The Shooter of Old
Paint this image in your mind.
A grappler, perfectly poised in skill and grace,
A master of circular movement.
His technique was flawless,
His movements were with lightning speed.
There was no wasted movement,
No unnecessary use of precious energy.
His sense of timing was perfect,
Movement and rhythm were as mathematics.
In his application of a hold
The Theory of Archimedes was worked-
The leverage was skillfully obtained
And the proper fulcrum was applied.
This action, to quote the old timers,
Was called “Taking up the Slack.”
And shortly hereafter the helpless opponent
Would submit victory or be crippled.
His execution of moves was flawless,
It had to be most perfect.
For the wrestler could lose if he were thrown,
If he were pinned, or if he were submitted.
He wrestled men of prodigious strength-
Lumberjacks, farmers, cowboys, and other professionals.
Mostly men who relied on their strength,
But were helpless against superior technique.
The pro had to destroy his man,
Generally in a very short time.
That forced his skill to be superior,
And his execution swift and flawless.
The odds were against the wrestler,
It had to be that way,
Or else the crowd wouldn’t take the bait,
And the challenger wouldn’t be reeled in
And hooked like a fish.
He stood, generally, a smaller man.
He was well muscled, mostly of the wiry variety.
His muscles were supple and smooth,
Like those of the mighty tiger,
Relaxed and calm but quick to strike.
Muscles capable of lightning skill and speed.
Speed to rip a man’s leg from beneath him
And take him down without effort.
Skill to ride a man, and control him,
To make him use his energy
By grinding, ripping, and elbowing
His face, ribs, and abdomen.
Speed to hook a man in a double wristlock
And tear out his rotator cuff
In an instant of beautiful deadliness.
Speed to snap a man quickly down
And secure a front facelock
And with the slightest movement
Rip through the muscles of his neck.
Skill to grasp a man’s toes
And with the slightest turn,
With the slightest leverage,
Shatter the ligaments and tendons
Of his ankle and knee.
As the image of mastery painted above,
Such was the Catch Wrestler of Yesteryear,
This was the Shooter of Old.
(This Poem is dedicated to, in my opinion, the toughest matmen in the history of the wrestling game. Men like Billy Wicks, Dick Cardinal, Henry Kolln, August Sepp, Ben Sherman, Ed "Strangler" Lewis, John "the Tigerman" Pesek, and The Ole Farmer...men who forged a legacy through blood, sweat, tears, broken bones, and sheer toughness. Those who follow in their footsteps stand on the shoulders of giants