A Fungus Among Us
Worms, turtles, caterpillars. These are a few of the favorite things that China's band of preternatural women runners apparently chug-a-lugged before setting world records in the 1,500-, 3,000-and 10,000-meter runs at China's National Games in Beijing in September. Chinese track coach Ma Junren credited the binge of improbable records to a soup made from soft-shell river turtles, a potion extracted from worms and a tonic derived from caterpillar fungus. Ma said he would be happy to sell the recipes because "we always need funds to buy turtles."
The best two-sport college star since Bo Jackson, Florida State point guard and quarterback Charlie Ward led the basketball Seminoles to the Final Eight of the NCAA tournament and the football team to the brink of the national championship. On the court Ward averaged 7.8 points and 5.5 assists; on the field he passed for 3,032 yards and 27 touchdowns, a performance that easily won him the Heisman Trophy. Ward will have a say in who's No. 1 for '93 when Florida State faces unbeaten Nebraska in the Orange Bowl on New Year's night. Still, is his future on the parquet or in the pocket? "I think basketball would be his first love," says Seminole football coach Bobby Bowden, "simply because he can live longer."
A Cleveland Indian cap pulled low on his eyes, Bob Ojeda walked from the bullpen and once more headed for the pitcher's mound. Almost five months had passed since the March 22 boating accident that had killed teammates Steve Olin and Tim Crews. Ojeda, who suffered a head injury in the accident, was the sole survivor. And on the night of Aug. 7, at Camden Yards in Baltimore, he found the strength to go on with his major league career. The 46,424 onlookers understood Ojeda's struggle and cheered him. "It's not unappreciated," he said. "I feel the applause was not just for me but for Oly and Crewser."
The Heart Of a Lion
Undaunted by the cerebral palsy that impairs his muscle control, 14-year-old Avian Drummonds (below) made the wrestling team at the Cincinnati Academy of Physical Education. "I just wanted to be treated like everyone else," said the 5'1", 92-pound freshman. "I don't think that's too much to ask." Though constantly outweighed and outmaneuvered by stronger opponents in the 103-pound weight class—Avian lost all 17 of his matches—he inspired teammates with his courage and fortitude. "He has the heart of a lion," said Cincinnati Academy wrestling coach Roy Hyden. "He has trouble running, but he won't stop until he falls. He gets up, apologizes and runs some more."
King Of Waves
In Pat Conroy's 1986 novel Prince of Tides, John McKissick was hailed as "a maker of dynasties." On Oct. 8 the Summerville (S.C.) High football coach was hailed as a breaker of records. That was the day the Green Wave crushed Wando High 42-0 for McKissick's 406th victory—most ever by a high school coach. A disciplinarian who doesn't allow his players to wear earrings, to showboat or to get "girlie haircuts," the 67-year-old McKissick has presided over nine state championships, 23 conference titles, a 41-game winning streak and only one losing season.
High on The Rockies
Baseball came to the Rockies, and a record 4,483,350 fans came to see the expansion Colorado Rockies—more than went to watch the New York Mets and Yankees combined. Hell, if only 48,768 showed up at Mile High Stadium in Denver, it was a bad crowd. In finishing its first season with a 67-95 record, Colorado won 27 more games than the 1962 Mets and eight more than the '93 Mets. Swinging at a lusty .370 clip, first baseman Andres Galarraga became the first member of an expansion team to win a league batting title. The only thing thinner than the Denver air was the Rockies' pitching staff: Their combined ERA was a mile-high 5.41.
Something In the Air
His race tactics at the 1992 Olympics were disputed when he finished a disappointing seventh in the 1,500 meters. But nobody questioned Nourredine Morceli's strategy on Sept. 5 when the 23-year-old Algerian broke the world record for the mile in Rieti, Italy. His time of 3:44.39 clipped nearly two seconds off Steve Cram's 1985 standard. "I'd been close three times this season," Morceli said, "but never had good atmospheric conditions." The brisk mountain air helped him win by more than 11 seconds, with nobody close after his two pacesetters dropped out with 500 meters to go. Wrote Los Angeles Times columnist Mike Downey: "Some guy just ran the mile in 3:44. In Southern California, you can't drive a mile in 3:44."
It took all of two seconds for $5-an-hour office-supply salesman Don Calhoun to become a millionaire at a Chicago Bull game. Picked out of a crowd by a team staff member who liked his gold suede hiking boots, Calhoun swished a 79-footer during a third-quarter promotion. Of the 18 other fans who had tried to sink the three-quarter-court shot at Chicago Stadium, only one had even hit the rim. When an I insurance company refused A to cough up the million-dollar prize—Calhoun failed to sign a waiver saying he had not played high school, college or pro basketball for six years, when, in fact, he did play at Triton Community College outside Chicago in 1988-89—the Bulls and two corporate sponsors chipped in. "This is a joyous occasion, and I can't imagine anything recently that has brought this much excitement to the Bulls or the Stadium," said team owner Jerry Reinsdorf. "The fact is, he made a shot that nobody else could make, and he deserves it."
One Mo' Time, With Feeling
In a Beantown reworking of Pride of the Yankees, Boston Red Sox first baseman Mo Vaughn promised Jason Leader he would hit one out for the cancer patient's 11th birthday. Later that day, in the seventh inning of a game with the California Angels, Vaughn did just that. Recalling his telephone conversation with Jason before the blast, Vaughn said, "Here I was, 0 for 6 before the game and feeling bad about it, and he's trying to cheer me up. It makes you think about yourself."
The Word From Sean
In 1992 a team from Long Beach, Calif., lost in the championship game of the Little League World Series only to be declared the winner two weeks later when the Philippine team was stripped of the title for using ineligible players. In '93 the Long Beach team won the Little League championship again but this time on the field. A pinch-hit single by banjo-hitting Jeremy Hess in the bottom of the sixth put Panama away 3-2. Long Beach's most luminous star was Sean Burroughs (above), whose father, Jeff, was the 1974 American League MVP while an outfielder with the Texas Rangers. Sean pitched two no-hitters in the series, batted .562 and celebrated the Little League title by pulling the fire alarm in the team's dorm, causing the local fire department to crash the victory party. When a TV interviewer asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, the precocious 12-year-old said, "A gynecologist."