'The Fridge' inducted into S.C. Football Hall of Fame
05/31/2014 11:26 PM
03/14/2015 12:28 AM
Some called him The Refrigerator. Some called him Fridge.
William Perry II simply called him Daddy.
He did not know about his father's All-American awards at Clemson or his Super Bowl statistics with the Chicago Bears. He did not know about the laughs he pulled with David Letterman or the body slams he landed in Wrestlemania.
"At first, he was just a regular dad," Perry II, 21, said Thursday night before his father was inducted into the South Carolina Football Hall of Fame.
Perry II said he did not recognize the magnitude of the legend until he got to middle school and the requests for his father's signature had nothing to do with a report card or permission slip.
"I didn't know how big he was until my classmates started saying, 'Let me get an autograph from your daddy. I want to see his Super Bowl ring,' " said Perry II, who quickly learned about the fame attached to his shared name.
He heard tales of his father lifting his 325-pound frame to dunk basketballs on Clemson's campus. He heard recounts of his father's touchdown run in Super Bowl XX. He even heard about his father's rap records, including the infamous "Super Bowl Shuffle."
Perry II still marvels at the smiles the mere recollections of those experiences elicit. They filled the room Thursday night at Cliffs Valley, as countless fans greeted the elder Perry to share their memories.
Perry smiled widely as he shared his own.
"It's just wonderful," Perry said. "You play your whole life and you play through college and you get a chance to play for a professional team that wins the Super Bowl. You can't ask for nothing else."
Perry is far from the physical wonder he was soaring across the goal line or above the rim nearly 30 years ago. He has battled Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a disorder in the immune system that attacks one's peripheral nervous system.
He stepped slowly Thursday night with assistance from a walker and the family members who accompanied him. Yet, his condition did not diminish the boisterous laughter the Fridge produced through the greeting lines.
Above the football highlights, awards and honors, Perry II said he is most impressed by the joy his father persistently spreads and by the admiration and concern fans continue to display.
He said that is why he proudly carries his father's famous name.
"It's been an honor, especially when you see how much people still love him," Perry II said. "We give him love of course, but outside of family, they can give him love that sometimes he can't even get from us. It shows he can go everywhere and everybody loves him."
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