On December 11th, 1965 Colgate had a wrestling match against Columbia University in New York City. A very minor early season match featuring two small time programs witnessed by a hand full of fans.
The contest came down to the final match, with maybe, 5 to 10 spectators on hand. Most likely they consisted of a few family members and maybe a girlfriend or two rooting for Columbia.
There were no fans who braved the four-hour bus trip, just us wrestlers and coaches and managers. Bob Raiber, who grew up near me on Long Island, remembers that his father and his sister were in the stands.
I know, you can’t stand the suspense and I’m not going to torture you any longer. The Colgate Red Raiders defeated the Columbia Lions 18 to 14.
As minor an event this was, Bob Raiber recently found a write up via the New York Times online archives.
Even though the article says I won my match, I don’t remember anything that happened on the mat. What I do remember is that I wrestled in the 167-pound class for the only time in my high school and college career—I played football at 185-pounds—and I went through a tortuous routine to make weight.
What is most vivid in my mind is the image of Sandy Mintz and I standing by an open window in our cheap uptown hotel room spitting out the window, and laughing because we were so de-hydrated, our spit was just foam with no saliva and it just floated toward the ground.
Because of an injury to one of our wrestlers, Sandy had to move down from 167-pounds to compete at 160 and I pulled from 177 to 167. On the bus trip back to tiny Hamilton, New York, we kept making the bus driver stop so we could buy potato chips and whole quarts of ice cream with spoons so we could eat right out of the carton. I’m pretty sure I weighed 175 by the time we got back to our campus
And, as usual, Sandy Mintz, Bob Raiber, and I sang show tunes on the bus. You can imagine the reaction of our teammates who were trying to sleep and, let me put this nicely, considered it less than masculine behavior for college wrestlers to singing harmonies from West Side Story and South Pacific.
Sandy and Bob and I are still close friends and we get together for New Year’s Eve most years, even though Bob is a dentist in New York City and Sandy was until recently a clinical psychologist in Miami.
This year, each guest was asked to tell a story and I took the opportunity to torture Sandy with the story of Lou Gotz, who covered wrestling for the Colgate Maroon. Lou was particularly tough on Sandy, but very appreciative of Bob and Mel.
Sandy knew I wrote for the paper and kept asking me who Lou Gotz was because he wanted to find him and beat him up. I said for some reason we were never in the same place at the same time so I wouldn’t be able to convey Sandy’s message.
Twenty years later, I confessed to Sandy that Lou Gotz was a nom de plume because the Maroon editors couldn’t find anyone willing to cover wrestling matches, certainly not in New York, not in Pittsburgh or Philadelphia, not even home matches in Hamilton, New York. I was Lou Gotz and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to teach Sandy some humility now and then.
He’s forgiven me, kind of, but luckily I’m still a good twenty pounds heavier than he is.
Now I’m heading back into Cyberspace to see if I can find the article about when Roslyn beat Manhasset in football my sophomore year of high school for the first time in twenty years. Give it a try and see what kind of obscure personal history YOU can find online.