The Spong Remains the Same

Sure, Steve Austin boasts an imposing nickname: Stone Cold. But what the World Wrestling Federation superstar doesn’t know is that Texas Monthly assistant editor John Spong, who profiled him for this year’s Texas Twenty , has a pretty impressive appellation of his own. During his days at Austin’s Westlake High School, Spong was known as the One-Man Wild Bunch. Although he graduated from Westlake in 1985, going on to earn his undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Texas at Austin, the 32-year-old Spong is remembered by classmates and teachers alike for his enthusiastic rooting and cheering at the school’s baseball games. Spong would make such a spectacle of himself that he often had to be escorted to his car “so the opposing team couldn’t get to him,” former Westlake baseball coach Howard Bushong recalls. Still, as zealous a sports fan as he was, Spong was never interested in wrestling until he witnessed Austin step into the ring. “He just looks so cool doing it,” says Spong, who found that he and his subject had more in common than their interesting monikers. At their first meeting, Austin broke the ice by asking a question of his own: “Do you like to drink?” “You mean, do I like to drink when I’m thirsty, or like, booze?” Spong replied. “Like beer,” Austin said. “I like beer,” Spong said. “ I like beer,” Austin confided. A friendship was born.

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