"They couldn't have been nicer," says Lesperance. "I guess they expected me to sue, and to tell the truth that crossed my mind. It's no fun to be told you're dead when you're not. But they invited me to Vancouver for this year's Hall of Fame dinner at full league expense. They promised they would revive me." Two weeks ago Lesperance was reinducted and given a duplicate of the plaque that hangs in the Hall of Fame in Toronto. "See," he says, pointing to the year—1985—that is inscribed on the plaque. "That's when I was dead."
GNARLY CROWD CONTROL
It turns out there was a bit of deception going on at the recent Op Pro surfing championships in Huntington Beach, Calif. (SI, Sept. 8). Perfectly honorable deception, though. Australians Mark Occhilupo and Glen Winton were in the middle of their best-two-out-of-three final series when a scuffle among unruly beachgoers grew into a full-fledged riot in which participants were smashing and burning cars and throwing bottles, bricks and cups of sand at police. The violence was taking place behind the large crowd of spectators watching Occhilupo and Winton; police feared that the situation might worsen if the surfing ended too soon and the fans mixed with the rioters.
Officers and meet officials huddled. Occhilupo, who had won the first heat easily, was also doing well in the second heat and seemed on the verge of wrapping up his second straight Op title. But when the result was announced—following a mysterious meeting among Occhilupo, Winton and Ian Cairns, director of the Association of Surfing Professionals—Winton was the surprise second-heat winner. The surfing would continue for one more heat.
What had really happened is that Occhilupo had already won the competition. Winton had been announced the winner in order to fool the crowd into staying through a meaningless third heat, also won by Occhilupo. Neither surfer complained about the extra half hour of work, and by the time they finished the riot was nearly under control. Fans were never told of the ruse.
"Just when our sport is coming into its own, a bunch of yahoo metalheads start this gnarly riot," said meet P.A. announcer D. David Morin. "What Glen and Occy did was pretty impressive. It was way above and beyond the call."
When former Washington Redskins All-Pro tight end Jerry Smith announced recently that he was suffering from AIDS, the usually fatal disease that attacks the body's immune system, he showed uncommon courage. Many AIDS victims are stigmatized because of the frequent link between the disease and homosexuality or intravenous drug use, and the 42-year-old Smith is the first former or current pro athlete to admit having AIDS. But news of his affliction has educed only the sincerest expressions of sadness and concern.
Earlier, the eight-year-old son of Redskins strength coach Dan Riley was diagnosed as having cancer. The boy, whose name is Tim but who is known around the locker room as T-Bird, was scheduled to undergo chemotherapy. Rather than have his son experience any shock at watching his hair fall out after treatment, Riley, a devoted family man, shaved T-Bird's head. Then he shaved his own head so his son would have company. Then seven Redskin players shaved their heads and appeared on local television to wish T-Bird a speedy recovery.
It is heartening to know that neither Tim Riley nor Jerry Smith lacks sympathetic friends as they battle illness.