Perhaps it's time to consider the ultimate sanction: requiring that coaches who want out of a contract sit out a season, without pay, before they can wear a whistle or a headset for another school.
Life of Brian
Brian Shinier is the American bobsled driver who made ignominious Olympic history a year ago by becoming the first bobsledder to be disqualified from the Games because the runners on his sled were too hot. Last week, at the four-man world championships in Winterberg, Germany, Shimer's tribulations continued when he dropped a 675-pound bob on his right foot, broke a toe and had to withdraw from the season's biggest race.
Before going to Lillehammer with high hopes barely a year ago, Shimer was touting the top-secret technology of one of his sleds—designed by NASCAR driver Geoff Bodine—as if he were some cold war spook. To those who asked for details about the sled, Shimer smirked and said, "If I told you, I'd have to kill you." By last week, alas, James Bond had become Inspector Clouseau.
For the past month some motorists in the Tampa Bay area have been happy to be ticketed by the Florida Highway Patrol. As part of a deal with the NHL Tampa Bay Lightning, the patrol has distributed more than 300 ducats to Lightning games to drivers wearing seat belts when pulled over. And for those who aren't buckled up? They get tickets, too. Payable to the State of Florida.
An Ump on Deck
We've finally found somebody in baseball worth rooting for. Former American League umpire Steve Palermo is continuing his unlikely comeback from a bullet wound that nicked his spinal column and made it doubtful he would ever walk again (SI, July 6, 1992).
Palermo, 45, was shot in July 1991 while pursuing a mugger, and his recovery has been marked by gradual progress and steadfast determination. He now gets around with no more than a sporty cane and a small leg brace, and he plays golf three times a week, often without using a cart. He has even reached the point where he can joke about the jolts of pain that occasionally tear through his legs. "When they come, I look like Kramer on Seinfeld," he says.
Last year Palermo worked for Major League Baseball, studying ways to shorten games. He hopes next to examine the rise in on-held violence. As for the strike, his sympathies are only with the fans. "I know what it's like to have baseball taken away from you," he says.
It's not a feeling he's comfortable with. Palermo's ultimate goal is to return to the majors. But, he says, "I'll only go back if I can do justice to the game. If I can't trail a guy down to second on a double, forget about it." It may be years before Palermo can leg out a two-bagger, but the memories of his umpiring days continue to inspire him. "There's a thing called the jazz," he says. "At 7:35, when you hear the national anthem and you know you have 40,000 people coming to your office, it's just an incredible adrenaline rush. That's the jazz of it all."