The Secret Weapon

wrestling

His name was Eugene, but we all called him, ”Yudee.” I once asked him how he got that name. He said that when he was a tiny tot and spoke his first words, he couldn’t say Eugene; he could only say Yudee, and the name stuck.

As a teenager, I went to work for a defense factory during the war, and even though I was too young for the job I was able to convince them to hire me. Yudee got a job there also, even though he was even younger than I was. The factory was huge, and I never saw Yudee there. One day I was appalled when I heard there was an accident at the plant and Yudee was involved. He got his shirt caught in a giant lathe trying to get free and lost half his fingers and thumb up to the knuckles on his right hand.

When Yudee came out of the hospital, he acted like nothing had happened. In time he could manage quite nicely with his mangled hand and was just one of the guys. He wasn’t an athlete, but he was strong and he loved to wrestle. His hand didn’t hamper him at all in this endeavor because his strength compensated quite nicely.

He decided he wanted to try out for his high school wrestling team, but, technically he didn’t know all the holds. He asked me to help him, and I did. In time he had all the holds down pat and was ready and eager to try out for the team.

We went to different high schools so I was on pins and needles the day he went for the tryouts. When I finally cornered him, he was grinning from ear to ear.

”Jer, I made the team and it was all due to your help. The coach said I’m going to be their secret weapon.” Then he related his story:

Yudee was one of the smallest of the group trying out. They paired off two at a time and eventually, the only two left were Yudee and a kid who was even smaller than he was. He was elated because he figured it would be easy to pin this kid and impress the coach.

The only problem was this kid was just as strong as Yudee, and it was a stand-off with neither of them gaining an advantage. Yudee was determined and got his opponent in a head-lock. He was straining with every fiber of his being when suddenly he passed gas quite noisely. The sound and odor reverberated all the way to the rafters.

There was a hush in the gym, and then his opponent began laughing. This led the crowd to hysterical laughter, and, finally, the coach began laughing because laughter is contagious.

The coach stopped the match and told them, they both had made the team. His opponent made it for being able to withstand withering fire, and Yudee made it for being able to pass gas at will. The coach laughingly told him he was going to be the team’s secret weapon.

Yudee went on to wrestle for four years and eventually became captain of the team and received an All-City commendation in his final year. One valuable lesson that Yudee used was to never eat bake beans the night before a match.

(photo courtesy of Susan Leggett/Dreamstime.com)

About Jerry Goldberg

Jerry Goldberg grew up on the west side of Chicago. After high school, he was drafted in the Army during the Korean conflict. Upon his honorable discharge, he joined Local 130 in Chicago as a plumber, working from 1952 to 2000. Jerry has been happily married for 60 years, residing with his wife, Gloria, in Huntley, Illinois. They were blessed with two wonderful children, and have three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
When his son encouraged him to get online, Jerry replied, "What do I need that for?" But all that changed a year into his retirement, when his daughter gave him a modem for his birthday, opening a whole new chapter. Finding stained glass insufficiently fulfilling, Jerry discovered the AARP message boards and began his one-finger magic. Eventually, he became quite proficient (two fingers), starting a board called, "Jerry's Corner."

This board was the second most popular board on AOL. Jerry bantered with any and all, and began writing humorous true stories of his past life. The stories you see here are a compilation of most he has written ... enjoy!

About Jerry Goldberg

Jerry Goldberg grew up on the west side of Chicago. After high school, he was drafted in the Army during the Korean conflict. Upon his honorable discharge, he joined Local 130 in Chicago as a plumber, working from 1952 to 2000. Jerry has been happily married for 60 years, residing with his wife, Gloria, in Huntley, Illinois. They were blessed with two wonderful children, and have three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
When his son encouraged him to get online, Jerry replied, "What do I need that for?" But all that changed a year into his retirement, when his daughter gave him a modem for his birthday, opening a whole new chapter. Finding stained glass insufficiently fulfilling, Jerry discovered the AARP message boards and began his one-finger magic. Eventually, he became quite proficient (two fingers), starting a board called, "Jerry's Corner."

This board was the second most popular board on AOL. Jerry bantered with any and all, and began writing humorous true stories of his past life. The stories you see here are a compilation of most he has written ... enjoy!

Smiles For All