I was blessed with the opportunity to spend a decent amount of time with Herschel Walker yesterday. It all started very early for me at 0600. I knew I would be meeting him that afternoon, but he ended up showing up at our "fight house" where we do combatives and crossfit (can’t call it that) every morning. We all figured he was just there to observe. After we finish working out, we usually roll for about an hour to brush up on technique and learn some new stuff.
Let me just say, I am not really trained in the ways of MMA but I do have a bit of experience. To my surprise, when we started rolling Herschel declared himself an opponent to anyone that was willing to roll with him. I sat idly bye in awe, watching Herschel destroy anyone that was willing to fight him. I finally mustered up the courage and actually fought Herschel Walker. The dude is 51 years old, and he has a body like a 23 year old, seriously, it is ridiculous. He told us he ran a 40 yard dash back in February and clocked in at a 4.34. I think one of the things that really amazed me was that he took every opponent serious… from the seasoned well-trained semi-pro fighters we have, to the brand new first day in combatives guys. Needless to say, I got my butt kicked by Herschel Walker!
We parted ways for the morning and I was set to attend a speech he was giving on post here in Kansas at 1 pm. I wish I had the time and skills to write how amazing an event that was. His main focus was his battle with DID (you may know it better as multiple personality disorder). Seems Herschel had one too many personalities, and he was none too ashamed to admit it… this was the message he was delivering to us Army folk, resiliency and all, not being afraid to ask for help, etc.
Herschel told us he was picked on as a kid.. bullied and beat up daily. His teachers would stick him in a corner because he stuttered and they really didn’t want to deal with him. He told us one day he just decided that, "Herschel wasn’t going to get beat up anymore", and that’s when he started doing his workout routine you may have heard of. Turns out, Herschel would completely disassociate himself with is surroundings, effectively making him unable to feel pain. He told us of the time he broke his thumb with a compound fracture and that he had a "local" as he called it, something where they tie your arm off and cut circulation just so he could watch the surgery on his hand. He also mentioned a dislocated shoulder that he suffered and had placed back in, all the while feeling nothing.
Herschel actually wanted to join the Marines, and he was hell bent on it. His mother and father pressured him in to college. They wanted him to go to Georgia, Herschel actually couldn’t care less as he had other plans. In joking fashion, he told us he flipped a coin in front of his mother, heads being UGA and tails being Clemson. The coin landed heads up and he told his mother he would go to UGA. Herschel was just kidding of course, but his mother immediately phoned Coach Dooley. By the time Herschel had gotten back to his house, the whole neighborhood was there to celebrate with him. He was too embarrassed to say that it was a joke, and ultimately ended up at UGA. That is a true story. Herschel was an Olympic Sprinter, though we boycotted the Olympics he would have raced in. He was also an Olympic Bobsledder… I didn’t know that either.
To my surprise, Herschel was actually quite comical. "I don’t know if any of you have ever been to Georgia in the summer, boy it’s hot".. his voice oddly reminds me of Bubba from Forrest Gump, though well spoken, articulate, and clear.. "I seen a dog chasing a rabbit the other day, it was so hot they were both walking". Much funnier when he told it. He told us a great story about how Jerry Jones moved in and traded him out from under his feet. The only issue being Herschel had a no-trade clause. Minnesota was on the verge of suing the Cowboys and so Jones had someone ask Herschel what it would take in order to get him in ‘Sota. Herschel felt a bit betrayed, so he made some outlandish list of demands… a fast boat, tons of cash, a house, access to Jerry’s plane. Herschel had no intentions of going, but after Jones OK’d the list he had no choice, being a man of his word. Needless to say he wasn't expecting Jerry to fork the cash out.
He wrapped up his speech and gave us all a chance to ask questions. Someone asked him what it was like to play for Tom Landry and Vince Dooley. He said Tom Landry was the greatest coach he had ever played for and spoke very highly of him. Sounded a lot like the way some of our guys talk about The Bear. Herschel had a lot to say about the new NFL rules, protecting the QB and all. He isn’t a very big fan of it, as you could imagine. There were more personal questions, more serious questions, and he had great insight and knowledge on a lot of things, but when someone asked him about the SEC… THAT was epic. He called out the Big 10 and said FSU and Clemson were too scared to play in the SEC, that they wouldn’t make it. He more or less made fun of the Big XII which made my day.
Didn’t know if this was worthy of a fanshot or fanpost as my writing is rather poor. Anyways, the whole thing was a great experience, one I will never forget, even if he is a Georgia Bulldog.
On another note. Listening to this man admit to being vulnerable really struck something in me. Call it cheesy if you want, but, I had an epiphany. It just kind of made me realize how imperfect every single one of us truly are.