Asa Sweetcorn, Carlisle’s Wild Man

As so often happens, I came across an interesting article when looking for something else. This time it was a 1933 interview of Gus Welch by Alan Gould of the Associated Press. By this time Gus Welch had gained a reputation as a great storyteller, having won the coveted Brown Derby Award at annual coaches conferences. For whatever reason, no award was made in 1933 but Welch told an interesting story about, as were many of his stories, a teammate at Carlisle. He recalled a headstrong player named Asa Sweetcorn who, as a running guard [probably a pulling guard in modern parlance], felt that his contributions were being disregarded in Warner’s newspaper columns. He reacted by drawing attention to himself. Instead of running plays as his coach diagrammed, Sweetcorn “…would go ripping around an end, legs and arms flying, making gestures at everybody but taking out nobody. I took him aside to find out what was going on. Slyly he wispered to me: `Gus, that’s psychology. I keep `em all worried and guessing and then they say, My what a great running guard this Sweetcorn is.’”

 Reporters rewarded him with positive mention in their columns and opposing teams started to take notice of him. Navy concentrated much of their effort against Sweetcorn to his detriment. Soon he was groggy and bloody. At half-time, Pop suggested that a substitute be sent in for him. Welch responded, “No, this Sweetcorn is just faking. Let him stay in.” After taking terrible beatings game after game, Asa began to wise up a bit but not completely. Lying on the field badly beaten in a game, he had about reached the limit of punishment he could withstand, he said something to Welch about needing a “medicine man” but Welch disagreed, “Never Mind medicine man; send for a priest.”  

 Next time, find out how Sweetcorn fooled Sally Jenkins.

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