John Reckling Detested Me Because I Feared Him

by Jack Williams
Published here: Saturday, September 18, 2010 @ 8:50 AM

Wes Penre’s Comment: This is a perfect example how we attract the energies we put out — The Law of Attraction. And even more importantly, Jack Williams is telling us in the article that if we confront and conquer our fears (the earlier the better), we will stop attracting them.

For more on this subject, please visit

Keep on a Comin’
John Reckling was a bad-dude. He was also a good-looking guy, who was ripped with very chiseled muscles, a lantern-square jaw, piercing blue eyes, and was, maybe, the meanest a-hole on the whole Florida Gator football team.

Reckling had been a Golden Gloves boxer and he always had a bad attitude. Never once during the three years of me trying to play college football did I ever see Reckling smile. Never. Not once.

I never once spoke to Reckling, I merely tried to stay away from him.

Reckling, however, always spotted me, if I was anywhere near him on the football field. And he would invariably glare at me with fixed and angry hate vibs.

At first – in return – I’d smile nervously; but, that would really incite Reckling into glowering at me with snarling lips. So, I began to always look away from his threatening stares, pretending I had not noticed them.

Walking to and from classes, I’d usually be on cautious alert for Reckling; but fortunately with over 13,000 students enrolled at the university, I never saw him on campus.

But with only about 125 football players on the practice field, Reckling saw way too much of me, even though he worked out with the linemen, while I was with the running backs

It was in the dressing room, where I most feared Reckling; and, I usually set speed records in taking off my uniform, pads, and cutting the tape off my ankles. Then, I’d quickly shower, dress, and make my exit.

I did not have a football scholarship, so I couldn’t live or eat with the players. That was both good and bad. It was bad, because I had very little money and was never able to buy all the food I needed to consume after practice. But without a scholarship, I didn’t have to live and eat in close proximity to Reckling.

Anyway, once I was away from Reckling, for any length of time, I’d usually convinced myself “it” was all in my mind. Reckling had absolutely no reason to hate me. I wasn’t competing for his position on the football team. I didn’t owe him any money. I had never even talked with the guy. I was not trying to steal his girl. So, maybe it was just my delirium to think Reckling hated me. Or was it?

But in addition to always being broke and fearing Reckling, I had lots of other problems, in college. First of all, I was a functional illiterate, who could not understand the poorly written text-books upon which I was periodically tested.

Then there was Jan. I was hopelessly and stupidly, head-over-heels crazy about Jan. And how did Jan feel about me? Well like Reckling, I never really knew how Jan felt about me. Like Reckling, Jan was a mystery. Did she love me or not?

I had two walls closing in on me. On one side was the strong possibility of hate and on the other side the slim possibility of love. I was bound by two mighty MAYBES.

Now with the benefit of many years, and much retrospection, I believe Jan used me as a poor  substitute, until someone better-looking, smarter, richer, and was a star – or at least a starter – on the football or basketball teams took an interest in her. It was something that never occurred; truth be known, Jan was not in that league.

And the more I think about it, it must have been my ever present hunger that drove me into the illusions I had of Jan’s allure.

Anyway, this discourse is about Reckling, not Jan. And it was Reckling beating me to a pulp that I feared more than Jan not loving me. There were moments, however, when I was free from both Reckling and Jan. Glorious moments they were.

Have you ever had it happen that when you’re feeling happy-go-lucky, fate will sometimes rear its head and quickly let you know that a carefree attitude might not be warranted?

Something like that happened to me one evening, after football practice, on a day when I was feeling pretty good about my performance on the field.

On my way to the showers, I saw Reckling facing off with husky right-guard Bob Smith, while both were in the nude.

Then, like the lightning quick strike of an angry rattlesnake, Reckling hit Bob squarely in the face.

SPLAT! went half a pint of Bob’s nose blood against a tile wall.

Bob sank to the floor. But before hitting the title, Reckling must have hit poor Bob three or four more times – all in the face and head.

I was mesmerized looking at Bob twitch, on his back, his face and chest covered with blood. I couldn’t move. I began to tremble. Finally, I shot into the showers. I took the fastest shower of my young, immature, and very scared life.

I had no more encounters with Reckling for the rest of the season. I spent most of the off-season concentrating on my lack of money, by getting odd-jobs, trying to study more effectively, and wondering what I could do to get Jan to show a little more interest in me.

Then came Spring practice. My weight was down to an all time college low, but oddly enough it did not seem to increase my rather slow speed.

Maybe, I was just too weak.

I was, however, beginning to make some little progress on my romantic fronts. I had finally  given up on Jan. I got a date with a new hottie, named Ann.

I thought Ann held the potential of driving me as crazy as Jan did. And it was with Ann and my teammate, the ever pugnacious Tony (who was always without a date), that I found myself partying in the infamous ATO basement, one Saturday night.

The 3.2 beer was flowing freely from kegs. The Shirelles were screaming their hit song, Mama Said, while Tony was yelling across Ann to me, some stuff of no interest to neither me nor Ann.

Ann wanted to dance, but I wanted to drink, yell, drink some more, laugh and have male fun. I still had not learned how to woo women.

But life was good, anyway. I was carefree, once again. Happy-go-lucky, you might say. Then it happened. The unbelievable happened.

The SAE fraternity was our chief rival on campus; and one of their prized athletes was none other than the terrible John Reckling.

And it was Reckling who had the amazing nerve to show up in our ATO basement – uninvited – the very night I had my date with Ann.

Reckling was flanked by two of his rather large fraternity brothers, while the three of them rudely walked through all the dancers, everyone giving way to them. All completely, wholly, and utterly unprecedented.

Reckling, and his cohorts, positioned themselves on chairs, in the back of the room, everyone of them leaning back against the wall, all of them looking straight at me.

My happy little world fell apart. John Reckling’s boldness was unheard of. If any ATOs had tried the same stunt at the SAE House, they’d have been beaten to pulps and have had all their hair shaved off.

Maybe Reckling was actually crazy, which made him all the more fearsome. I began to tremble, like I did when Reckling so savagely beat poor Bob Smith into a bloody pulp.

I flashed sly looks toward the Reckling trio, trying to figure out what to do. My best thought was to pretend I had to go to the bathroom, upstairs; then, I I’d bolt to the front door and escape into the night.

Was it my imagination that Reckling wanted some of my hide?

What had I ever done to him? I had never even spoken to him. It made no sense. A familiar feeling of unreality was overtaking me. Was I in a nightmare or in the Twilight Zone?

Reckling … what a name. His name told the world who he was. He was Reckless Reckling, who had no regard for convention or consequences.

What if he killed me, or worse yet, disfigured me for life. Aww … there I go again, imagining things. Maybe Reckling is just having some sport. Maybe, we’ll all laugh about it later.

“Who is that?” asked Ann.

“I dunno,” I mumbled.

“Is he a football player?” Ann persisted.

“Ah … I think so, I said, totally distracted.

“Don’t you football players all know each other? Aren’t you a football player?” Ann asked.

“Ah … kinda,” I responded, still distracted.

“Well are you a football player or not? My girl friends said you were a player,” Ann said raising her voice.

“Well not really … you see … I kinda  give the impression I’m a …” I uttered, my voice low and rather indistinct.

Now, I had two problems: Reckling and losing points with Ann.

“Hey, that’s my song. Let’s dance,” said Ann.

“Ah … ah … what?” said I, stumbling with my words, as I stumbled toward the dance floor.

The song was the great Patsy Cline’s “I Fall to Pieces,”

… each time I see you again … you walk by and I fall to pieces … I fall to pieces each time someone speaks your name … I fall to pieces, time only adds to the pain …


Then the music stopped. There was a stunned silence. Am I dreaming, or did John Reckling just speak his first words to me?

During the hush, I was transported to another world, one of utter confusion.

In this alien world I’m rising on a up-escalator, with people rushing pass me. “Where’s everybody going,” I wondered.

Then all the faces of all those who rushed past me, turned and glared at me. Then the faces zoomed toward and past me, all shouting … “RecklingRecklingRecklingReckling.”

“Reckling, “ said Tony close to my face, as we stood outside on the ATO front lawn, with a couple a hundred of electrified people.

“Reckling,” Tony repeated. “You’re no match for him. Better let me take him on.”

It was then, at that very moment, that the full two years of Reckling’s terror hit me in the face, and I knew it was all real. The decision I was about to make would go a long way in determining how I lead the rest of my life.

“No, it’s something I have to do,” I said.

The dye was cast. I’d face the mighty Reckling in a dual that could be a fight for my life.

In a micro-second, I was transported to the middle of the ATO lawn, surrounded by what looked to be about 1-200 noisy people. Where was Ann? Where was my mother?

Cars on 13th Street and University Avenue were blowing their horns; some were stopping, with people jumping out and running toward the ATO lawn.

I thought, “No one wants to miss the slaughter,” which had just began. Reckling had just blasted me squarely in the nose and I felt warm stuff running out of it.

“Oh no, not my nose,” I thought. It was a big and ugly enough nose as it was.

I was staggered, but felt the hot rage of, “The nerve of that son-of-a-bitch.”

I swung on Reckling with everything I had, almost falling down with the effort.

Reckling, being a skilled boxer, easily side-stepped my attempt. I must have missed Reckling’s head by a good foot.

All I got for my feeble effort was two left jabs in my face. Reckling was fast. He had hit me twice, then backed away.

I charged Reckling, swinging with my right, and missed again; but, I absorbed two more jabs in my face. Now, I was having trouble seeing Reckling, as my eyes must have been swelling shut.

Reckling was a skilled boxer. I was an occasional brawler, who didn’t know how to box, which did not portend well for me.

Reckling was a superbly conditioned athlete. I smoked a lot and drank anything I could get my hands on, at any time. I considered beer to be more than merely an excellent breakfast drink.

But what pissed me off more than anything else was how Reckling was rearranging my face. I was never blessed with a perfectly symmetrical face anyway; and after Reckling’s beatings, I’d be lucky to get off with a lopsided face that looked like it was made up of mismatching parts.

So, I did all I could do, which was to absorb Reckling’s punches, and keep him from throwing a haymaker with his right, by always advancing on him.

I felt like Reckling had hit me a hundred times, while I was yet to land a single punch.

The screaming crowd of students kept re-forming itself as I backed up the ever punch-throwing John Reckling.

Then to my surprise, Reckling pulled back about three yards and yelled, “Break!”

Reckling was bent over, his hands on his knees, heaving in long breaths. He must have exhausted himself by hitting me so often in the face.

“No Break,” I screamed, as I tore toward Reckling.

Now, I knew the supremely conditioned Reckling was not invincible.

I swung fiercely. Missed. Swung again. Missed again.

Swung a third time. THUD! I had hit flesh and bone, John Reckling’s head bone.

Reckling went down like a stone. He was out. The great John Reckling laid unconscious at my feet.

I knelt beside Reckling’s head, as his two lieutenants rushed to him.

“I’ve never been hit .. so hard …” murmured Reckling.

Good, he’s alive! I thought, as I stood up, feeling very victorious.

I turned toward the cheering crowd, that no longer formed a boxing ring. It was now merely a milling collection of young men and coeds, who all seemed to want to touch me, but respectfully gave way, letting me pass through them.

Everything now would be anti-climatic. I neither needed or wanted congratulations, so I kept walking until I crossed 13th Street. There, I looked back at the still milling crowd on the front yard of the ATO house.

Fungoo to Reckling and his intimidations. His bark had been worse than his bite.

And even though it hurt to smile, there was a big grin on my face.

Then, I turned and walked toward the University’s Administration Building and the campus and my dorm room, still smiling. It hurt so good.

Reckling had physically defeated me as the mirror in my dorm room later proved. But, as I continued to look into my mirror, I began to painfully laugh: I had defeated Reckling spiritually, because I was in the right.

For years after the John Reckling fight, I have wondered what else had I learned from it.

Immediately, however, it had become obvious to me that I could have saved myself much misery by confronting Reckling as soon as he began his intimidation tactics.

I, also, learned that I never again saw Reckling even glance in my direction on the practice field or dressing room. At last, I had been free to endure bruising tackles, as a running back on the Gator scout team, without fear.

And, I found out why Reckling so hated me. John smelt my fear of him, and being a bully, Reckling detested those who feared him, which is part of  the motivation of all torturers.

And as fear stalks a man, that which he so fears will eventually catch-up with him.

More importantly – in time – I learnt that the fears in my mind have always been greater, more fierce than experiencing that which caused my fears.

When a dark cabal of conspiratorial oligarchs hold the reins of government in their hands, that very government becomes the enemy of the people.

When that government uses its powers against its own citizens, under pretenses of public service, those citizens can either turn their heads, avowing they see nothing – know nothing – or they can and will educate themselves and others as to our true state of affairs.

Every being that wakes up and helps to educate another is a punch thrown at an enemy that will never give us any quarter, whether we fight back or not.

The decisions and actions we make and take, today, regarding our government, will determine how we lead and live the rest of our lives.

Remember, we are in the right, the basic law of our land – the US Constitution – says so.

I eventually made the motto of the Texas Rangers my own, and invite you to do the same:

“No man in the wrong can stand up against a fellow that’s in the right, who keeps on a-comin’”

J. Speer-Williams

2 thoughts on “John Reckling Detested Me Because I Feared Him

  1. Wes,

    My name is Trey Reckling and John Reckling is my father. Although I have heard some wild stories about his youthful days, what I read here and have heard from some others is not the person I know. I would be interested in speaking with you some more, if you were open to the idea. I am an ombudsman, a peacemaker of sorts, and whether you believe it or not, many of the skills and life perspective I have I have learned from him.

    Thanks for your perspective on the historical insight into the person I didn’t know then.

    Dad continues to be rather fearless but is also a sweet and compassionate father and grandfather. As you note in your article, it also amazes me how people can and do change from watershed moments and meaningful events in life.

    I welcome you to contact me at your convenience. Thanks again.

    Trey Reckling

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