The earth had become an abomination to God, and displeased was He with the designated-hitter rule, and Who Let the Dogs Out and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. And so the Lord said, "All the creatures at play on this Earth shall perish." And He told Noah to build an Ark, and summon unto it two of every species in sports, that they might survive the Great Flood and live to repopulate—after 40 cleansing days and nights—a righteous new sports world. And Noah obeyed, for he was himself a righteous man: a retired French tennis star (and double-platinum-selling reggae artist) whose first name was Yannick.
And so they came, two by two, to Noah's Ark. Two and only two football players were allowed to board: 67-year-old ex- fullback Jim Brown, who never missed a down to injury, and 70-year-old Charlotte Chambers, the Orlando Starz safety (and great-grandmother of four) who is fond of telling opponents in the Independent Women's Football League, "You better hit me, because I'm laying you out!" Which is how, years after the Flood, the miraculous descendants of Brown and Chambers—the Unstoppable Force and the Immovable Object—did what neither Dennis Miller nor John Madden could do and resurrected the ratings of Monday Night Football.
Next, Noah led two golfers onto the Lido Deck, where they hit range balls, in magnificent arcs, into the sea. The swings of Tiger Woods and Michelle Wie—like the synchronized, sweep-second hands of two Swiss watches—were eventually passed on to all mankind. And thus passed into oblivion the phrases Put me down for an 8, Mind if I hit another? and Fore!
Naturally, Noah gathered about him America's most dynamic soccer stars, Mia Hamm and Freddy Adu, in the hope that the former might one day become Mia Adu, literally the Mother of All Soccer Players.
The only two baseball players spared by Noah were Hall of Fame shortstop Arky Vaughan and former Cardinals outfielder Curt Flood. For Noah simply liked having aboard men named Arky and Flood. Until, that is, it was pointed out to Noah that when the pair passed from this Earth, so too would baseball. (And indeed, that the pair had already passed from this Earth.)
And so Noah struck Flood and Arky from his passenger manifest and planned to seat, in their stead, an unlikely pair: Albert Belle, who once said, " SPORTS ILLUSTRATED can kiss my black ass," and busty serial-busser Morganna (the Kissing Bandit) Roberts. In so doing Noah hoped to produce the first ballplayer who could kiss his own ass, saving the rest of us the trouble.
But again, better judgment prevailed, and Noah at last boarded Dr. Dot Richardson, orthopedic surgeon, softball pitcher and two-time Olympic gold medalist, and mashed-potato-faced New York Yankees coach Don Zimmer. The spawn of Don and Dr. Dot Zimmer—hard-throwing, light-hitting, lovable lugs—put a smiling, gopher-cheeked face on baseball, whose antediluvian mug had belonged to Bud Selig and Barry Bonds. Better still, after the Flood all baseball players could install their own cranial plates.
Lest hockey disappear from the planet, Noah booked passage for Wayne Gretzky and paired him—largely for alliterative purposes—with American Olympian Cammi Granato. It was a most euphonious union of Cammi Granato-Gretzky and Wayne Gretzky-Granato. And the pair, adrift on an endless sea, stayed sharp by shooting pucks at passing whales, going blowhole so that future generations might go five hole.
Noah loved Track but hated Field. And so he rescued the world's fastest humans, Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery—who were, conveniently, already married to each other—but left the hammer toss to die on the scrap heap of history. He nearly abandoned basketball, too, for Noah suspected that the Kobe Bryant sexual-assault case, and the murder of Baylor's Patrick Dennehy, had precipitated (if you will) this epic precipitation. In the end, though, Noah couldn't deny posterity (nor himself, for that matter) LeBron James and Diana Taurasi, crossover stars with crossover dribbles. Their progeny would play with such charisma and cold-bloodedness that the six most oft-spoken words in basketball became, once again, "I've never seen anything like that," replacing a persistently popular pre-Flood phrase: "The Lodge and Spa at Cordillera."
Noah took on no NASCAR drivers, for God had told him to build an Ark, not a ferry.