THE WELCH COMPANY
440 Davis Court #1602
San Francisco, CA 94111-2496
415 781 5700
S U M M A R Y
DIARY: March 8, 1997 07:46 AM Saturday;
Attend Calif state finals HS wrestling tournament.
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0201 - Richard Popejoy, DDS
020101 - Dr. Richard Popejoy
Events, Entertainment, Good Will
Popejoy, Richard, Kathy
Wrestling Tournament, State Finals, UP
0705 - ..
0706 - Summary/Objective
070701 - Follow up ref SDS 8 0000, ref SDS 7 0000.
070703 - Had breakfast with some of the key people who got Robby and I started
070704 - in wrestling, plus the principal and vice principal when we attended
070705 - Cupertino HS. We reviewed that era and the excellent work they did in
070706 - preparing young people for life. Had a good discussion with Ron
070707 - Useldinger, visited with Dennis Blacklock, Gerry Carl and two brothers
070708 - who wrestled for Richard at Cupertino in the mid-80s.
070710 - [On 970312 received call from George Fernandez, ref SDS 9 9640,
070711 - and called Richard Popejoy. ref SDS 10 0869]
070713 - ..
070714 - [On 110514 1815 attend ceremony with Richard Popejoy on inducting
070715 - Sam Lawson into Wresting Hall of Fame. ref SDS 13 GO56
070718 - ..
0710 - Progress
071101 - Prior to breakfast Dale DeSelms insisted at the hotel on giving me $20
071102 - for dinner last night which I had paid. I protested that it was a
071103 - great thrill and honor to be part of Richard's event and to offer
071104 - something back in return for the many years Dale contributed to the
071105 - Cupertino HS program. Dale seemed anxious about this so I took the
071106 - $20.
071108 - ..
071109 - About 0900 I finished work at the hotel writing up the record for
071110 - yesterday on 970307 1300, ref SDS 8 UX8G, and then left to meet with
071111 - Sam Lawson, Dick Campbell, Dale DeSelms and George Fernandez, at Marie
071112 - Calendars for breakfast a block or so away on March Lane.
071114 - [On 990429 Sam Lawson has cancer, ref SDS 11 2887, called
071115 - him with well wishes for recovery, and again thanked him
071116 - for working so hard to make the lives of his students
071117 - productive and worthwhile. ref SDS 11 9066
071119 - ..
071120 - [On 120823 1150 Rob wrote a moving, poignant memorial to
071121 - commemorate naming Collin's Elementary School after Sam
071122 - Lawson, which was delivered on 050826 for dedication
071123 - ceremonies. ref SDS 14 858M
071125 - ..
071126 - [On 110514 1815 attend ceremony with Richard Popejoy on
071127 - inducting Sam Lawson into Wresting Hall of Fame.
071128 - ref SDS 13 GO96
071130 - ..
071131 - [On 130104 2045 submitted this record to Rob and Jay
071132 - Lawson, Sam's son, on the occassion of Richard Popejoy
071133 - being honored for continuing the legacy of Mr Lawson and Mr
071134 - Campbell fostering a vibrant, successful wrestling program
071135 - in the Cupertion community. ref SDS 15 3N4Q
071137 - ..
071138 - George, who was the principal at Cupertino HS during my time there in
071139 - the early 60s, indicated he is now involved in some kind of support
071140 - service for the schools, sounded like providing temporary substitute
071141 - teachers.
071143 - ..
071144 - Sam and Dick explained attending San Jose State College and wrestling
071145 - for coach Ted Mumby in the late 1940s after the war for Mr Lawson, and
071146 - early 1950s for Mr Campbell. They praised Mumby's leadership and
071147 - genuine humanity, which Sam and Dick later brought to the junior high
071148 - school wrestling program, and was very much in effect when Robby and I
071149 - came along in the mid-50s.
071151 - ..
071152 - Today, Sam remembered the time in 1963, when he asked Robby and I to
071153 - put on a wrestling exhibition at a local junior high school that
071154 - showed advantages of resolite mats, which were still new technology
071155 - introduced in about 1960, to improve safety. During the match, Rob
071156 - fell back on his head and was knocked out. Sam showed salesmanship
071157 - noting immediately how much worse such an accident is when using older
071158 - mats, which were much harder! I remember thinking "Boy, am I glad I
071159 - don't have to wrestle Mr Lawson; he is always two steps ahead of
071160 - everybody."
071162 - ..
071163 - Dale asked me to recount discussion the previous evening of memories
071164 - attending Cupertino High School in the early 1960s.
071166 - ..
071167 - A group of us would arrive early in the morning to share solutions to
071168 - math problems in the cafeteria. We somehow got started in the 9th
071169 - grade and various kids participated over the 4 years I was there to
071170 - see who had solved the toughest homework problems from the previous
071171 - nights assignment, and explain the solution. I think Mr Grodin may
071172 - have been the catalyst. I was pleased to mention this to him when
071173 - attending an event at the high school prior to his retirement some
071174 - years ago. It remains a strong example of combining teamwork and
071175 - competition applied to academics in growing knowledge. Today, high
071176 - priced management gurus call this "self-directed teams", but back
071177 - then, we were just children thrilled by the adventure of learning.
071179 - ..
071180 - [On 110514 1815 attending Sam Lawson's induction into
071181 - Wrestling Hall of Fame, Dick Campbell shared this story
071182 - today of us kids collaborating on solving math problems
071183 - attending Cupertion High School some 50 years earlier.
071184 - ref SDS 13 GO4K
071186 - ..
071187 - Sam Lawson told a wonderful story of his experience nearly qualifying
071188 - for the 1948 US Olympic team, possibly in London. Actually, it must
071189 - have been earlier, since someone said he is about 76 now. In any
071190 - case, Sam qualified to try out for the US team but had to hitch-hike
071191 - to Iowa. The school administration would not give his coach at San
071192 - Jose State permission to take time off to travel with Sam, but the
071193 - coach gave Sam $40 or so to help make the trip. He won all of his
071194 - matches, but not enough by pins, and so wound up as the third place
071195 - qualifier in his weight class.
071197 - [On 070420 Rob had a similar experience 20 years later, and
071198 - Richard had a better memory, remembing Sam's experience
071199 - related to qualifying for the Olympics. ref SDS 12 6D8J
071201 - ..
071202 - As a result he was outfitted and given a visa and passport to make the
071203 - trip to London as an alternate if the first two finishers could not
071204 - make the trip. It turned out the higher qualifiers went to London,
071205 - and so Sam missed out by the narrowest of margins. But, his love of
071206 - wrestling, personal energy and leadership have inspired the Cupertino
071207 - community for many generations to become winners.
071209 - ..
071210 - I explained deep appreciation for Sam and Dick helping me and Rob
071211 - develop as youngsters in elementary and later in Junior High School.
071212 - In 1956 or 57, Rob and I became friends attending Collins Elementary
071213 - School, and living a block apart. During summer vacation, he rode me
071214 - on his bike (handle bars) to "recreation" at the original Cupertino
071215 - Junior High, then located on Stevens Creek near Highway 9. That first
071216 - day, Mr Lawson was refereeing wrestling matches, and encouraging kids
071217 - to participate. Rob had done this the previous year, so I just
071218 - watched him take on other kids, not really understanding the rules.
071219 - Eventually, Sam insisted I give it a try with Rob. That experience
071220 - got me started in wrestling and determined to avoid further matches
071221 - with Rob.
071223 - ..
071224 - Later in high school, I studiously avoided working out with Rob.
071225 - About twice a year, Coach Useldinger insisted on putting us together
071226 - in practice. Just hated those matches, but everyone said they were
071227 - fun to watch, and maybe instructive. Rob was only 2 weights above,
071228 - but those long arms and fingers made it impossible to break his grip;
071229 - he was much more difficult than taking on Popejoy or Biancani, who
071230 - were much bigger.
071232 - ..
071233 - Today, Mr Fernandez recalled the time he visited wrestling practice,
071234 - and saw Richard, Gary and I doing round robin 1-on-1 take-down drills.
071235 - He worridly chided them (at 180+) for throwing me (136) around the mat
071236 - and crashing into the walls, but they laughed and noted so far they
071237 - had no take downs. I laughed today saying that was fun practice.
071239 - ..
071240 - [On 990429 Sam Lawson very ill with cancer, ref SDS 11
071241 - 2887, called him with well wishes for recovery, and again
071242 - thanked him for working so hard to make the lives of his
071243 - students productive and worthwhile. ref SDS 11 9066
071245 - ..
071246 - [On 120823 1150 Rob wrote a moving, poignant memorial to
071247 - commemorate naming Collin's Elementary School after Sam
071248 - Lawson, which was delivered on 050826 for dedication
071249 - ceremonies. ref SDS 14 858M
071251 - ..
071252 - [On 130104 2045 submitted this record to Rob and Jay
071253 - Lawson, Sam's son, on the occassion of Richard Popejoy
071254 - being honored for continuing the legacy of Mr Lawson and Mr
071255 - Campbell fostering a vibrant, successful wrestling program
071256 - in the Cupertion community. ref SDS 15 3N4Q
071258 - ..
071259 - Today, I explained amazement and admiration during those earlier
071260 - summer time recreation days watching Sam climb the rope hand-over-hand
071261 - to the high ceiling in the gym and while sitting in a chair with his
071262 - legs wrapped through the chair legs. Nobody else could do that. I
071263 - wondered, if one day, I could do something special, and perhaps
071264 - inspire others to try difficult feats, as Sam did for us.
071266 - ..
071267 - Dick asked this morning if it was true that I got my dad and our
071268 - second mother together by offering to have dad fix the roof that was
071269 - leaking on Lillian's house when we lived down the street in Garden
071270 - Gate, and Rob and I were then just friends in school? It was
071271 - heartening to hear that this seems to have become lasting lore
071272 - surrounding the Welches and Rideouts. I confirmed that was the way it
071273 - really happened. It turned out that my best friend became my brother
071274 - and his beautiful mother, who was so nice as a friend, became my mom.
071275 - Of course there were many struggles to come, which together with
071276 - school and our work experience with dad, focused and sharpened
071277 - whatever talents we had to prepare for our life's journey.
071279 - ..
071280 - We recalled how Dick got both Robby and I started in tumbling during
071281 - summer recreation, and this developed strength, motor skills and
071282 - balance that are critical assets in wrestling, and all sports really.
071283 - I also marveled and sought to emulate Dick's deft touch in badminton,
071284 - combining power and control by dropping shots gently over the net in a
071285 - manner John MacEnroe would later make famous in tennis.
071287 - ..
071288 - I don't think I mentioned today the occasion at Cupertino Junior High,
071289 - during the summer recreation program, probably in 1958, that Dick took
071290 - me outside of the gym and down the hall, away from everybody else, for
071291 - some guidance on maintaining self-control. I was probably being
071292 - unruly waiting for a turn on the trampoline, or to play badminton.
071293 - His quiet, but firm, comments helped an emotional child develop
071294 - patience, thoughtfulness, and focus needed to meet future challenges
071295 - on the mat, in the classroom and the larger arena of life. This was
071296 - the proverbial "trip to the wood shed" but he used reason and
071297 - strength-of-character to mold character, that has guided me for 40
071298 - years.
071300 - ..
071301 - [On 120823 1150 Rob wrote telling memorial to commemorate
071302 - Collin's Elementary School name change to "Sam H Lawson
071303 - Middle School," and delivered on 050826; Rob credited
071304 - Mr Lawson's "tough love" that guided young, zestful
071305 - children into habits of productive self-control.
071306 - ref SDS 14 L64Q
071308 - ..
071309 - A few years later when we were at Cupertino Junior High School, I
071310 - asked Dick to be the spotter for me when I tried the first double back
071311 - flip on the trampoline that had been attempted at the school. This
071312 - was in front of the student body and it was the first time I had tried
071313 - the maneuver. I just suddenly felt I could do it with Dick ready to
071314 - catch me if anything went wrong. Of course, others improved on this
071315 - initial effort. Rob got good doing doubles the next year, and there
071316 - was a new kid who came to school that was really good. But, now, many
071317 - years later I realize the value of trust which emanates from strong
071318 - character in leading others to take up the challenge of traveling new
071319 - paths and trying new methods that lift our culture to new plateaus.
071321 - ..
071322 - This morning I expressed gratitude for the time and patience Mr Lawson
071323 - and Mr Campbell invested imparting values and strength of character to
071324 - me and many others over the decades as educators, leaders and molders
071325 - of new generations.
071327 - ..
071328 - In a way, much of my work today is being a "spotter" to help others
071329 - try methods to leverage their intellectual talents, yet appear to hold
071330 - great risks, endemic to deferred rewards that require initial faith to
071331 - invest time and effort. It is a little like climbing a mountain when
071332 - you cannot see the top, and cannot judge the effort or peril that is
071333 - entailed. ref SDS 2 4930 I must first show the way by demonstrating
071334 - performance, and then be there to ensure they succeed, even if they
071335 - falter. I am sure others can do better what I am doing, once they
071336 - acquire the faith to try from seeing a new path can be travelled, and
071337 - discovering the joy of victory, as Sam and Dick made possible for me
071338 - so many years ago.
071340 - ..
071341 - Dale DeSelms mentioned a few times George's war record. We could not
071342 - get George to discuss this, as he changed the subject with the
071343 - expertise of a seasoned politician and executive that he became in
071344 - building Cupertino High School into a strong academic and athletic
071345 - institution. Somehow, I have the impression that George had an
071346 - exemplary war record. It would be nice to hear about it the next time
071347 - we get together.
071349 - ..
071350 - Dale did mention his sense of good fortune to have come along at a
071351 - time in the Santa Clara Valley when schools were being built and so
071352 - they could share in the energy and optimism of the emerging Baby Boom
071353 - generation.
071358 - ..
0716 - 1000 visited UOP Gym for Semifinals and Consolations
071701 - After breakfast, George had to leave rather than join us at the
071702 - tournament. I drove back to UOP gym and found Richard in about the
071703 - same section as yesterday. Unfortunately there were not enough seats
071704 - for Sam, Dick and Dale to sit with us to watch the wrestling, but they
071705 - found seats across the aisle.
071707 - ..
071708 - Ron Useldinger arrived about 10 minutes later, and Dennis Blacklock
071709 - and Jerry Carl, also, showed up, including Jerry's son, Tavis, who
071710 - wrestled for Richard about 10 years ago. Two brothers, John and
071711 - Cethas Butler, who wrestled for Richard in the mid-80s also, attended.
071712 - Turned out these were the boys Richard had told me about, when he was
071713 - coaching at Cupertino, who had risen above a very difficult situation
071714 - at home, only to succeed on the mat, and now in life.
071716 - ..
071717 - At dinner between the semis and the finals, the brothers explained a
071718 - little about their circumstances growing up with a father who was
071719 - deeply religious, but also was overtaken by a drinking problem. He
071720 - took his entire family to Israel in the late 70s or early 80s with the
071721 - stated aim to convert the Jewish people to the new testament -- move
071722 - over Don Quixote.
071724 - ..
071725 - Ron explained having given consideration last year to retiring and
071726 - turning the business over to his son, Kevin. He said Kirt is still
071727 - doing well as an architect and with his furniture store. Crista has
071728 - an 18 year old daughter who is a model and was recently on the cover
071729 - of a national magazine. He said she was in a Pepsi or Coke commercial
071730 - during the Superbowl this past January, and so has a promising career.
071731 - Ron asked Richard about his son's progress who had some early success
071732 - in modeling. Richard indicated his son is working for a contractor
071733 - while taking a break from a new direction in returning to college, I
071734 - think he mentioned Stanford. Crista is going to medical school. She
071735 - is now 40. Carol is having emotional problems. I related the similar
071736 - situation with Robby and his son, which seems to have prevented Rob
071737 - from attending our reunion today.
071739 - ..
071740 - Ron said that more recently he has decided retirement would not be as
071741 - much fun as it had at first seemed, and so he has thrown himself into
071742 - building his business, focusing on increasing foreign markets. I
071743 - asked about the competition that seems to exist that we see so much on
071744 - television for exercise machines? Ron pointed out that his program is
071745 - more practical for most people because it only takes 20 minutes or so
071746 - a day and does not cause muscle soreness, the equipment is more mobile
071747 - and less intrusive, and does not present the danger of injury posed by
071748 - traditional bar bells.
071750 - ..
071751 - Ron said he nearly lost his life in an automobile accident this past
071752 - holiday season. While driving home on Highway 17, he skidded off the
071753 - road due to hydroplanning. It sounded like several telephone poles
071754 - were cut in half, and his car fell about 30 feet or so down an
071755 - embankment. Rescuers had to saw off the top of the car to get him
071756 - out. Miraculously, no one else was involved and Ron, though knocked
071757 - out, needed only 20 stitches or so across his eyebrow to recover. I
071758 - did not even notice a scar.
071760 - ..
071761 - Ron bought a manual on sale at the tournament that is a history of
071762 - wrestling in California. It has past champions of the NCAA, the
071763 - forerunners of the current State Championship tournament, and Junior
071764 - College champions going back for as many years as these tournaments
071765 - have been held. Robby is listed as one of only 2 or 3 people who have
071766 - both won the tournament and later coached someone who won.
071768 - [On 970312 returned the history book to Ron. ref SDS 10 0879]
071770 - ..
071771 - Did not have a lot of chances to speak with Dennis and Jerry. We did
071772 - speak briefly about our early days in Little League when Dennis' dad
071773 - was the coach of our team, the Lions, and Jerry was on the winning
071774 - Kiwanis team. We remembered all of the teams launching the little
071775 - league season by forming up behind the post office, which at that time
071776 - was the biggest building in town, and marching over to the ball field
071777 - behind the fire station, with a band and everything. That was a big
071778 - deal in 1956.
071780 - ..
071781 - Prior to the finals this evening, a number of people were honored,
071782 - including the first winners of the tournament 25 years ago in 1973,
071783 - most of whom showed up this evening.
071785 - ..
071786 - Among those honored included Mrs Dave Shultz who sat behind us the
071787 - previous night, per ref SDS 8 8693, dressed in a green workout suit,
071788 - but this evening she was dressed in a beautiful evening dress and
071789 - looked marvelous. Dave Shultz was, of course, honored for his
071790 - extraordinary prominence in coming out of the California wrestling
071791 - program, and then his tragic murder which has been in the news the
071792 - past year. But this evening, Mrs Shultz was also cited as
071793 - Woman-of-the-Year in her own right for her support of wrestling in the
071794 - California High School program. She brought out her two sons and it
071795 - was a great tribute for everyone in attendance that a murderer's
071796 - bullet could not stifle the affection and support felt for Mrs Shultz
071797 - and her family.
071799 - ..
071800 - Another person honored was the coach of the Montery HS wrestling
071801 - program, who seems to be an editor of a Wrestling publication covering
071802 - California. Turns out this is the gentleman who introduced himself to
071803 - me at the Cupertino Tournament, this past January, and recalled a
071804 - match we had and also my state finals match in 1963. ref SDS 5 7593
071805 - and at ref SDS 5 8402 Consideration of why that match seems to have
071806 - been remembered is at ref SDS 8 7593
071808 - ..
071809 - As the pre-finals introduction ceremony occurred, I considered going
071810 - down and pointing out to program officials that Ron Useldinger and
071811 - Vaughn Hitchcock were in attendance this evenging and should be
071812 - mentioned as the only two coaches who have tied for the Northern
071813 - California Championships, in 1962, and that one of Ron's proteges,
071814 - Doctor Richard Poepjoy, who placed in the tournament in the early 60s,
071815 - and later coached winning teams of his own at Cupertino, has assembled
071816 - a reunion of Cupertino Wrestlers from that period to honor the 25th
071817 - anniversary event. By the time this thought was processed, however,
071818 - the ceremony was over, and wrestling had begun. So we will save this
071819 - thought and maybe there will be another time when it and others that
071820 - formed over these past few days will come in handy.
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