Generation Z kids are cool

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Rodney Harwood

Upon further review, Generation Z kids are cool.

If you were born in the early 2000s, chances are you were born with a Smartphone in one hand and a Netflix account. As someone born well before that time, you are always explaining things to them, like that Apple commercial where the neighbor asks the kid what she’s doing on his computer and she says, “What’s a computer?”

DOS (disk operating systems) dude, took up half of the desk, you could actually hear it warming up when you turned it on. I’m telling you, there were four Beatles, four. No Wings was not Paul McCartney’s first band. Who? No, not The Who, the Beatles, oh forget it. Kids today don’t know nothin’. The Who, The Stones, The Grateful Dead, now those were bands.

Yeah, I used to own an 8-track, so most of the time I do need the kids to explain their world to me. But I did have one of those nice conversations with a kid born long after vinyl that gave me a new perspective on Generation Z.

Moses Lake freshman Maximus Zamora comes from a long line of Z’s that have come through the Moses Lake wrestling room. The Zamora name is all over Moses Lake High School. Some are on the Wall of Fame, Pete and John are on the state champion board in the room. The other eight brothers/cousins are listed on state runner-up and third-place boards.

So talking wrestling with the next generation of Zamora coming through was time well spent. Maximus, that even sounds like a gladiator’s name.

He’s just a freshman, but his knowledge of the sport, the legend, the guys that have come before made talking with the kid a lot of fun. Ever been to JRob? Meaning the intensive, competition and technique camps, considered the best wrestling camps in the country. The boot camp for guys that dominate in the circle.

“Naw, but I’d love to. I’ve been focusing on my wrestling year round since I was nine,” said Maximus, who joined his cousins Carl and Eli to become the third Zamora to wrestle for a Tri-State Tournament championship as a freshman.

How about Virginia Beach? Again, he knew I meant the National High School Coaches Association National Wrestling Championships, considered by some the most prestigious high school event in all of sports.

“Maybe next year (for the sophomore division) after I get done with Fargo,” he said, meaning the Fargo (N.D.) Junior Cadet Nationals.

You learn how to wrestle from Charlie Zamora, the guy that taught your dad (Duane) and the rest of the clan?

“No, I learned from Ron Seibel at the Moses Lake wrestling club.”

One of the things Chiefs coach Jaime Garza pointed out with freshmen wrestlers is that up until this point, they have been competing against guys their own age. Once they get to the varsity level, they find themselves going against older, more experienced guys. Despite the fact, Maximus has grown five inches in the last year, he’s made the adjustment.

Chris Melo at Othello has helped that process along, getting the best of Zamora at the jamboree. Maximus beat Melo at the Tri-State Tournament and again in the Moses Lake-Othello dual. The friendship might end when you walk in the circle, but the respect and camaraderie continues when it’s all done.

“Chris is tough and he’s definitely hard to wrestle. I can’t wait to watch him wrestle at (the 2A) state tournament to see how he does.”

Generation Z in the Zamora family is working to take his game all the way to the top shelf at the 4A Mat Classic. He has to work his way through one of the toughest 106-pound classes in recent history, but he’s up for the task.

After talking to Maximus before the district tournament last week, I doubt his mother Gina ever said, “I think I felt the baby kick.” It was probably more like, “Feels like the baby is working on his single leg again.”

Rodney Harwood is a sports writer for the Columbia Basin Herald and can be reached at

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