Thanks for the memories Bob Schloredt
By Bob Sims
It is the passing of a star in a brilliant bygone era of Washington Husky football. Former All-American UW quarterback Bob Schloredt, who led the Huskies to back-to-back Rose Bowl wins in 1960-61, died last week at 79.
The news hit me hard because Schloredt was my boyhood sports hero, my idol, growing up in Seattle. It took out a piece of my heart when I first heard it.
I had the fortune, with much serendipity, to meet my hero in 1960, when I was 10-years-old, at a Husky practice. It's a day I will never forget.
I first saw Bob standing there on the sideline, big as life, observing Husky practice with his arm in a sling, protecting a broken collarbone suffered in the UCLA game weeks before.
He was only a few feet away from me.
I was at practice on that crisp sunny fall afternoon because my dad, Major Deward W. Sims, an Army R.O.T. C. instructor at the UW, had access to closed practices because several Husky players were in his military-science classes.
My dad, who knew Schloredt, led me over to where he was standing and introduced me to him.
"How are you doing, Bob?" said Schloredt, smiling, shaking my hand.
"Good, sir," I said, nervously
I was taken aback how warm and kind he was, to me, a kid.
"Do you like football?
I told him how I liked to play tackle football with my friends in our North Seattle neighborhood backyards.
"I got the wind knocked out of me playing the other day," I said. "I fell on the football wrong, on my stomach, when I was recovering a fumble. I couldn't catch my breath for a long time. It hurt."
He smiled, saying, "Football is a rough game."
We chatted for a while, maybe 15 minutes or so, just him and me, standing in the soggy, chewed-up grass on the UW practice-field sideline. It was a big thrill.
He asked me what school I attended (Pinehurst Elementary School), what classes I liked, and what my hobbies were?
After answering his questions, I told him I was sad he got hurt in the UCLA game, saying I was there to see it, sitting in the stands at Husky Stadium.
"I hope you can play football again soon," I said. He assured me he would.
Bob Schloredt was a person who was used to setbacks: He lost vision in his left eye in a fireworks accident as a kid, and despite that handicap, he was able to adapt and flourish as a prep and college athlete with only one good eye.
So, it was no surprise he overcame his collarbone injury to come back quickly and play football again.
Schloredt came off the bench in the first quarter in the Rose Bowl game, only a few months later after the injury, to lead the Huskies to a 17-7 upset win over the top-ranked team in the country, Minnesota, on New Year's Day in 1961. He threw for one touchdown and ran for another. He was voted MVP. (He was also voted co-MVP, along with George Fleming in the UW's 44-8 win over Wisconsin in the 1960 Rose Bowl.)
All us neighborhood kids watched the 1961 Rose Bowl game at my friend's house, whooping and hollering for Schloredt and the Huskies. What a game!
All of Seattle was abuzz after the Huskies beat the No. 1 Gophers, similar to when the Seahawks won the Super Bowl. It was a big deal for the city. Seattle had only four sports in town at that time: the hydros, Seattle Rainiers, Seattle Totems, and Husky football.
I can still remember that day as if it were yesterday.
Thanks for the memories, Bob Schloredt. You were inspiration to me as a kid. I will never forget you.