NO TORTOISES, THOUGH
Mary Decker Slaney is a renowned front-runner, so she will hardly need a rabbit when she attempts to better Maricica Puica's 2,000-meter world record at the Michelob Meet in San Diego on June 25. Yet a quick glance at the prospective field yields not one but two rabbits. They are a sophomore from UC Irvine named Buffy Rabbitt and New Zealand's champion at 3,000 meters, Anne Hare.
A TROPHY FOR THE MEN UP FRONT
Since 1946, the football writers association of America has honored those forgotten behemoths of the collegiate gridiron, interior linemen, with the annual Outland Trophy. But, wouldn't you know it, though the winner has been dutifully announced each year, there has never actually been a trophy; in recent years the winning lineman has received only a modest plaque.
All that will change next season when, for the first time, the Outland winner will be given a 10�-by-14-inch bronze sculpture of a generic lineman—in a crouching stance so he can go either way, offense or defense. No-necks or not, the nation's grunts can finally hold their heads high. The trophy, underwritten by Mercedes-Benz, is the handiwork of a man who knows whereof he sculpts. Professor James Ridlon, a department head in the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University, is a former NFL defensive back, with San Francisco and Dallas. "It was really an interesting challenge," says Ridlon, who played at Syracuse. "I wanted to get the look of a player of the '40s, when the award was originally given. I also wanted to make the face ambiguous—it could be white or black—so the person who wins the trophy can see himself in it."
The original Outland plaque, which was a gigantic three by five feet, was stolen in 1967, the year it was awarded to Ron Yary, an offensive tackle at USC who later was an All-Pro with Minnesota. "I didn't know the purpose of the banquet," says Yary, attesting to the award's low profile. "They just told me to show up at the Biltmore Hotel [in Los Angeles] at 8 p.m. When I got there they gave me the award, took some pictures, and we had dinner. When we all left the room, I left the plaque there. I assumed that somebody was responsible for keeping an eye on it. It just disappeared."
Future Outland winners should be able to get a firmer grip on their awards.