Schreiber Slam pits man against Matina


Mr.Mr. George Muhlbauer stares down the Mountain of Muscle after a surprise entrance through the dark.

G  rown men jumping and hitting  each other in ridiculous outfits in a choreographed display of physical strength.  It’s kind of like watching television, but you have to be subordinate to the guy you just saw jumping off of the ropes of a wrestling ring in a leotard the next day in school.

The event opened with a presentation of promotional YouTube videos that have been made over the course of the school year by Schreiber senior Danielle Snyder and social studies teacher Mr. Doug Matina.

After the crowd was briefed on the history of the coming events, the evening started to escalate as teachers and school administration engaged in a heated bout of trash talk foreshadowing various beat downs.

Assistant Principals Dr. Brad Fitzgerald and Mr. David Miller engaged in less-than-friendly banter with social studies teacher and Schreiber Slam host Mr. Jeremy Klaff.  This was a lively if difficult to hear introduction to an appearance by Principal Mr. Ira Pernick.  He made a scene out of bringing the singer of the national anthem to the regulation wrestling ring in the middle of the gym.  After several minutes of calling out for the conveniently absent Mr. Craig Medico, Ms. Joy Grasso-Krebs took center “stage” and gave a crowd-exciting performance of the Star Spangled Banner.

The real festivities were now ready to begin.  First off was a dramatic eating contest between Schreiber teachers Mr. George Muhlbauer, Mr. Tom Barbara, and Mr. Peter Travis, which pitted them against each other in a timed race to eat eight White Castle sliders.

While some would consider this amount chump change, most of the crowd thought that Mr. Muhlbauer’s victory and his dress throughout the course of the night (he cycled through a variety of hats and duster jackets) were impressive.

Mr. Muhlbauer hopefully digested quickly because immediately after his championship eating  performance he was thrown into a short brawl with fellow teacher Mr. Petro Macrigiane.  This resulted in him being thrown into a table that broke in half with suspicious ease.  It was unsuccessfully auctioned to the crowd for fifty dollars.

The scale of the action shifted to be much smaller as a series of arm wrestling matches between Mr. Andrew Vinella and a varied group of contestants including Schreiber junior and renowned term-coiner (he came up with “Vin Daddy”) Neil Devas, Mr. Travis, and Dr. David O’Connor.

Mr. Vinella gave a solid performance and destroyed the first two contenders, but met his match as Dr. O’Connor made an extremely dramatic entrance and physically exerted his unsleeved biceps to the maximum.

This spectacle of upper body strength was followed by a similar one between chemistry teacher Mr. Scott Carmody and well-dressed math whiz Mr. Mark Reynolds.  The two, who had been building a rivalry over a game of chess, sparred each other (actually, Mr. Carmody summoned the help of the renowned “wolf man,” Mr. Scott Hoseman) in a match of jousting.  The two were dressed in ridiculous garb and ended their match of big stick fights in a state of indecision, with Mr. Carmody (disguised as the ascetic, markedly un-ponytailed “Carmio”) using some sort of thermodynamic necromancy to stir Mr. Hoseman into a feverish chase after Reynolds.

They cleared the stage and were replaced by a trivia match between teachers Mr. Thom Johnson, Ms. Alicia Cotter, and Mr. Vinella and quiz bowl team members seniors Joseph Finkelstein and Noah White, sophomore and urban legend Andrew “The Annihilator” Gruber, and freshman Dylan Langone.  Dedicated quiz bowl member Simon Shapiro was also brought into the gym as a sort of  comic relief.

Eventually the teacher team met with success as Mr. Johnson delivered a correct response to a question about the Caucasus Mountains.

“He really came through in the clutch for mad points,” said senior Zach Herron.  “Like, almost as many points as I get on his tests.”

The losing team was lined up and pies were thrown in their faces.  Teachers got the satisfaction of humiliating publicly some of their most rebellious students (namely, Andrew Gruber, an internationally esteemed troublemaker).

The evening ended as the lights dimmed and Mr. Medico, Mr. Douglas Matina, Mr. Macrigiane, and the elusive Mr. Amazing entered the ring for a tag team match that lasted nearly thirty minutes in length.  After a series of high flying moves and possibly real punches, the match concluded with Mr. Matina as its victor.

To hype up the event, several methods were used by those involved in this year’s event. Probably the most prevalent of these was the series of YouTube videos. These were advertised on the new flat screen television in the main lobby.

The purpose of these videos was to lay the foundation for what would occur during the event. Characters were introduced during these videos, along with heated rivalries between teachers, such as those between Mr. Campanella and Mr. Muhlbauer, and Mr. Carmody and Mr. Reynolds.

These videos seemed to have mixed reviews.

“I think that they did a great job of promoting the Schreiber Slam with the videos. They definitely helped motivate me to come to the event. I was almost brought to tears upon viewing the Carmio video,” said sophomore Ben Hayt.

Others were not very fond of the videos.

“I know that I shouldn’t expect much since they aren’t actors but the acting was just horrible. I guess that some could say they were funny, but I found them really cheesy,” said sophomore Daniel Lee. “Some videos went too far, like the one with that bald guy in the Jesus clothes.”

Another way of building up the event was the use of fun “hashtags.”  In the very first video foreshadowing the second annual Schreiber Slam, Mr. Pernick proclaimed happily that he had hot jambalaya for lunch; #hotjambalaya became one of the many viral hashtags that characterized the Schreiber Slam II youtube video series.

While many of the other hashtag phrases such as #lamesuperhero and #fistfullofcupcakes reflected the personas created by the wrestling teachers, #hotjambalaya was intended to be a spiritual successor to the #nopipes craze that swept through the school during last year’s Schreiber Slam. While #nopipes was an observation that the toilet in Mr. Perinick’s office indeed had no plumbing, #hotjambalaya was more of an embodiment of Mr. Pernick’s character as the general manager of the Schreiber Wrestling league.

“Jambalaya is a food. It’s in the soup sort of family. It’s served hot but its also spicy, say, just like me. I’m a real spicy guy,” said Mr. Pernick

In addition to these ways of building up hype, Mr. Amazing (whoever he is) took selfies one day in the lobby, teachers such as Mr. Muhlbauer and Mr. Campanella had Twitter battles, a Facebook page was set up, and morning announcements were given daily about the event.

“All the hype was successful in getting many students, past and present, as well as staff members to attend the event,” said Snyder.

In preparation for the event, the wrestlers took lessons during the summer and winter at a professional wrestling organization located on Long Island.

“After Schreiber Slam I’s excitement and success, we were committed to putting on the best show we physically could. The lessons were expensive, physically brutal, and also lots of fun,” said Mr. Matina.

A major difference in this year’s Schreiber Slam was the absence of the 24-hour Radiothon event hosted by the WDOT radio club.  Instead of hosting Radiothon in tandem with Schreiber Slam II, the WDOT provided color commentary for the many events of the night. Additionally, the newly formed TV club provided live coverage.

Despite its extravagant nature, the funding for Schreiber Slam II was completely independent of the school’s general budget.  After several clubs including Student Council helped foot the initial costs for the ring and other miscellaneous aspects, Schreiber Slam was entirely self funded by ticket sales.

Additionally, participants purchased their own costumes and props.  Even after reimbursing the clubs for the entire cost of Schreiber Slam, the event was still able to raise over $2,000 for the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center.

While the majority of Schreiber Slam II was planned by Mr. Matina, Mr. Klaff, and the rest of the tag team match participants, assistance in general organization, ticket sales, and music cues were provided by seniors Snyder, Annie Kim, and Emily Youner.

Schreiber Slam II faced a relatively easy path for administrative approval.  Without the need for school board funding, safety of the participants was the only administrative concern.  However, Mr. Matina’s extensive training in a variety of martial arts disciplines as well as the success of last year’s Schreiber Slam I made gaining final approval for the event relatively uneventful.

Observant watchers of the Schreiber Slam II YouTube series may have noticed a change in date during the series from March 20 to March 27.  After originally scheduling the event for March 20, planners had to scramble for a new date as it was found out that the annual Red Stocking Revue was scheduled for the same day.

Although the revue would be held in the auditorium, the tight parking that would result from two large events forced Schreiber Slam II to move a week later.

In the end, Schreiber Slam II worked out adequately with the date change.

“It’s a rare night for us to have,” said Mr. Pernick. “I don’t think there is any other event that will approach this number of students.  There is something really special about giving students what they want in terms of their own entertainment, and it really is safe and wholesome fun.”