No resurrections this time...
December 17th, 2023| Written by: Staff writer



I tried to retire two years ago but failed miserably in the effort.

Dear Readers,

In high school a friend suggested to me that “If something is worth doing, it is worth doing right.”  At the time we were only watering some hanging ferns, but the sentiment stuck with me.

For me, the Louisiana Wrestling News was worth doing over the last 11 years.  It was a way to give something back to Louisiana wrestling in a manner nobody had done before.  And it was a way that did not require me to wake up sore every day.

I cannot say that I necessarily did it “right.”  Nobody else was doing anything similar with which to compare it.  And being that the only adult supervision was my own, prior endeavors have shown that is "right" was not always the end result.

Yet you put up with me for over a decade despite my segues into various subjects having little to nothing to do with wrestling.  And I am still astounded by the support I received from you in 2020 when the LHSAA banned me from the floor of the state championships.

Once I thoroughly enjoyed editing the photographs and writing what I could remember or discover about certain wrestlers or matches.  In the early years identifying wrestlers via the color of their shoes or which leg had a kneepad was a challenge, but it was a rewarding one.  I would get home and immediately start sorting the photos until the wee hours of the morning.

Over time, though, priorities tend to sneak up on one.  Family, of course, always comes first, and that includes maintaining the house and my apartment triplex.  And apparently after a certain age work required expands proportionally to one’s inability to do it.  Hence, I have to take care of myself better, as well.

And then you go blind! 

OK, I am not all that blind, but my vision problems have led to intense revisions on how I live my life to do what is most important to me.  I try not to drive at night at all, as that is just an accident waiting to happen.  Driving during the day is very tolerable, and often necessary, but it is extremely tiring.  Add photographing a tournament in-between day and night driving – that is plain exhausting.

Such days, and sometimes just normal days when I have to spend a lot of time outdoors, lead to debilitating 24-36-hour migraines.  When those hit me I am of no use to anyone.

I do have standards I have tried to maintain on the website.  Starting not so much with the shortened 2020-21 season, but definitely in the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons, I realized I was no longer meeting those standards.  In essence, I am no longer able to do the Louisiana Wrestling News "right."

I can look back and know that I have been an extremely fortunate man over the last 12 years.  My readers, coaches and wrestlers have emphasized that more times than I can count.

I was astonished by my instant notoriety across the state after I covered the 2012 Bayou Duals.  I knew very little about the wrestlers who were competing and I had no idea where this little idea of mine would take me.  That people across the state really seemed to like what I was doing…well…that was thoroughly unexpected.

Back to Top

None of my wrestling website adventures would have been possible without the help of my mother, Ouida Rellstab.  In 2006 she fronted the initial money for the required server space for the LHSWA website and paid the monthly bills for domain names.  Many articles I deemed important or that maybe bordered on being libelous she proofed for me.  She never questioned my going out of town for events even before we bought the apartment which gave me an actual income.  She thought she was pretty done with the sport when I graduated from high school.  The LHSWA website was mainly just inputting data, and I did not bother her much with names when I coached for the last time at De la Salle.  She could not have expected, though, to have been bombarded by the information I shared with re the people I met and kids I saw wrestle.  She put up with it though, if only because it was just her and me in the house and I mowed the grass and took out the trash.

Of course, there are a few wrestling people, well, there are a lot of them, but I could not hope to name all of them without forgetting many, who made this little venture of mine work or made it as much fun as it once was.

I will start with Mrs. Elaine Guidroz.  I returned to the Ken Cole before I started the Louisiana Wrestling News.  After deftly finding a Wi-Fi password in the coaches office, I wanted to post results on the LHSWA.org website before TrackWrestling did.  Since then, it seemed as if a little spot had been reserved for me in that office.  Mrs. Elaine made me feel like I was home and that I was doing something important.  The people at the entrance were under strict orders not to allow me to pay an entrance fee.  A lot of ticket sellers tried to let me enter free, but usually a “The money goes to the wrestling team, doesn’t it?” changed their mind.  It was much harder to do that at the Ken Cole.  I succeeded a few times.  If I needed anything like a set of brackets, a mint or if I looked scared of the lady at the door to the coaches lounge, she took care of me.  And I love remembering Coach Byron Guidroz singing “I wanna be an airborne ranger” in his truck outside the gym where we would go to smoke cigarettes.

[Note to Louisiana Wrestling Hall of Fame, wherever you may be hiding: Mrs. Elaine Guidroz!]

I was scared of Jim Ravannack before I even met him.  My first match as a St. Martin’s freshman was against his East Jefferson team that won the Division I championship in 1978.  I did not understand what a sophomore friend of mine meant when he kept telling himself “I won’t let Seals pin me” or why a junior who was the most muscle-bound guy I had ever seen, kept muttering under his breath, “Friggin’ Ravannack, friggin’ Ravannack.”   Jim had no reason to remember me as my wrestling debut lasted about 30 seconds.  I think he learned of me when I started the Archives website in 2006.  When he learned of the Louisiana Wrestling News website, he became someone I could rely upon whenever a problem arose at a state tournament or just when I had questions about how certain things were decided re Louisiana wrestling.

When I did not fully comprehend rules or when I needed another source as knowledgeable as Ravannack, I went to Cliff Strider.  As a district attorney or when working for the Louisiana Attorney General, Cliff’s secretaries were instructed to immediately put through phone calls if the caller mentioned wrestling.  That is more dedication than I can muster.  Whether it was the perspectives of officials or questions I had about rules and many more things, Chris would respond almost immediately.  He officiated a couple of my matches in high school and 35 or so years later told me I was a "smart wrestler.The only matches of mine I might deem memorable are ones that I lost, so I think he might have just been playing to a St. Martin’s ego.  Regardless, it was nice to hear that from a man of his stature.

Back to Top

There are way too many coaches I could name who have helped me in this endearvor.  But that would make this an exceedingly long and tedious farewell article, and the readers must know how much I hate “extremely long and tedious.”  So, I will name one who has been a tremendous source of inspiration for me.

Patrick Mahoney of East Ascension once told me he and his team considered me a Spartan, a compliment I find hard to beat.  Pat has always given me free reign during his tournaments and people appeared more scared than the Ken Cole workers re Ms. Guidry’s orders when Pat Mahoney told them not to accept any entrance fees from me.  As I learned to know him better I learned he was a man that I, or really anyone, could depend on re help in any capacity that he could provide.  I do not bleed blue and gold, but I certainly know why many do.

I would be remiss not to thank those who brought my greatest idea to fruition, as in hiring someone to help me photograph the state championships.  Those wonderful kids (yes, none are 30 yet, but Camille, my daughter, will kill me if she reads this so strike that last part) are Emily Hamann (2016-19, 2023), Anna Tedesco (2017-19, 2022-23), Matthew Dwyer (2017), Anthony Benedetto (2018) and Jonathan Belaire (2019, 2022-23).  In 2019 I went home with over 25,000 photographs and published over 7,600 of them.  Then I was banned in 2020 because RomaPics was not terribly happy about the 7,600+ plus photographs I offered for free.  One beautifully written letter threatening a First Amendment-based lawsuit later in 2020 and I was back with two press credentials in 2021, the second of which I gave to Camille.  In 2022 Anna and Jonathan drove to Baton Rouge to help. 

[L-] Jonathan Belaire, Anthony Benedetto, Old Guy, Matt Dwyer, Camille Tyra, Older Guy

These kids were nothing but amazing.  They quickly learned the circumstances that might lead to a good photograph.   Thursday night dinners at Red Lobster (aside from 2023, which was a terrible experience) or, in Baton Rouge at the Cecelia Creole Bistro, were awesome.  I would have considered myself extremely fortunate to have met any of them under any other circumstances.  That I met them under the circumstances I did I consider an extremely fortunate event in my life. 

Camille helped me in 2021, but by that time she was a pro.  She had helped me photograph a Ken Cole and two Jazz Town Duals, and she easily learned what I liked to photograph just by the photos on my walls.

Back to Top

I could not totally disassociate myself from the sport if I tried, and I have no intention of doing that.  I can garner enough information off of websites and steal enough photos from Facebook posts to keep my hand in the game a little while longer.  I imagine not providing photographs will cut down on the website’s readership, but that was always a part of the “Master Plan.”

I just cannot guarantee anything at any particular time.

If I can manage getting to and from some events, I will do so and happily sit in the stands.  I have a camera and a zoom lens, it is because I have yet to buy binoculars.

I will continue to maintain the LHSWA website I started in 2006, although possibly with some adjustments.  There are simply a lot more events out there than were held in 2006.  A part of the “Master Plan” was to make information available in the event TrackWrestling disappears.  Scanning and publishing brackets is easy enough to do.  At some point, of course, I will also disappear.  So, I will be looking for a well-established school to perhaps put the Archives website on their server.

I wish all of the wrestlers and coaches the best of luck this season.  I beg that they remember that between the whistles wrestling is an “AFO” sport.  What one does after the final whistle, however, determines if one really understands the concept of sports in general.

I remain indebted to all of you. 

State championships in 2014, 2022 (x3) and 2023 (x2).  Something took a toll.  I will blame it on seeing too many matches between Landon Reaux and Tyson Roach.

With kindest regards and fondest memories,


Back to Top

©  2023-24 by Louisiana Wrestling News

You may not make electronic copies of these copyrighted materials nor redistribute them to 3rd parties in any form without written permission.