We don’t really talk enough about how country-ass the Big Ten can be. Fortunately, a man tackled a deer in a Wal-Mart in Wadena, Minnesota this week, and we now have a really good excuse to do just that. By “that” we mean talking about the Big Ten’s rural bonafides, that is, not about tackling big game in big box retailers, though we’re happy to theorize about that, too.
For instance: An elk would be really difficult to bring down period, but especially in the crowded aisles of a Best Buy’s phone section, where you couldn’t get a good leap at the animal or a clean shot with a bow. Why are you carrying a compound bow through Best Buy? Clearly, you’re not rural Big Ten enough to even consider why this is a silly question, or why you’re doing all this in a ghillie suit if you’re really serious about this business.
This happened in Wadena, between Fargo and Minneapolis and just west of Brainerd, aka prime iconic Midwestern highway killer territory. Wadena has about four thousand people and was once hit by an EF-4 tornado a mile wide, and that’s about it for Wadena’s history. (Note: Every small town in the Midwest, apparently, has been leveled by a massive tornado at least once.)
Wadena is the seat of Wadena County, which sits next to Otter Tail County. If you need to know where we are at the world: We’re not even in Otter Tail County, but in the next county over.
It’s a small town, which is why we feel very comfortable saying this about Tom Grasswick, the man who tackled this deer that just walked into the Super Wal-Mart: This is not the first deer this man has tackled. If it is the first deer, then it is not the first wild or domesticated animal Tom Grasswick has tackled personally.
Look at the form: A leg over the deer’s hindquarters to keep it from bucking loose, one arm around the neck to control the opponent’s head. This is textbook groundwork, like MMA-level handling in real time. Tom Grasswick might be the Dalton of the local Roadhouse for deer, a shabby but festive place where bucks and does come to kick it up and spend a few hours at the salt lick. If you don’t think there are bars just for deer in flyover country, well, you’re probably the kind of asshole who uses the words “flyover country,” and loves it when the New York Times “discovers” a new city between Los Angeles and New York.
(Also: Deer drink in Wisconsin. We don’t know about Minnesota as much, but they definitely drink in Wisconsin, along with most mammals and certain waterfowl. Don’t tell me loons aren’t fucking trashed most of the time.)
If you doubt the technique, note the hand over the eyes. Tom isn’t just a tactician. No, this is compassion, the touch of an outdoorsman who knows the deer is very scared, and needs some special handling. He’s going to help the deer get through this, man—which it did, a few minutes later, when they released it into the wild, which in Wadena is probably like twenty steps away from the parking lot’s borders.
Two other final notes to drive home how masterful this is as a story of both Big Ten rural greatness and a towering achievement in non-toxic masculinity.
"I figured I was bigger than the deer, so I'd win that wrestling match," Tom Grasswick told WDAY-TV.
Please note that Tom, on seeing a deer sliding about indoors on the slick concrete floor of a Wal-Mart, did not think “oh, poor thing, let’s consult the management for solutions.” NOPE: Tom’s inner targeting computer immediately asked the questions “Eh, um, ya think you can take it?” and answered in the affirmative based on weight.
There is a school of thought that proposes that every man, in every environment, is silently sizing up everyone in the room and clinically wagering whether they could take each person. That school of thinking, in this case, isn’t even broad enough— Tom was out here SIZING UP ANIMALS. Better still, he was completely right in his estimate. That deer went down, bro. Afterwards Tom and the deer toasted with beers, and shouted out their sponsors in the middle of the octagon, because that’s what warriors do.
The second thing:
Grasswick is from nearby Deer Creek, of course.
Tom is from nearby Deer Creek, Minnesota. IN OTTER TAIL COUNTY. B1G we forget how country you can be, and we don’t tell you enough how much we love you for it.