By Don Seeley
|Methacton's Dan Damato|
FAIRVIEW VILLAGE — A.J. Maida is just like every other coach when it comes to keeping an eye on his area’s youth programs and an ear open for any talk about an up-and-coming wrestling wonder.
The veteran Methacton coach never really saw nor heard anything special about Dan Damato other than his first love was baseball. So he didn’t exactly roll out any special welcome mat when the freshman lightweight strolled into his practice room three years ago.
Sure enough, Damato’s contributions — at least in the win-loss column — were few and far between that first season as his 1-10 record obviously revealed. Improving to a modest 9-24 — including a quick exit from the Section Three Tournament the following season — surely didn’t convince Maida he had a very resourceful starter for another two years, either.
Especially after Damato went down with an injury to begin his junior year.
But Maida wouldn’t rid his wrestling room of Damato, or exchange or trade his now senior middleweight — and his .500 record — for anyone else.