COLUMBIA — Behind Michael Scherer's contagious smile was a kid who loved to roughhouse.
"Mikey," as his family and friends called the Missouri senior linebacker back then, was always active growing up. He was commonly seen on the basketball court, football field or wrestling mat, but his most intense matches were held in the Scherer living room.
Joe Scherer, the oldest of the four Scherer brothers, played football at the University of Pennsylvania, and Daniel Scherer wrestled at Stanford University. Even when Michael Scherer lost to them, he never surrendered. He would lie on the ground until his dad, Joseph Scherer, or his older brothers walked away from the friendly wrestling match. Then he shot up and jumped on them again.
One day they wrestled until a piece of furniture broke. Even then, Dori Scherer struggled to punish her son.
"Oh, that smile," she said. "It was really hard to (punish him). He was not an easy kid to discipline because of his smile and his big heart.”
That smile also helped him at a yearly carnival. Dori Scherer remembers seeing her 7-year-old son walk from station to station, throwing baseballs at stacked bottles and sinking baskets for prizes.
He had his own cheering section, too. Several girls followed him around the carnival, each with a stuffed animal in her hands.
As the day went on, and Scherer continued winning prizes, the girls' stuffed animals gradually increased in size. Of course, they paid him to win the stuffed animals.
It was all in the smile.
"He was the happiest kid," Dori Scherer said. "There were five or six girls, and he had them pay for the carnival, so it’s a win-win situation, right?"
When Michael Scherer's athletic ability wasn't winning over girls in the second grade, it was landing him spots on traveling basketball and wrestling teams.
Scherer started lifting weights in middle school. Every day, before school started, Joseph Scherer and his sons blared country music in the basement while they worked out. Afterward, the boys would sprint up the stairs to get ready for school.
Even the car rides involved tussles.
"He started his share of fights," Dori Scherer said, laughing. "They were always over who got the front seat in the car."
One time, neither Michael Scherer nor his brother Nick were rewarded with the front seat. The two sat in the back seats, prodding each other because they were too close.
Joseph Scherer intervened. He told his son Daniel to serve as the referee to avoid a scuffle.
Apparently, Daniel Scherer misinterpreted his dad's request.
"Okay, get ready, go!" Daniel Scherer said.
A wrestling match ensued.
Supervising editor is Brooks Holton.