Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Pct's Family Guy

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Pct's Family Guy

Article excerpt

WAYNE -- Look into Pelal Deeb's eyes and you'll see the fire. It's hidden behind his calm voice and stoic demeanor. Look past that laid-back persona and it's there, ingrained deep within him, driven by a force larger than himself.

His family.

That's what motivates Deeb. Not personal fame or statewide recognition, but a family that's never seen an athlete like him before and may never see one like him again. The Passaic Tech senior wants to give them a month of memories to last a lifetime. And when you ask him about that goal, his eyes light up and his soft voice pitches a notch higher.

"I'm the first person in my family who has had as much success as I've had in a sport, so I'm not only doing it for me, I'm doing it for my family, too," Deeb said. "There are a lot of people who have high hopes for me: my mom, my dad, my coaches, my aunts and uncles, my cousins. I want to make them proud. I want to give all of them something to talk about."

That starts this weekend.

Deeb will shoot for his third straight Passaic County tournament title Saturday at West Milford. But while a county title is part of Deeb's vision for the ride on which he wants to take his family, it's just a jumping-off point for what he hopes is a more magical journey.

Over the next month, Deeb will try to earn career win No. 100 -- he's currently 88-9 -- and defend the district and region titles he's won the last two years before turning his attention to the state tournament. He placed seventh last year - becoming the second wrestler from Passaic Tech to medal after Bryant Lighty placed seventh last year at 130. Deeb wasn't satisfied after losing, 6-5, to eventual state champ James Green of Willingboro in the quarterfinals.

"This is my time to redeem myself," Deeb said. "This is where the season starts to count. It's my last year. This is my last chance to prove what I've got and make my mark. So this means everything."

Athletes too often say that without truly grasping what it means. But Deeb seems to get it.

He's not sure if he'll enroll in college and he may not wrestle competitively again after this season. With that uncertainty in mind, Deeb is looking at this season as his last chance to establish a legacy, and he's off to a good start. …

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