Spiderman, we know who you are

Allison Younge

Spiderman, the legendary crime fighter, has taken on a new role lately. In addition to his regular duties of saving mankind from danger and destruction, the world famous arachnid manages to find time to wrestle the 158-pound match for the Gophers.
Minnesota claims the popular web-swinging wonder through the styles of sophomore Josh Holiday. An avid Spiderman fan, Holiday took on the familiar nickname after years of Spiderman hysteria.
“Even since I was little, I loved Spiderman,” Holiday said. “I always thought if there really was a Spiderman, and he really had a job like that, I was going to be bitten by the radioactive spider and become a Spiderman, too.”
At the Gophers home matches, when the eerie Spiderman theme song signals the 158-pound battle, Holiday, like his Spiderman character counterpart Peter Parker, transforms into a real-life superhero, defender of the home-team’s honor.
“The image really fits him,” assistant coach Marty Morgan said. “He’s one of the most exciting wrestlers to watch because he’s like a spider. He’s everywhere — all legs and arms.”
After watching him wrestle, the similarities are almost uncanny. Holiday (22-8) bounces around the mat, like a spider eyeing its prey. He uses sharp, quick fakes to freeze up his opponent and create an offensive opening. Then he moves in for the kill.
“I don’t like the slow, brawling hard-nosed, wrestling style,” Holiday said. “I’d rather bounce around and slick em — make my opponent look stupid. I try to hit moves where they fall on their face without me even touching them.”
The Spiderman phenom has become recognized throughout the state, especially among young Gophers fans. After every home match, Spiderman groupies close in on Holiday seeking autographs and offering high fives.
“I love the image,” Holiday said. “It’s funny to watch the kids go crazy over it.”
The Spiderman image is Holiday’s trademark on the wrestling mat, but his background is filled with many different dimensions.
The youngest of seven children, (he has two sisters and four brothers) Holiday was introduced to wrestling at age 5.
“My brother Craig got into a fight in phy-ed class, and the wrestling coach grabbed him and told him to join the team,” Holiday said. “So when he joined, we all joined.”
A native of Anaheim, Calif., Holiday wrestled for five years on and off, constantly fighting urges to quit and spend more time at his favorite California hangout — the beach.
He developed his unique wrestling methods early at Calvary Chapel High School during flashy matches that drew huge crowds. Strobe lights, atmosphere smoke and a high-tech sound system highlighted these primetime events.
After numerous recruiting offers, Holiday chose Minnesota. He knew Coach J Robinson’s program would force him off of the surfboard and mold him into the wrestler he aspired to become.
“I’m the type of guy who doesn’t like to do all that stuff (rigorous, conditioning practices),” Holiday said. “I didn’t know what I was getting myself into here, but I know I made the best decision.”
Robinson agreed that Holiday possesses the laid-back, California mentality. But he’s adjusted to the Gophers’ program well and adds a confidence and sense of humor to the team.
“Josh’s greatest strength is that he understands wrestling,” Robinson said. “He’s wrestling with heightened intensity lately and is looking better every week.”
The motivation behind this Spiderman is the promise of a national title at 158 pounds. His trademark tattoo, countless comic books, even his videotaped Spiderman cartoons, pale in comparison to that coveted prize.