* NOTE: This story isn’t an attempt to belittle or make fun of anyone who struggles in wrestling. It’s simply a story with situations, events and moments that were so absurd and ridiculous, that it was undeniably hilarious for 99% of the people who were around it. We had an exchange student living with us at the time and every time I talk to him to this day, he brings it up and laughs about it almost to the point of crying… so even a guy who was just getting used to American/Iowan wrestling culture was able to pick up on the utter ridiculousness of it all.
Let’s face it, wrestling isn’t for everyone. Sure, wrestling makes everything else in life easier, it is a way of life that promotes hard work in every ray of the spectrum and it makes people tougher. But not everyone can handle it. Or not everyone wants to. Not everyone even really cares to. I’ve seen guys come and go through wrestling where the sport ended up being such a bad fit that you can’t stop thinking about how on earth they convinced themselves that going out for wrestling would be fun for them in the first place. Do some guys come in thinking it’s easy? And when they find out that wrestling tests your will and toughness to a point where you have moments where you feel like you are suffering, how scared does it make them? You have to be tough to wrestle and especially last in the sport and if you are a sworn in perma-weenie for life coming in, you better fake an injury quick because it’s probably not going to work out for you.
Not all wrestling stories are tales of achievement, glory, success and perseverance. There are plenty of tales of wrestling-induced agony and embarrassment that fans generally never hear about because no one ever writes about them. Some of my funniest memories in life were somehow attached to wrestling.
With all that said, this is a story about the worst wrestler I have ever met in my entire life. And this wasn’t a guy who just “didn’t have it.” I’ve met several people in that category and I believe wrestling helped them in other areas of life. No, this guy really had no business being on a wrestling mat. In fact, he didn’t even have desire to be on one. He didn’t want to be there. He probably ended up there on accident. He probably got on the wrong bus… he probably intended to get on the bus that was taking a bunch of guys to a field trip to Comic-Con and was terrified when he found himself in a room filled with a drought and a bunch of bloody barbarians beating the shit out of each other in an attempt to improve their skills of… well beating the shit out of each other. Not what he had in mind.
Now, just because wrestling was obviously not for this guy, that doesn’t mean he had nothing going for him. The guy knew more about Dungeons and Dragons than I knew was even possible. And if I am to be honest with you, this guy has real estate in my heart because to this day, I can’t think about him without wanting to laugh because his wrestling career was one of the most ridiculous, absurd displays of anything I have ever seen in my entire life. So this is a good memory for me! Makes me smile! Not only was this guy the worst wrestler I have ever seen in my entire life, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone who was worse at ANYTHING than this guy was at wrestling. And he, most certainly, does not give a crap about that. Being considered the worst wrestler someone has ever seen wouldn’t phase him at all. Just as long as I don’t question his Star Wars knowledge, we are good.
I am not going to use his real name, but to give you a visual, he kind of resembled something that is half sloth- half Sasquatch. He had the mannerisms and motivation of a sloth, but the size and and intimidating physical demeanor of a pissed off Sasquatch. With that said, let’s just pretend this guy’s name is “Slothsquatch.”
So I was a Sophomore in high school and Junior High wrestling had just begun. I usually started going to practice when Junior High began. A lot of guys did. Trying to get into shape and what-not. So at the first Junior High practice of the year, we all just kind of waited around until 4 o’clock, waiting for the Danville guys to arrive before starting practice, like we did every day. Ya see, back then, we shared wrestling with a school called Danville, known for their basketball accolades. A lot of people don’t realize that because Danville was never in the Mediapolis wrestling team name. Like with Emmetsburg, it used to be “Emmetsburg-Armstrong-Ringstead.” With Denver, it used to be “Denver-Tripoli.” Mediapolis was always just called Mediapolis, but technically, it could have been called “Mediapolis-Danville.” Because that’s what it was. We had a lot of good Danville wrestlers come through over the years. Slothsquatch was the worst.
It was always interesting when Danville arrived that first day of practice because you’d meet a lot of people for the first time that day that would inevitably become a huge part of your life throughout the duration of your wrestling journeys. The Mediapolis and Danville guys on the team always got along great and were usually really good friends.
The Danville guys started walking into the room one by one and we all stared at our future wrestling brothers, many that we were seeing for the first time ever. That year, one of those new Danville faces was an 8th grader. A big guy, standing at what appeared to be at least 6’6, maybe taller and weighed a good 290. That kid was so big, he looked like he may have to cut some weight to get low enough to where he could actually be allowed to wrestle. And he looked mean. He had somewhat of a protruding forehead that made his eyebrows curl up and form something that can only be described as a “perma-scowl.” He had a “resting pissed off sasquatch face.” When you looked at him or made eye contact with him, you expected him to growl deeply at you. When I saw him, I remember looking at one of my friends and saying, “well, I think we have our heavyweight.”
So Coach Cummings and Coach Vantiger entered the room and a couple of them did a double-take when they saw Slothsquatch and his incredible size, before they began barking at us to “get up and start running.” I am not exaggerating when I say that this guy ran a half-lap before he started limping. He limped over to Coach Cummings and everyone gasped and all collectively thought, “oh no! Did our new bad ass heavyweight tear his ACL already?!?!” Ha…no. He LIMPS over the Cummings and said, “I hurt my finger when I was running.” Apparently his finger pain shoots down to his legs. Cummings looked at him like he farted and was like, “WHAT?!?! Get going!!” That was the first sign that this guy was a wienie. A wienie of epic proportions.
So we played Dodgeball for finish-ups that day and Slothsquatch hugged the wall the entire time. He was getting all pissed off at people for throwing balls at him…while we were playing dodgeball…in wrestling practice… He didn’t try to participate in the game at all. Just cuddled with the wall with a pouty-scowly face. Never tried to throw a ball at anyone. He didn’t try to duck away from balls that were being thrown at him either. It was a free shot for anyone who wanted to just peg the hell out of someone with a dodgeball, which I admit, plunking people like this was always a guilty pleasure of mine in P.E. class. I asked my Danville buddy, “so I take it this guy isn’t our future at HWT?” My buddy replied, “Oh no. He is the biggest wienie in the world. We’ve just gotten so used to him that we don’t even notice it anymore.” About 2 seconds later, his shoestring got hit by a dodgeball and somehow, that hurt his back, so he limped to the side of the room to be with the other guys who were already out. He was holding his back and grimacing in pain. He made sure to inform the coaches of this injury, in which they just stared back at him in utter disbelief. I don’t think they had ever encountered a guy like this either.
So after a couple weeks of practice, competition began. Our first meet was against West Burlington in their gym which was packed pretty full with fans. Of course, when our team entered the building, everyone stared at this Slothsquatch that was following us around…for the guy was huge. He stuck out. You could see peoples’ jaws dropping while whispering to each other, “uh-oh, I wonder who has to wrestle that huge badass” as they gawked at him as if he were Godzilla. Well, the first “victim” was a guy named Brett Royer. Brett Royer was the closest one to Slothsquatch’s weight… He was probably 100 lbs. lighter than him. When he took the mat with Slothsquatch, the scene seriously had the vibe of what you’d imagine “David vs. Goliath” to be. Everyone in the room was on the edge of their seats. All the West Burlington fans seemed nervous… as if when Brett stepped on the mat, he was stepping into the gallows, awaiting his own execution at the hands of an angry Slothsquatch. Slothsquatch stared Brett down with his ever-present perma-scowl in the same manner that Darth Maul scowled at Obi-Wan Kenobi. Or maybe Slothsquatch was just pissed because he thought the mat was too hard. Maybe he was hungry…and was ticked off because he had to wrestle before eating…?
Brett “The Destroyer” Royer and Slothsquatch shook hands and the match begun. They circled a bit and Royer gradually moved in towards Slothsquatch and tied up with him and when he did, Slothsquatch fell to the mat… right to his back. No move was executed. Royer just simply tied up with Slothsquatch and that was enough to make him fall to his back. The crowd erupted at the sight of this unimaginable upset. All of them immediately jumped to their feet and began cheering loudly. Royer quickly jumped on top of Slothsquatch and the ref called the pin. He pinned him in about 15 seconds. The crowd was so excited with their guy beating that damn Slothsquatch that Brett was given a standing ovation. Slothsquatch picked himself up, let out a squeaky squeal to the referee and spit out the words, “he grabbed my wrist! He grabbed my wrist!” The official looked at him as if he were trying to figure out if he was joking. It was absurd. You couldn’t help laughing at it. These people didn’t know how much of a wimp they were making such a fuss about.
This same thing happened at every Junior High meet. Every meet, a timid 200 pound kid would nervously step on the mat and greet the ever-so-intimidating Slothsquatch in the center. Slothsquatch always found some sort of way to fall to his back in the first 15 seconds and every single time, the crowd would go into a frenzy…because their guy slayed the Slothsquatch!!! And Slothsquatch didn’t seem to care one way or another, unless he hurt his pinky or something.
Slothsquatch was so bad, that his opponent could SPRAWL off the whistle and Slothsquatch would fall over and end up on his back. And with the way the crowd always reacted to him getting pummeled every match, Slothsquatch had to be under the impression that people didn’t like him, right? It had to hurt his feelings…right? Well, one night, after Slothsquatch had taken another ass-beating (these were starting to feel like comedy routines) and he was sitting by himself in the bleachers, I heard him whimpering. Tears streaming down his face and his bottom lip curled up and quivering. “Awww that’s so sad…he is upset with how much the opposing teams despise him,” I thought to myself. At that moment I decided to do something that I had never done to that point and haven’t done much since. I was going to try to be… A LEADER! I sat down next to him, patted his back and said, “don’t worry about it Slothsquatch. They don’t cheer that loud because they hate you or anything… they are only happy for their own guy. It’s nothing against you.” He looked at me with a confused expression on his face and asked, “huh?” He had no idea what I was talking about. So I asked, “oh…ummm…. So what are you upset about?” Slothsquatch composed himself long enough to mutter, “my mom grounded me from playing Magic: The Gathering because I ate all the Cheese Whiz last night. So now when I go home, I can’t play Magic: The Gathering OR eat any Cheese Whiz!!!” And then his whimper made the transition to full-fledged sobbing. He was totally oblivious that he was losing every match he wrestled and that the opposing crowds were so delighted to see him defeated every time… as if he were Earthquake from the WWF. Either that or he just seriously didn’t care…at all. So I said to him what any good “leader” would say. I said, “well Slothsquatch…just try to pursue other options tonight. Maybe you could eat some ice cream or chips? And maybe you can do a Stat Wars re-enactment or something tonight instead of Magic: The Gathering? You’d make a helluva Jabba the Hutt, don’t ya think? He began to calm down a bit as he was able to spit out, “yeah, I guess.” Such amazing confidence I instilled upon this guy with my leadership “skills.”
So in the multiple decades that I have been involved in wrestling, that is the guy who wins the gold medal for being the worst wrestler I have ever even heard of. He was the best at being the worst. I wonder why he even decided to go out, for it was obvious that this guy had absolutely no intention of learning anything from it. I’m guessing his parents made him go out in an attempt to keep him active. Who knows? The only certainty in this entire ordeal is that wrestling was not for this guy. They say wrestling makes everything else in life seem easier. Well, for this guy’s sake, maybe his short career in wrestling made it easier for him to not lose rights to his Cheese Whiz! Maybe wrestling helped Slothsquatch become the best Dungeons and Dragons dungeon master he could possibly be!!!
I hope he is doing well. I loved having him around. An unintentionally funny guy.