Schalles pulled up outside Herb's Tavern in Lakemont, where he had promised to meet John Bismark, one of his most ardent fans. Bismark, a cannonball of a man with a mustache and mutton-chops and wearing a hard hat, sat with his knobby-soled boots on the rung of a barstool. He told Schalles, "Got a $5 check for you from a guy in Geeseytown. And we're gonna show some movies of your wrestling and have a raffle." Schalles thanked him, chatted for a while, then got up to leave. As he did, Bismark called out, "You gotta make the Olympic team. If you don't, you have to come back here and face us."
Amid laughs from Herb's clients, a smile struggled to come to Schalles' lips but did not make it. These, too, were people he did not want to let down. Returning to the car, Schalles said, "I'm feeling the pressure. I'm glad I'll be back at Iowa on Monday." He was referring to the University of Iowa, where he would rejoin the Hawkeye Wrestling Club to train for the Cleveland tournament.
Wrestlers have long yearned for a place where they could train year-round for the Olympics and not have to worry about finances. The Hawkeye Club was founded by Gary Kurdelmeier when he became coach at Iowa four years ago and is primarily funded by Roy J. Carver, a multimillionaire from Muscatine, Iowa. Members of the club train at the university, and most of their expenses—rooms, meals, transportation—are paid for when they take part in competitions. Schalles had already spent time with the club after his own training group, the Clarion Mean Machine, lost its angel early this year.
Schalles stopped to visit Fred Barefoot, his coach when he was a high school sophomore and junior. The two immediately began talking about Schalles' finances. "I don't think we'll have any trouble raising the money Wade needs," said Barefoot. "It's being kept in a trust fund, and whatever's left over after taking care of Wade will go to the Olympic fund. It's a privilege to be associated with someone who gets to the Olympics."
Schalles drove to the other end of town and three-quarters of the way up a mountainside. He walked the remaining distance to a local landmark called the Chimney Rocks—tall, white, sentinel like stones that can be seen for miles. Schalles silently scanned the valley for a while, then said, "I find now that it's important to be liked. I made enemies with my arrogance. Now it's time to let people know I can be nice.
"There's this boy, Ray Murphy. He was a senior in college and I was a senior in high school when we wrestled. I had him up in the air and was bringing him down. He tried a Granby roll. He got a broken neck. Now he lives in a bed with a respirator underneath. He weighs about 85 pounds. The hardest thing in my life was when I saw him the first time after it happened. His parents told me, 'We want you to know that Ray said if he had to get hurt, he was glad it was in a sport he loved so much.' No hate. No malice. Through his misfortune I've drawn strength. When things go bad for me, I always think, 'Remember Ray.' Even if I don't make the Olympic team, I've got a lot to be thankful for."