or even dangerous in some cases. It certainly isn’t healthy.
Naturally, Lady Gaga can’t really be blamed for this. It isn’t her fault that the Boardwalk Hall officials prioritized her concert above a high school wrestling meet. After all, Gaga’s show certainly would have been more lucrative. Still, the disruption has consequences for some devoted athletic teens, even if many of them may be Gaga fans themselves.