I wrestled at little Millersville University in Lancaster County, PA. Shorty Hitchcock was the head coach. Shorty was known for putting together brutal conditioning workouts involving sandbags, buddy carries, and the infamous "Puke Hill" behind our gym. We would do buddy carries up a steep, winding, quarter mile (or longer) hill, when you reached the summit, you did exactly as the name of the hill intended: you puked. But the most interesting pre-season training memory I have was the day Shorty decided to have the team play hide and go seek with him.
Shorty made us give him a twenty minute head start; the object of the game was to run around campus and find where he was hiding. As long as we were running, we were good. If we stopped for some reason, Shorty knew we stopped. I think he had spies hiding all over campus for us. We split up into groups of two or three and looked for Shorty for about an hour. My group ended up near the gym and "Puke Hill" and heard one of our teammates scream, "There he is!". We ran down to the bank of a creek/river that ran along side of the base of "Puke Hill" and found Shorty.
Shorty was standing in the middle of the creek/river and waved us in to have a quick team meeting. My teammates and I looked at each other, unsure of what to do, hesitated, and then joined him in the middle of the water. I was the most apprehensive of the group because I was the shortest guy on the team- standing 5'2" on a good day. The water was at Shorty's neck, by the time I made it out to the middle, the water was at my nose. Whenever Shorty saw me, he always said the same thing: "Hey Prebish, stand up! Oh wait, you are standing!" and cackle with laughter. I will never forget the Shorty Hitchcock cackle. My teammates had to hold me up by the shoulders so I didn't drown, as the heavy sweats I wore for the workout were completely soaked and weighing me down. He congratulated us for finding him, made some small talk and dismissed us for the day. I remember trudging back to the dorm with a few of my teammates in complete silence, awe struck at what we just did.
My roommate was not a wrestler and was surprised at my appearance when I flung the door of our dorm open and collapsed on the floor. He asked me what happened to me: my once white sweatshirt was stained a light brown from the river, I was covered with dirt and mud. Lying face down on the floor, all I could muster as a reply was, "Shorty"!
Ahhh pre-season conditioning, how I hated you.