For many years Bone Daddy has had the opinion that freestyle wrestling ranks right up there with bull riding as some of the toughest athletes in the world….cuz I have heard the story soooooo many times about the two athlete that were in his US Army Company at Reserve Officer Training Center in Fr. Sill, Oklahoma…..which was near to home in West Texas. As the story goes, BD was in an environment where the US Army’s intent purpose in their approach to training young recruits…..was first and foremost…..to build esprit du corps simply put……feelings of loyalty, enthusiasm, and devotion to a group among people who are members of the group….but when you have two “top shelf” athletes who have the same passion to compete at the highest level….with one who was deep spirited….almost Zen about his discipline and sport of freestyle wrestling as a 2 x national collegiate champion…..while the other was a brash bully “do it my way cuz I’m the badest cat on the block” sorta guy….who was soon to be the 31st player picked in the upcoming 1969 NFL Draft as a linebacker and go on to have an 11 year career….who had an “I’m the leader here” attitude….and to say that these two guys didn’t quite have any of that “esprit du corps” towards each other that the US Army purposely wanted to build in each and every member of 1969 ROTC Basic Training Company B….and you put these two guys in a company of 144 men….living in tents for 6 weeks under the blazing sun in that part of Oklahoma…..while rounds of artillery shells would whistle as they passed over your tent and exploded not too very far away….close enough for the ground to shake. How hot you asked!?!….to put it in Chiweenie dog perspective, here is what the dogs out in West Texas teach their boy youngsters from the age that their “huevos” drop…you do not sit on the concrete that has been in full view of the sun….simply put, you just don’t put your “huevos” on the concrete until the sun goes down….talk about fried eggs!!!
Anyway, after many fun training exercises that the US Army had cooked up for the cadets in training under the hot sun on this memorable day to Bone Daddy….for it was during the hottest part of the day, about 5 pm…and the NFL linebacker got in the face of the wrestler’s best friend that he had made since arriving at Sill….and that is when Bone Daddy realized that the wrestler didn’t like the linebacker one little bit….you just never knew it from the deep thinker until this particular day. The thinker was smart enough to get the linebacker to shift his attention to the wrestler and off of his friend by saying just the right words….so, here comes the bully…..and the thinker engaged.
By the time the engagement was over…..the welterweight national wrestling champion had taken the NFL linebacker to the ground….on his belly with his neck in a leveraged hold using arms and legs to apply pressure…and that is when the quiet thinker said to the “big guy”….”I could end your pro career right now…..if you ever bother me or any person within shouting distance of me….I will seriously think about it the next time we meet.”
That is the day that wrestling moved up to the upper level of athletes that are tough guys in Bone Daddy’s book…..and after I have seen hundreds of amateur wrestling matches on TV and in the video library….I can tell you this….those are guys you really don’t want to mess with…..for they have developed the abilities to end people’s careers….as USA Dave Schultz does in this 1984 Los Angeles Olympics men’s 74 kg (163 lbs) freestyle wrestling gold medal match with West Germany’s Martin Knosp.