Who'll wear the houndstooth hat? ESPN is developing a script for The Junction Boys, the story of Paul (Bear) Bryant's grueling 1954 Texas A&M football training camp, to air in mid-December. Network honcho Mark Shapiro has yet to cast a leading man, but Jim Dent, on whose book The Junction Boys: How Ten Days in Hell with Bear Bryant Forged a Championship Team the film is based, has a clear first choice. " Tommy Lee Jones," says Dent. "He is the perfect type—rugged, played football at Harvard. Bear Bryant's greatest asset was his presence. They say he'd just walk into a room and sweep you away. I see that in Tommy Lee Jones."
?The bizarre intra-familial wrangling over the remains of Ted Williams isn't, it turns out, stranger than fiction. An eerily similar scenario was presented in James Halperin's 1997 sci-fi best-seller, The First Immortal. In the book the patriarch of a wealthy and famous Boston family chooses to be cryonically frozen at an Arizona facility after his death but does not inform his children of his decision until he is about to die. The offspring (three daughters and a son) then engage in a long and highly public legal fight over his body that lures tens of thousands of converts to the cryonics movement. "My theory was that a public controversy would take cryonics mainstream," says Halperin, 49. "The longer the Williams thing drags on, the better it is for cryonics."
Halperin, who grew up a Red Sox fan in Boston and recalls watching Williams on TV as a boy, has followed the Splendid Splinter even more avidly since Williams's death. "I hope he ends up being cryonically frozen," says Halperin, who has signed up for the process himself. "I don't know if we'll see a Williams clone in the Red Sox' lineup in 100 years, but it's a lot better odds than if they just let the worms eat him."
?Never mind pregame head butting or high-decibel player introductions. The WUSA's first-place Philadelphia Charge has a more civilized way to get jacked for a game: poetry readings. Before each match team bard Erin Martin, a forward, reads several stanzas of original verse aimed at building teammates' confidence while dissing the opponent: "They spend more time in La Jolla than working on set plays/Instead of talking tactics, they're busy catching rays," began Martin's poem about the San Diego Spirit.
Martin, who has penned a parody of 'Twos the Night Before Christmas ("They spoke not a word but went straight to their work/Scored lots of goals, though the ref was a jerk"), began writing poems a few years ago while playing in Japan. In Philly her verses are indispensable. "She gets us loose," says Charge coach Mark Krikorian. Adds midfielder Stacey Tullock, "We won't leave the locker room before she says it. It doesn't matter if the refs are calling us onto the field." Even when Martin missed a game against the Carolina Courage because of a groin injury, she called in and read a poem over speakerphone. "Coaches can give scouting reports," says Martin. "I want to give something more fun."