SI Vault
Rick Telander
September 30, 1985
On the field, Gary Fencik is a Bear of a player; off it, he's the upwardly mobile professional man
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
September 30, 1985

Pride Of The Yuppies

On the field, Gary Fencik is a Bear of a player; off it, he's the upwardly mobile professional man

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

The condo is huge and elegant and it gives Fencik all the refuge he needs. He walks past the dining room with its long glass table, where every year he has a formal dinner party for several of his closest friends—none of them ballplayers, all of them bright and witty and upwardly mobile.

He looks in his bedroom, where he has a water bed and a Jacuzzi. These aren't luxuries. They are, in Plank's words, "operating material." Fencik has had knee surgery and ankle surgery and a broken arm. As Ryan says, "His next big one will be it."

"I have to sleep on a water bed myself," says Plank. "But jeez, I saw Gary on TV, wearing a foam collar in a game. We always used to laugh at DB's who padded up, guys like Dave Elmendorf, who wore a tractor tire around his neck. I mean, a collar? Tell Gary I'm cracking up."

In his living room Fencik puts a record by Narada Michael Walden on the turntable. Fencik was in a music store in St. Thomas, V.I. in June, and the shop owner recommended the singer. Fencik bought the record and loves it. He bought it because it was an experience, as was the trip to St. Thomas itself. He and Julia had zipped down to the islands on the spur of the moment—because there was no reason not to—and had reveled again in freedom.

As the music pounds, Fencik talks about Julia. She's quite a lady—25 years old, sharp as a razor, degree in biology from Stanford (her father is the school's president), and now at Harvard Business School; she doesn't know exactly what she wants but she knows she wants it fast.

Wide receiver Ken Margerum introduced Gary and Julia to each other in Palo Alto last year. "Kenny thought we'd get along because he knew neither one of us will shut up," she says.

Fencik has had some girlfriends in his life—some real beauties, too, including a Playboy centerfold—but he has never had anybody as snappy and independent as this one. Initially, Julia had planned to go to grad school at Northwestern, to be near Fencik. Then she got accepted at Harvard, and of course she had to go there. As Fencik admits, "It's the ultimate network."

"We'll be a thousand miles closer than we were before," says Kennedy.

But as he sits in this lovely apartment, Fencik thinks about the difficulty of getting modern people together, of blending everyone's private wants and needs into something acceptable to all. Of course, as he has often said, he doesn't mind being alone.

The music is hypnotic. Now Murray Head and a chorus of what sounds like 50,000 geishas sing, "One night in Bangkok/ Makes a hard man humble." Fencik, who spent five nights in Bangkok, taps his foot and sinks into the couch. During a lull in the music he talks about Pamplona, about being in the streets with thousands of other young men running away from the bulls.

Continue Story
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8