Bob Munyan doesn't remember Paulsboro's first victory in wrestling. But he likely was there, watching his older brother, plotting his revenge.
"We used to get after each other pretty good," Munyan said of his brother Pete, who was his hero, his inspiration, and also his near-daily sparring partner. "The coach wouldn't let us wrestle each other in practice because it always would end up as a stand-up fistfight."
Bob Munyan was a freshman during the 1940-41 school year, Paulsboro's first in varsity wrestling. Pete Munyan was a sophomore.
The scrappy teenagers from Gibbstown used to help their father haul coal in the mornings before school. They were the first great Paulsboro wrestlers in a largely unbroken line that stretches from the year before the attack on Pearl Harbor to today.
Knowing Paulsboro, win No. 1 probably came in match No. 1. The Red Raiders have lost just 77 times in 68 seasons.
On Wednesday night in the old gymnasium in the old high school in the old town on the old river in Gloucester County, Paulsboro is likely to record the 1,000th victory in the history of the wrestling program.
The Red Raiders would become just the second high school wrestling team in the country to win 1,000 matches. Granite City, Ill., which has won 1,361 times since 1934, was the first.
Bob Munyan, 84, is retired and lives in Vero Beach, Fla. He is regarded as Paulsboro's oldest living varsity wrestler (a few other old-timers, including brothers Dan and Randy Minix and Willie Pieta - who still tells folks he was "slippery as a snake" in those days - wrestled for the team in 1939-40, when the sport was still in the intramural/exhibition stage.)
Munyan remembers wrestling with his brother in the attic of the family home, developing the skills and strength that would enable both boys to go unbeaten against South Jersey competition during the 1941-42 and 1942-43 seasons.
"I was a little bigger than my brother," said Munyan, who was a 112-pounder while his brother was a 103-pounder during the 1941-42 season. "But he was tough. We had some battles. We used to give each other everything we had."
Munyan said he and his brother and other wrestlers used to put on extra sweatshirts, go to the basement of the high school, open the doors of the boiler, and work out in front of a blast of heat. That helped them maintain their weight.
They had another method, too.
"We used to drink [magnesium] citrate before we went to bed," Munyan said of the mixture that worked as a laxative. "That took care of that."
Pete Munyan is regarded as South Jersey's first state champion in wrestling. He won the 103-pound title in 1942, minutes before Woodbury's Gil Hillman (145 pounds) and Herb Baptiste (heavyweight) won crowns at higher weights.
Bob Munyan was second in the state at 112 pounds as a sophomore in 1942, and second in the state at 121 pounds as a junior in 1943. He lost both times to Bob McKeeby of Newton High School in Sussex County.
"That fellow was a leg wrestler," Bob Munyan said of McKeeby.
Bob Munyan might have won a state title as a senior, as McKeeby had graduated, but the sport was suspended at Paulsboro and many other schools from 1944-46 because of World War II.
Despite their sibling rivalry, or perhaps because of it, Bob Munyan regards his late older brother with reverence.
Pete Munyan was drafted into the Army Air Corps after graduation in 1943. He became a pilot, returned home, and attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he was close friends and fraternity brothers with future Olympic rower Jack Kelly Jr.
"That was Princess Grace's kid brother," Bob Munyan said, referring to Grace Kelly, the Hollywood star who became the Princess of Monaco.
A pilot in the National Guard, Pete Munyan was killed in a training exercise when his plane crashed in Swedesboro in 1950. Jack Kelly Jr. was one of his pallbearers.
"He was the all-American, my brother," Bob Munyan said. "They didn't make many like him."
Bob Munyan, who served in the Navy in the South Pacific during World War II, returned home to help run the family's highly successful home-heating business. He retired and moved to Florida in the late 1970s.
Munyan chalks up Paulsboro's astounding record in wrestling to the makeup of the people in that little neck of South Jersey.
"It's because there are blue-collar, working people in that area," Munyan said.
Munyan believes wrestling played a big part in his success and his brother's success, too. The boys went a long way from those scraps in the attic, those workouts in front of the furnace in the basement of the high school.
"I used to have a pretty hot temper," said Munyan, who was inducted into the South Jersey wrestling Hall of Fame in 2005. "That sport teaches you to get rid of that. You can't have any bad habits.
"You're on your own out there. My coach [Norman Hangen] used to say, 'Don't look at me. Do it yourself.' You learn that in a hurry in wrestling."