- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
How did American prisoners of war kill time? By playing imaginary golf, imaginary football and imaginary chess, it seems. Colonel George Hall of Hattiesburg, Miss, says he played 18 holes of golf in his mind daily. "I parred every hole," he reports. Major Murphy Neal Jones of Baton Rouge, once a linebacker at Tulane, relived his high school and college games. " Tulane's games came out much better," Jones said. "We beat LSU every year." ( Tulane has not beaten LSU since 1948). Lieut. Bruce Seeber of West Monroe, La. played chess mentally. And then there was Lieut. Colonel Thomas Curtis of Alexandria, Va. When he found out about people like Colonel Hall playing 18 holes of imaginary golf every day, Curtis says that he kept busy by worrying about their sanity.
Raoul Rodriguez, deplaning from Colombia at New York's Kennedy Airport with a bowling bag, looked nervous. "Why should a man carrying a bowling bag look nervous?" the customs officers asked themselves. So they took Rodriguez aside for questioning. Rodriguez did not look less nervous. The inspectors drilled into the bowling ball and struck $300,000 worth of cocaine, destroying some wild trips down the alleys.
Frank Stranahan, the longtime former amateur golf champion, used to walk and stand and wait as a young man, just as all golfers do. Now, at 50, Stranahan runs and runs some more—as marathon racers do. Last week he finished a St. Louis Marathon course in three hours and 38 minutes, quicker time than he sometimes required for 18 holes of golf, and ended 71st in a 105-man field. "I run when I get time, mostly in an area near Yankee Stadium," says the Champion Spark Plug heir. Stranahan worked his way up from six miles a week to 50, but then had to cut back. "I got water on the knee and I lost all my toenails," he says.
Peter Traynor, a young multimillionaire who started by turning an afternoon job mowing lawns into an $18,000-a-year part-time landscaping business by his junior year in high school, has an interesting explanation for his money collecting. "I would rather play the game of money than do anything else," Traynor says. "I amass money because it measures the success of what I am doing, the way time measures a runner's speed. I am compelled to know how good I am." He's pretty good at his game. His Leverage Funding Systems, which invests money for that affluent group, physicians, made a $2 million profit last year. And the sports metaphor comes naturally. Another Stranahan, Traynor rises at 6:30, drives his $20,000 Mercedes from Beverly Hills to UCLA and jogs seven miles.
The average charity ball is about as exciting as a slow drizzle, but the wives of Dallas Cowboy players recently put on a benefit for the Girls' Adventure Trails that was different. This one included an auction, and on the block was Linebacker Chuck Howley's jersey, No. 54. The opening bidder? His wife Nancy, who has hinted broadly that after 14 years in the NFL her husband might cast about for something else to do. Spotting the plot immediately, Chuck shouted, "You're not retiring my jersey!" and spiritedly bid up the price. The jersey eventually went for $475—to Nancy. Moaned Chuck, the first player who ever had to pay to retire his own jersey, "It only cost $5."
The Texas A&M basketball coach, Shelby Metcalf, is writing a Ph.D. dissertation entitled "An Investigation of Variables Affecting Crowd Behavior at Basketball Games in the Southwest Conference." How did he choose the subject? Well, Metcalf was involved in an A&M-Baylor free-for-all at Waco last year, and he started his project shortly afterward. "I got blamed for the fight," he explains, "and I wanted to see how much of a part I really did play."
Ernie Nevers, one of the alltime football players, underwent knee surgery last month—at age 70. Nevers said he remembered exactly when it started to hurt. "It was the game at Portsmouth 40 years ago. It's been awful the last three years. I can hardly walk, can't play golf...terrible. There was no cartilage left." His wife added, "My advice to Joe Namath is to take his celebrated knees and get out of football."
Bowie Kuhn was telling how he visited Disney World and was assigned one of those attractive girl guides to show him around. Knowing she had an important guest but apparently forgetting just exactly who, the girl kind of hemmed and hawed and finally asked, "Sir, may I ask what your business is?" "I'm the commissioner of baseball," Kuhn replied. "Oh," said the girl. She paused. Then she blurted, "What ever became of Branch Rickey?"
There's this odd situation at the University of Southern California. No fewer than three head coaches in three major sports have sons playing for them. Football Coach John McKay found Split End J. K. McKay a very noticeable help.
Basketball Coach Bob Boyd is more than happy to have 6'7" Bill at forward. And now on deck for the baseball season are Coach Rod Dedeaux and son Terry, an excellent infielder" and hitter. If this be nepotism, USC makes the most of it. The Trojans won national championships in both football and baseball last year, and the basketball team is going to the NIT this next Saturday.