Alumni Column: The Legend of Lou Gotz

 

 

Mel Damski

Lou Gotz has just emerged from a 40 year, self-imposed hiatus.

Gotz wrote a few wrestling columns for the Colgate Maroon in the mid 1960’s. I was on the wrestling team at the time and I listened sympathetically as my good friend and teammate Sandy Mintz would complain about the harsh treatment he often received from Gotz. (“Sandy Mintz struggled to eek out a victory against a weaker opponent”).

Mintz would often say to me: “Mel, you’re on the paper, aren’t you? Who the f*ck is Lou Gotz? What does he look like? If I ever run into him….”.

Actually, Lou looked a lot like me. Exactly like me, in fact. And the two of us were never seen together! Let’s face it – wrestling wasn’t a glamour sport at Colgate. (The sport was eventually dropped during the Title IX movement that gave equal funding to women’s sports).

So getting someone to cover an away match at, let’s say, Clarkson, just South of the Canadian border, in the dead of winter just wasn’t really an option.

I was elected by default to cover the away matches. Because I was also wrestling, I couldn’t use my own byline, so Lou Gotz became my nom de plume. If you make it one word in Italian, it’s not a very nice thing to say but I thought it was extremely clever at the time—a joke I could share with no one!

Lou kept his identity secret for many years. When I felt that Dr. Sanford Mintz, then a middle-aged psychotherapist, had evolved enough to handle the revelation, I let it be known that I was Lou and Lou was I.

Recently, I had dinner with Dr. Mintz and Dr. Michael Berger (who is busy curing cancer, but never mind about that right now) and we laughed a lot about Lou. I was about to direct Legendary, a movie about amateur wrestling, and my two ex-teammates gave me several suggestions that actually made it in to the final cut of the film.

To honor them, if you look carefully, you can now see their names on the (pairings board) before the semi-final match in the film.

If you listen carefully, you can hear the announcer say the name of Bob Raiber, my roommate and teammate, dentist extraordinaire, and the man who recruited me to write this column.

And if you listen really, really carefully above the crowd noise, you’ll hear the announcer say the name of Lou Gotz.