- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
"Hey," I said, totally insulted, "I don't do no auditions." What I really said was, "Hey, call your buddy Chris Evert. I've hit with her." Well, I had—when the President's and my close personal friend was about 12.
"Hey," said Barbara Bush, playing Bad Cop Babs again. "Don't think we won't call Chris."
The next morning I was whisked aboard Fidelity, whereupon the President introduced me to "Bob Gates, who is just about to catch something." While Gates, the nominee for director of the CIA, gazed out to sea, looking for either a school of blues or the Senate Intelligence Committee, POTUS informed me I had been approved for the tennis game that would take place when we got back.
"Ranking Committee called Chrissie," said the President. Sure, POTUS. "Say, how do you know Chrissie, anyway?"
"Oh, I helped invent her," I said.
"Well, I was the first one she told she was pregnant—after her husband," he said, ever the one-upman.
Though I live on the ocean, swim in it and love boats, I don't do fish. Never have, never will. Nevertheless, the President's enthusiasm for the rod and reel and the chase and catch is so palpable, it is almost infectious. Almost. "There they are! Look at that!" POTUS called out as he trolled for blues. "Damn, it's exciting when they come up top like that! They're in a feeding frenzy! See that? See 'em?"
"Wow!" I said. I couldn't see squat.
On the way back to land, the President took the wheel and let out the throttle to 39 knots or so, obviously relishing an attempt to lose the multitude of panicked guard boats scrambling to catch up. Four years ago, when Bush pulled this James Bond-style speed number, NBC news correspondent Tom Pettit was caught unawares, went flying and hurt his back. Pettit was in a back brace, and he still has back pain. "Yeah, I remember! Quite a spill!" screamed POTUS over the combined roars of the wind, waves and engines. "Now watch yourself."
He banked Fidelity left, toward the rocks abutting Ocean Boulevard, and then cut a sharp right back to his home on the promontory. Riding shotgun, I found myself hurtling practically into the sky as the President, on my right, almost seemed to be underwater, so low was his side of the boat as he curled into the pier. "Boy that's neat, isn't it?" he said. "I love that part." Needless to say, POTUS's friends in the trailing boats don't feel quite the same about that part.