While Gordie Lockbaum of Holy Cross stands out as the only Division I college football player who plays both defense and offense (page 34), even he can't approach the versatility of two high school gridders from Ohio. Hardin Reece, a sophomore at New Miami High, and Jason Frost, a junior, go three ways. Reece is a second-string tight end, a reserve on defense and a saxophone player; Frost triples at starting defensive tackle, backup fullback and sousaphone. At halftime of New Miami's home games, the players pick up their horns and play with 40 schoolmates in the two-year-old New Miami marching band. "The band director's trying to build a program here, and I sympathize with that," says football coach Ed McCoy. "He saw two guys with talent, and it was sort of his idea. They play in the band for seven or eight minutes. They don't miss much—a glass of water, maybe. I haven't even noticed.
"This is a small school, maybe 350 kids. We don't have many talented football players, and we don't have many music talents. So it was O.K. with me."
Frost is a bona fide music talent, having made all-state band last year. And Reece? Coach McCoy is diplomatic: "He's 6'3" and 270 pounds. I think his potential lies in football."
In Sunday's New York City Marathon, Grete Waitz traveled 26 miles, 385 yards through the city's five boroughs and won $25,000 and a $30,000 Mercedes-Benz. This booty was heaped atop a $40,000 appearance fee she was paid just for showing up. Rob de Castella, the noted Australian marathoner, was paid a reported $70,000 for running, and he didn't even win. He finished third behind an Italian runner, Gianni Poli, who, like Waitz, took home 25 grand and a car. What does all this considerable loot mean? That marathoning, once the pursuit of the wretchedly skinny poor, has come as far as marathoners are asked to go.
When Waitz won her first of eight NYC Marathon titles in 1978 she received $20 and no automobile—the $20, in fact, was her cab fare for a ride to the airport. But a decade ago the sport had few stars and even fewer star events. The notable marathons didn't have to compete with one another for the elite competitors, so "appearance" deals usually included a comfy room and a hot meal.
But these days runners are among the most chic and marketable international athletic commodities, and there is keen competition for their presence at a larger number of races. Each spring the London Marathon tries to outhustle Boston for runners, and each autumn Chicago, which held its marathon two weeks ago, bids ferociously against New York. The top marathons each pay thousands in appearance fees and offer between $200,000 and $300,000 in official prize money. Hence the cash given up front to Waitz and de Castella and the extremely grand prizes awarded to Waitz and Poli.
The august Boston Marathon was the last to knuckle under to marathoning's expensive new realities. But when it conceded, after the '85 race, that its fealty to amateurism meant a dearth of good runners, it too lined up sponsors and started throwing money around. This spring the new Boston Marathon was hale and hearty, with de Castella, as big a name as there is, winning in course-record time. Wonderful, right? Well, it seems de Castella had sold himself just as the race had, and after the folks from Mercedes-Benz viewed de Castella's Mazda running shirt for 26.2 miles, they complained mightily. The scene was repeated when Ingrid Kristiansen, the women's world-record holder, won the recent Chicago race. Her bold Mazda imprimatur thoroughly embarrassed one of the race's major sponsors, Nissan. "I should pay you not to appear," said race director Bob Bright, who grudgingly handed over the check for $40,000.
Marathoning is busily trying to cope with the new order. After Chicago, negotiations were held with de Castella and a compromise was reached: The Mazda billboard on his chest would be reduced in size at the New York race. Somehow it seemed refreshing to see Poli storm across the line first. His shirt said ELLESSE. Know what they make? Shirts.