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A roundup of news on sporting events, people and places in Southeast Michigan by columnist Jim Evans.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

JOY TO THE WORLD: The Davids are in the Hall of Fame

HAZEL PARK - “They needed a ride.”
Hence, the simplistic bottom line of Joy and Lee Davids’ long-standing involvement in amateur wrestling.
That is how Joy Davids claims it all got started anyway.
The Davids’ kids needed rides to practice. They needed rides to meets.
What began as transportation turned into a lifestyle. Joy and Lee Davids have been an integral part of the fabric of wrestling both locally and nationally for years.
The Davids will be inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Michigan Chapter during a ceremony at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing Sunday. The reception will begin at 4:30 p.m., with the awards presentation following dinner. The purpose of the banquet is to honor and recognize individuals for their years of commitment as positive role models to our student-athletes.
Joining the Davids will be Frank and Angel Beck, Rocky Shaft, Edd Bankowski, Bruce Bittenbender and John Major.
A day earlier, from 7-10 p.m., Saturday, the Davids will be the guests of honor at an open house at the Hazel Park Recreation Center. Pizza, salad and cake will be served.
Many friends will be in attendance at both events. Many are friends through wrestling.
“I’ve met so many nice people over the years,” said Joy David, who graduated from Madison High School, but moved to Hazel Park when she and Lee got married. “If your kids were with wrestlers, you did not worry about them.”
There were a lot of worry-free days, then.
Mark Davids, 61, is the oldest of the Davids kids. He finished second in the state while competing at Hazel Park High School. He went on to wrestle at Eastern Michigan University, where he finished second in the nation at 134 pounds. He is a retired physics teacher from Grosse Pointe South High School.
Billy Davids is 59. He was a state champion at Hazel Park High. He went on to wrestle at the University of Michigan where he was a Big Ten champion and a two-time All American. He, too, is a teacher. He is a history instructor at Blaine High School in Minnesota.
Mary, 58, might have been the toughest of them all, said her mother, smiling.
“Mary says she raised her younger brothers. Did you know that by the time she was 12, she could cook a full Thanksgiving dinner. I never taught her that, either. It was something she picked up,” said Joy Davids. Mary is a second grade teacher in Hillsdale.
Johnny, 51, also wrestled at Hazel Park High School and the University of Michigan. He is an architect.
Tommy, 49, was a state champion in high school and went on to wrestle for the Wolverines in Ann Arbor. He works in the family business, Davids Gold Medal Sports on John R in Hazel Park, a full-service wrestling equipment store that also carries a line of hunting and fishing gear. Tommy has coached both at Hazel Park and Ann Arbor Huron high schools.
Mark and Billy were probably 10 and 12 years old respectively when they really got interested in wrestling,” said their mom.
It was 1962 when the Davids served as hosts to a couple of the athletes from a touring team from Japan.
Their oldest boys were intrigued by the Japanese athletes.
Joy admits she was not always so intrigued by wrestling.
There was a time when Joy had, as she so succinctly put it, “one child in her belly, one on her hip, and three running around.
“Years ago we were at the high school and Lee asked me if I wanted to walk up stairs to watch wrestling, and I told him I would not even consider walking upstairs to see wrestling,” she said, laughing. “I did not even like wrestling.”
Lee and Joy first met at a teen club.
“Do you know what the first thing he said to me was?” she asked. “It was `Hey girlie, your slip is showing about half a mile.”
A year later they were married. Soon enough, they were populating the wrestling world.
Lee and Joy Davids have 11 grandkids. There are 14 great grandkids.
That is a lot of wrestlers. That means a whole bunch of rides. Something tells me that Lee and Joy will not mind one bit.


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