The 99th Match is Awarded Apex Reviews' Highest Five Star Rating for its Compelling Narrative and Relevance to Wrestling Today's Challenges

Top Quote Apex Reviews awarded The 99th Match its highest five star rating while its author met with more than fourteen hundred students at Brentwood High School where the story takes place to discuss career topics and wrestling with real life. End Quote
  • Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC (1888PressRelease) April 19, 2010 - Celestine Publishing announced today that The 99th Match, now available through, had recently received Apex Reviews' Five Star rating, declaring it "a quick and easy - yet timeless read, The 99th Match is a highly invaluable motivational tool." Apex further summarized their findings in the following message to the publisher.

    "The 99th Match is a rich, rewarding, heart-warming tale sure to inspire readers of all ages. Coming in at just under 150 pages, author Vinny DiGirolamo's compelling narrative provides the reader with a practical, tangible example of the success that awaits us all on the other side of life's most difficult challenges. Based on true events, The 99th Match best serves as a testament to the virtues of perseverance and dedication, which is quite the timely lesson in this modern era of prolonged strain and difficulty. If we each embraced and embodied the core elements of young Michael's irrepressible character, life would be a much more tolerable journey to endure for us all."

    "I was extremely pleased with the Apex review, which is consistent with the feedback I've received from readers of all ages and circumstances," commented its author. "The 99th Match occurred at Brentwood High School on Long Island, N.Y. years ago, but the story has enduring value and has always had a special spirit about it. Some people really enjoy the metaphors comparing the sport of wrestling with the challenges of life, while others just enjoy a good wrestling match."

    "I believe wrestling is God's favorite sport," he continued. "Think about it. When we wrestle with life's real challenges in all of its varieties, we are either the wrestler, the coach, the referee, the cheerleader or the spectator. I believe it was meant to be that way. It's the only way we grow - wrestling with adversity. The 99th Match taught me that lesson early in my life and it has proven itself true over and over again."

    DiGirolamo was recently invited by Mark Ingram, Brentwood High School's Career Counselor and Employment Specialist to participate in their Career Day program for more than fourteen hundred sophomores. After a full day discussing career opportunities in Naval Aviation, engineering and publishing, he took part in a radio interview on Brentwood's WXBA 88.1-X FM student radio station with several of their brightest DJs, and then visited with the school's wrestling team and coaches.

    When he asked sophomores by a show of hands, "Who among you is facing challenges in your lives today?" most of them raised their hands high in the air. When he rephrased the question and asked, "Who knows someone else facing challenges in their lives?" they all raised their hands. "This tells me that we're all in the same boat and we need to help each other work our way through these challenging. I know that, because you are just like me," he told students that it was a major theme of his new book, The 99th Match.

    "It was a wonderful day visiting my alma mater, addressing the sophomores and talking about what things were like during my high school days at Brentwood High. Some things never change but some things do," he noted during the live radio interview. "The bleachers and lockers are more than forty years old like me, and the strength and enthusiasm of the youth hasn't changed either. They are still as eager as we were in our day to jump into life and figure out things for themselves."

    When asked what was different at Brentwood besides the music, cloths and hair styles, he replied, "The challenges our youth are facing today has changed. It has become more difficult for them in many cases. Considering the technological advances of the information age, students have new and different challenges that we didn't have to deal with. Also, drug abuse is more prevalent now then it was only ten years ago."

    On that note, he took the opportunity to counsel students, "Time has proven to me that doing drugs destroys lives and should be avoided at all costs." He continued, "This world is a highly competitive place and there are wonderful opportunities waiting for all of you. Why would anyone want to give up even one brain cell to drugs and alcohol as they make their way?" he asked. "It's not worth it. Don't do it."

    After the radio interview, DiGirolamo visited with Brentwood's wrestling team during their practice after school hours. He was greeted by the varsity coach, Ralph Napolitano and his coaching staff. Together, they have revitalized Brentwood's wrestling program in recent years and raised the bar for its wrestlers. DiGirolamo spoke with the team about The 99th Match and some of the more profound lessons he learned in that very same room. He encouraged the wrestlers to respect and listen to their coaches both on and off the mats. "Wrestlers intuitively know when their coaches care about them and are willing to make their own personal sacrifices for the success of the team. In my estimation, Coach Napolitano is that kind of a coach."

    During his visit with the team, one wrestler figured out what the name is of the secret move described in The 99th Match and volunteered to demonstrate it on another wrestler. When his teammates saw the move, several of them said they were thinking about using it in the upcoming County championship matches. "That was one of the highlights of my trip to Brentwood - coming back and seeing their indomitable spirit for the challenges ahead. Some things never do change."

    "In wrestling we are taught that if you control the wrestler's head, then you control the wrestler's body, or in other words, the body follows the head," he explained to both students and wrestlers alike. "What this means is that what you think in your head, is what you'll probably do. Therefore, think higher thoughts. The world is still full of incredible opportunities for the taking. So remember, the body follows the head."

    "Of course the trip to Brentwood was an incredible walk down memory lane for me and I was grateful for the invite. I'm also pleased with the reviews The 99th Match is receiving and momentum it is gaining. It has several messages I believe the world needs to read - in high schools, in homes, in libraries, and in places and programs where those facing difficult challenges are being helped or treated. There's something in there for everyone," DiGirolamo summarized.

    The 99th Match is a story about an unprecedented six-year streak of undefeated wrestling team matches, the legendary Brentwood High School in Long Island, New York, has more than enough reason to be proud of. One day, though, both the pride and reputation of the school is suddenly placed on the line when young Michael Stevens, an unlikely third string wrestler, is faced with the nearly impossible task of defeating Elmer Franklin - a formidable opponent with considerable more skill. What Michael lacks in skill, though, he more than makes up for in heart, drive, and determination, all of which he'll need to overcome what soon proves to be the greatest challenge of his young life...

    "I was blessed to be a part of Brentwood's wrestling program at a time when history was being made. We were coached by a devoted and highly capable staff that cared about each of us. The lessons we learned on the wrestling mats were the lessons of a lifetime and that is something that will never change - because to me, wrestling is one of God's favorite sports."

    The 99th Match is independently published by Celestine Publishing and may be purchased online at It is also available on EBay at The Lavender Rose Country Home Store. Celestine Publishing, LLC is home of the Principles with Promise concordance series and other principle-centered publications by the author.

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