Huddling At the Altar
It was embarrassing enough when Diamond Hill High of Fort Worth lost its first three football games by a combined score of 167-0. It got worse when starting quarterback Javier Rodriguez got married, and 17 teammates skipped Game 4 to attend his Friday night bachelor party. After forfeiting the game—only 13 players showed up to take on Glen Rose—Diamond Hill dropped football altogether. Asked that Friday night what he and his team would do with the forfeit victory and no game to play, Glen Rose athletic director Joe Crouch said, "I don't know. We weren't invited to the wedding."
Losers Can't Be Choosers
Insulted by the Dallas Mavericks' four-year, $10.8 million offer, first-round draft pick Jim Jackson held out for the first 54 games of the NBA season. The Mavs, who until then had lost all but four games, paid him $3.6 million for the remaining 28. Dallas still finished 11-71, the second-worst record in league history.
A pitchman for Advil and Ben-Gay, 46-year-old fireballer Nolan Ryan was a physical marvel, adding hundreds of strikeouts to his alltime total every year. But after he announced on Feb. 11 that the '93 season, his 26th in the major leagues, would be his last, his body gave out. Ryan, who went on the shelf with knee, hip, rib cage and elbow injuries, pitched only 66⅓ innings for the Texas Rangers and struck out 46 to run his career record to 5,714. Unfortunately, the enduring memory of the Whiff King's final season was of the six rights he threw to the noggin of Chicago White Sox third baseman Robin Ventura, who charged the mound after getting hit on the elbow by a Ryan pitch in a game on Aug. 4. Asked if he had any fun this year, Ryan said, "No, not really."
The Houston Oilers docked tackle David Williams a week's pay—$111,111—for missing the Oct. 17 game at New England to witness the birth of his first child. "They ought to suspend him a week, maybe two," said Houston line coach Bob Young. "Everybody wants to be with his wife, but if World War II was going on and you said, "I can't fly. My wife's having a baby,' would we have won the war?" Even though Williams was AWOL, a few good men helped the Oilers vanquish the Patriots 28-14.
Leon Lett plays defense as if he were auditioning for a pigskin version of Show Boat. It was bad enough in the closing minutes of the Super Bowl when the Dallas Cowboy defensive tackle picked up a fumble at the Dallas 36, dashed downfield and, 12 yards from the end zone, held the ball aloft, brandishing it in preparation for a touchdown celebration. However, the ball was swatted from his grasp at the goal line by Buffalo Bill wideout Don Beebe, who had never stopped chasing him. Lett's touchdown became a touchback, and the fact that the Cowboys led 52-17 at the time probably saved his job. Amazingly, Lett let up a second time, in a Nov. 25 game against the Miami Dolphins, and made a mistake that cost his team a victory—and perhaps home field advantage in the playoffs. After Dallas blocked a Miami field goal attempt, Lett inexplicably dived past retreating teammates to cover the ball, instead of allowing it to roll dead. When he mishandled the ball, Miami regained possession at the Dallas one-yard line. Given a second chance, Pete Stoyanovich kicked the game-winning field goal in a 16-14 upset.
We Interrupt This Program
In the inane college football movie The Program, a suicidal quarterback presses his luck by lying in the middle of a highway as cars whiz past. Disney cut the scene after three teenagers were killed in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Texas, and several other teens were badly injured across the nation while i mimicking the stunt. Kids would have been better off imitating Dan Ruettiger, who, in the dopey but inspirational movie Rudy, offered himself as a human tackling dummy for Notre Dame before savoring his moment of glory.
Knucklehead Of the Year
As if Jose Canseco didn't look silly enough when a fly ball bounced off his head and over the fence for a home run in Cleveland on May 26, the Texas Ranger outfielder messed up his arm so badly in a relief-pitching stint three days later that he missed the last half of the season. Having worked on his curve and knuckleball, Canseco had been hounding new Texas manager Kevin Kennedy about letting him pitch, and then he nearly ruined both of their careers after the skipper caved in.
Losing Its Head
NCAA executive director Dick Schultz resigned in a huff over his alleged role in dozens of improper interest-free loans made by Virginia's booster club to athletes during his tenure (1981-87) as the Cavaliers' athletic director. During his abdication speech on May 11, Schultz, who swore he wasn't aware of the loans, said of his departure, "If you take that as an admission of guilt, you're dead wrong. There have been a lot of cheap shots taken, and I just felt if this was the type of thing that was going to continue every time we had an infractions case, it could come back and create the perception that the NCAA is a screwed-up organization." As one NCAA official said, "He sounded just like Clemson or somebody."
Two Duffers Get the Shaft
In a scene that didn't make the remake of The Three Musketeers, three duffers started fencing on the 7th hole of the Sabal Palm Golf Course in Tamarac, Fla. According to police Hugo Torres was on the 6th hole when Howard Policy and John Tennyson played through without asking permission. Incensed by this breach of links etiquette, Torres struck Tennyson on the back with his club. Polley then swung his club at Torres, who parried the blow. The head of Torres's club snapped off, and he stabbed Polley in the neck with the broken shaft. Polley was airlifted to the Broward General Medical Center for immediate surgery. Torres was charged with aggravated assault. One hopes golf is the last sport he takes a stab at.