May

18

 Myron Roderick was fun loving with no backhand, and at 5'5, the last man in the world I'd cross. I ran late onto the Orange Outdoor Nationals court as he served, and returned for sideout. He picked me up over his head into a airplane spin laughing and so was only a few feet off the ground. He tackled Dave Messer in Dr. Bud's living room thinking he was Don Craig and rubbed his ear in the rug to say howdy. At the '80 Houston stop he greeted Randy Stafford by picking him up by the heels and dangling him over the court backwall before they descended to play. 

I knew, feared and respected three-time national wrestling champ Roderick before I picked up my first racquet and beat him. He was the youngest college wrestling coach in history and moreover won the first of many nat'l championships for Oklahoma State that year. Roderick was the single wrestler my MSU coach Grady Penninger, also a multi-national champ and paddles/racquet player, commented, 'that's one tough character'. MSU wrestling was second in the nation that year and when Oklahoma State came to Lansing, Mich. There was electricity in the first-ever jammed fieldhouse. I saw Penninger shake his head, look at his wristwatch, bang both, and asked him after Okla State defeated MSU, "coach what happened with the watch?". He replied, "I hardly want to say but everytime Roderick and his team come to town I get so wound up that my watch stops."


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