Rod Marinelli Wrestled a Bear
This is one of the cooler stories I’ve read in quite some time. Not even sure how embellished it is. Not even sure it’s true. But Nicholas J. Cotsonika tells of a tale in the Detroit Free Press of Lions head coach Rod Marinelli wrestling a bear back when he was in high school. As the story goes, Marinelli and his buddies were cruising by a car dealership that had a gimmick sign out front saying you could wrestle a bear for $10. Marinelli’s buddies got together the cash, and they set Rod on his way to wrestle Victor the Bear. Taking it from Marinelli’s buddies Gary Schram and Don Gomez…
It was cold, the mat was all wet, and this bear was smelly, let me tell you,” Schram said. “So we put the money up there, and in goes Rod. Rod did then what he does now: He went in to win.”
“There was no hesitation on the guy’s part,” Gomez said. “He flew into that thing.”
“And let me tell you,” Schram said, “he had that bear on his back in about 10 seconds.”
The Russian guy started poking Marinelli with the stick. It startled Marinelli. The bear recovered and pinned him. Marinelli reversed on him, and they went back and forth.
The Russian guy declared Victor the victor. Schram and Gomez said they cheated. Marinelli tried to be a good sport.
“Rod goes over to shake the bear’s hand,” Gomez said, laughing. “The bear doesn’t know he’s coming to shake hands. The bear attacked him again.”
What would be more impressive is if Marinelli could find a way to beat the Bears. But I definitely see why the Lions hired him. Talk about commanding respect in the locker room. Sheesh.