Forty-four years ago, UCSB had a football team. During the 1967 season, the Gauchos defeated the Nevada Wolf Pack, 34-7. Offensive lineman Bart Weitzenberg and running back Tom Broadhead were two of the team’s standouts. Neither of them remembers the score of the Nevada game, nor even who won. What they hold in their heads and hearts is the respect they had for each other, fostered by their coach “Cactus” Jack Curtice (the “Old Man”), a bond that remains strong to this day.
They were among the Gaucho football alumni who raised thousands of dollars to build an entrance gate at Harder Stadium in honor of Curtice. Weitzenberg, an attorney in Santa Rosa, was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. He knew that Broadhead, living in Dallas, had been battling colon cancer. When he unearthed an old photo of the two of them in action, Weitzenberg reached out to his teammate. He mentions linebacker Corky Barrett, the captain of the team, who also has had a bout with cancer.
Here is their correspondence.
I stumbled across this photo the other day. I thought that it was particularly poignant in view of the fact that we are both fighting cancer. It looks like we are turning the corner to head downfield to victory. We did it then, and we can do it now. I don’t remember whether we won that game, but I do know with absolute moral certainty that we have won the game of life. The proof is the enduring love and caring support from our teammates and Gaucho friends. Just as predicted and preached by the Old Man, we formed a bond that lasts forever. That is the ultimate victory. It is a victory with a heritage that will reverberate through the ages. Corky is in the fight now, and I am sure that there are others. Let’s stick together and win.
With love and admiration,
Thanks for the picture. I think that it was against Nevada at our stadium (notice all the fans in the stands). I’m remembering following you many times (obviously, the key to my success; however, aren’t you supposed to be in front?). Running can be very easy if you have true teammates with you. I think that we were all fortunate to be where we were then, and we are fortunate to be still connected by love and respect to those same beings that formed what and who we are today. Now is the time for us all to stick together. I am certainly with you in the endeavor. I just began my chemo yesterday, another three months of three times a week, lost mornings, and more things injected into spots we didn’t know we had spots. No side effects yet other than a strange desire to say something sarcastic. No hair has fallen out yet; however, I haven’t checked my ears yet. I’m with you in this. Together, no one can beat us. Be strong.
As ever, love,
You’re correct. In the photo, I should be out in front of you. But with your speed, I was proud to be with you. Then and now. By the way, does the chemo make your nose hairs fall out? If so, I might try it. Good luck, and we’ll stay in touch.