|Posted by romeraiders on July 11, 2011 at 11:53 AM|
Udo comes to Rome---When I was in fifth grade in the Rome school a new boy showed up who would be in the sixth grade. His name would be Udo Fuchs and all the boys were glad to have another guy in the group.
Udo was born in Germany and came to the states as a young boy. He, his mom Martina, and his grandmother, Oma, which I think means grandmother in German, would speak fluent German amongst themselves which the rest of us thought was pretty neat. Udo and his mom came from the background of the importance of physical fitness and academics.
Of course back then as kids, many of the rest of us all wanted to know if he was a nazi or not. His mom would talk about the importance of the gymnasium, not gym, and doing well in school. Going to the gymnasium and track was good to work out and get stronger. Udo had the mindset of trying and then mastering whatever sport that he would be introduced to. This would carry over to his Rome Raider days as he would work hard at mastering any spot that he would be put at.
As a kid his best sport was probably soccer. Coming out of Germany it was a common sport for him. The rest of us only played it because we had to as a unit in gym class. Most of us considered it a communist sport back then, because it seemed like only the communist countries were the ones that even played soccer.
Many don’t probably remember that Udo grew about 3-4 inches after he graduated from high school. He became a very good city league basketball player and at 5’11” he could dunk . He was a good softball player and softball pitcher as well. When we played city league flag football for a few years he was involved in that also.
Udo and I spent a lot of time together in the growing up years. The guys liked Mr. Kohn, our first man teacher in the 5th-6th grade classroom. He’d hang a 50 cent coin at the bottom of the basketball net in the gym and tell us that if we could jump up and get it , we could have it. Not sure if any of us ever got it, but it sure made us try. Udo may have gotten it, he could run and he could jump. He would try anything, it would have been fun watching him try, and then gain proficiency in the pole vault. If we got a real good score on our Weekly Reader current events quiz or our weekly spelling test, Mr. Kohn would let us go next door into the gym and shoot baskets.
There wasn’t much of a better motivator than that for the boys in the classroom. As the years went on many of us would get our snowmobiles, cycles and cars together. On hot summer days we’d head out to the Van Valins and their nice outdoor swimming pool to cool off. They were a very gracious family to the town kids, well they had four boys of their own and at least three of them were just as mischievous as the rest of us.
Udo would get a scholarship and go off to Carthage college for his first year of college. Soon after he got back from that first year his step dad murdered his mom and then took his own life. Udo would transfer to Whitewater and continue there.
Udo would play close to twenty years for Rome and would lose his life in a tragic fuel truck, which he was driving, rollover accident. There is a big rock at the Rome diamond that his his picture on a plaque mounted on the stone. Udo was a big part in getting the team up and running again in 1973.