WAYNE SMITH ENCOUNTER

BY DAVE GLASGOW

WAYNE SMITH IS THE AGELESS WONDER! THE PICTURE ON THE LEFT IS WAYNE IN 1956, AND THE THE PICTURE ON THE RIGHT IS WAYNE IN FRONT OF THE SAME OAK TREE IN 1998!

WE ALL HAVE HAD OUR “DUMBASS” MOMENTS.  I, FOR ONE, SEEM TO HAVE A PENCHANT FOR THEM!  MY LATEST ‘FAUX PAS’ WAS IN KIRKSVILLE AT THE USAWA NATIONALS.  HOWEVER, A LITTLE BACKGROUND IS IN ORDER BEFORE I GO MUCH FURTHER.

I HAVE A BACK ROUND IN LAW ENFORCEMENT.  I HAD A TOTAL OF 18 ½ YEARS SERVICE TO A SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT AND THEN AT THE LOCAL POLICE DEPARTMENT, AS A RESERVE.  WITH THAT SERVICE CAME LOTS OF TRAINING.  A POINT THAT WAS EMPHASIZED TO US WAS TO BE ‘AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS’ AND ‘LOOK FOR THE UNUSUAL OR SOMEONE OR SOMETHING THAT IS OUT OF PLACE’.  I ALWAYS FELT THAT, FOR AN ‘ALMOST COP’, I WAS PRETTY GOOD AT IT.  THIS ONE TRAIT, THAT I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN PROUD OF, IS WHAT BRINGS US BACK TO THE STORY AT HAND.

AT THE NATIONALS, THE WARM UP AREA WAS RIGHT NEXT TO A LARGE, OPEN DOOR THAT LEAD INTO THE GYM ITSELF.  I WAS IN THE WARM UP AREA WHEN AN INDIVIDUAL CAUGHT MY EYE.  HE WAS ELDERLY, VERY SLIGHT AND APPEARED TO BE, SOMEWHAT, FRAGILE.  HIS OVERALLS COULDN’T HIDE THE FACT THAT HE SEEMED TO BE UNSTEADY ON HIS FEET.  WHEN HE SAW ME LOOK AT HIM WITH A QUESTIONING GLANCE, HE QUICKLY LOOKED AWAY, ATTEMPTING TO BREAK EYE CONTACT.  MY ‘SPIDEY SENSE’ IMMEDIATELY KICKED IN. WHAT COULD THIS OLD TIMER BE DOING HERE?  WAS HE LOST?  WAS HE LOOKING TO GRAB SOMETHING FROM THE VARIOUS BAGS LYING AROUND?  HAD HE WANDERED OFF FROM A NURSING HOME??  I DECIDED TO TRACK THOM DOWN AND TELL HIM OF THIS “INTRUDER”!

AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT, I WAS DISTRACTED FROM MY HUNT BY SOMETHING OR OTHER AND WHEN I FINALLY FOUND THOM, TO MY UTTER SHOCK, HE WAS WALKING TOWARD ME AND HAD HIS ARM AROUND OUR MYSTERY MAN!  APPROACHING, THOM GUIDED HIS GUEST OVER TO ME AND SAID, “DAVE, I REALLY WANT YOU TO MEET WAYNE SMITH.”  WHAT THE HELL??  THE ELDER STATESMAN OF THE JACKSON WEIGHTLIFTING CLUB STUCK OUT A GRIZZLED AND LEATHERY HAND THAT  I GLADLY TOOK AND FOUND A HAND SHAKE THAT, CERTAINLY, DID NOT BELONG TO A ‘FRAGILE’ INDIVIDUAL.  THIS GUY WAS THE REAL DEAL AND I HAD MISTAKEN HIM FOR SOME TRANSIENT PASSERBY!!  TO SAY I FELT STUPID AND FOOLISH WOULD BE THE UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE YEAR! 

I CAN’T REMEMBER WHAT I SAID TO THIS GENTLEMAN, SOMETHING ABOUT I HAD HEARD OF HIM AND HIS LIFTING AND IT WAS MY PLEASURE TO MEET HIM.  IT MOST CERTAINLY WAS MY PLEASURE… AND EMBARRASSMENT!

THIS SO REMINDS ME OF A STORY I READ YEARS AGO IN SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. A VENERABLE, OLDER ARM WRESTLER WALKED INTO A GYM WHERE A COMPETITION WAS BEING HELD.  HE WENT RIGHT BY A LARGE, HEAVILY MUSCLED YOUNG MAN THAT WAS TAKING TICKETS AT THE DOOR.  WHEN THE YOUNGER MAN GRABBED THE MAN’S ARM, HE GROWLED, “IT’S TWO BUCKS TO SEE THE SHOW, POPS!!”  TO WHICH THE OLDER GENTLEMEN SIMPLY SAID, “I AM THE SHOW, SONNY!”

MR. WAYNE SMITH COULD HAVE SAID THE SAME THING TO ME………

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