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First off, let's get this straight: It's OK to cry.
The Man Upstairs must think it's OK to cry, otherwise he wouldn't have given us tear ducts, the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team or "Brian's Song." It's even OK to cry at sports. Think of Jordan cradling the NBA championship trophy. Think of Tiger hugging his father after his first Masters win. Think of Dolphins lineman Manuel Wright, leaving practice after Nick Saban embarrassed him.
Wait. Scratch that last one.
Still, there have been some legendary criers through the years. Adam Morrison's display last week after Gonzaga's Sweet 16 loss put him in good company. Lou Gehrig himself brushed one away while telling the world he was the luckiest man on the face of the earth. And Babe Ruth cried, too -- but that was only because his favorite speakeasy and hot dog stand were closed on the same night.
They said Alexander the Great conquered the world, and then cried, because he had nothing left to conquer. Truth was, he had just gotten the tragic word that he would be played on film by an overmatched Colin Farrell thousands of years later. Who could blame him?
It's enough to make you wonder: Who wouldn't cry at sports? It seems the natural order of things that the wild swings of emotion, the utter exhaustion and the pain of defeat or the joy of victory would break us all down into tears of pathos at some point in our sporting lives. Surely, we've all felt the sting of the youth baseball loss, the Friday night football game lost at the gun or the crumble of a three-team teaser when hosed by a ref's brutal call.
So who wouldn't cry? It would take a robot, an automaton or a cyborg -- but enough about Alex Rodriguez. Let's run down a list of our Top 10 Sports Figures Who Won't Cry or Never Did Cry, Even if You Showed Them A Film Festival of "Field of Dreams," "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Hoosiers" On a Day When Their Allergies Were Acting Up:
1. Bob Knight
Behind closed doors, you get the feeling he's a big softy. He even was rumored to have cried with his Hoosiers after getting fired in 2000. But in public, no dice. Scowl City. It's tough to cry when you're constantly pissed off.
What might make him cry: If he were ever denied the opportunity to belittle a media member again.
2. Bill Parcells
There is no record of Parcells crying, except to shout at loafing wide receivers, "For crying out loud, get your butt in gear!" Or to shout at overweight linemen, "For crying out loud, push away from the dinner table!"
What might make him cry: The emotion of a 350-pound center coming to Parcells and saying: "Coach, I did it. I'm on Weight Watchers. Would you like a baby carrot?"
3. Ted Williams
Teddy Ballgame was putty in the hands of a sick kid. But when it came to his sport? Pshaw. You're talking about the guy who hit a bomb in his last Fenway AB and produced a dis so legendary, it stirred something inside of John Updike. Even old age couldn't get the Splinter to crack. At the 1999 All-Star Game, The Kid was entirely in control of his emotions. While a nation bawled, he only wanted to ask Mark McGwire if he ever smelled wood burning on a foul tip.
What might have made him cry: If McGwire answered by saying: "When you hit .406, were you on Deca or Winstrol?"
4. Billy Martin
It's tough to cry when you're partying with Whitey and Mick. Life's too much fun.
What might have made him cry: If Mick had said after a game: "Aw, Billy, I'm just not up for it tonight. I'm going home to watch Netflix with Merlyn."
5. Bear Bryant
Tough Southern football coaches don't cry. It's just in the book, is all. Besides, tears are unbecoming to a houndstooth hat.
What might have made him cry: Given that Bear could take his'n and beat your'n, and then take your'n and beat his'n, Bear might get verklempt if your'n ever did beat his'n. But it would never happen.
6. Shaquille O'Neal
Shaq Fu doesn't cry. It doesn't go with the glare or the impish humor.
What might make him cry: If somebody told him Spider-Man wasn't real.
7. Ivan Lendl
Incapable of emotion. He had the same wiring as Jaime the Robot, played by Dick Gautier in the old "Get Smart" episodes.
What might have made him cry: Nothing. Incapable of emotion. He had the same wiring as Jaime the Robot, played by Dick Gautier in the old "Get Smart" episodes.
8. Bill Belichick
No time for crying. Too much film to watch. Too many game plans to write. Not only is there no time for crying, there's no time to eat, sleep or go any deeper in the closet than a gray hooded sweatshirt.
What might make him cry: If somebody stole his film projector, game plans or gray hooded sweatshirt. Then, and only then, would you get the lone tear down the cheek, a la the Native American from the anti-litter ad in the 1970s.
9. Tom Brady
No time for crying. At least that's the way he's been coached, by Bill Belichick.
What might make him cry: If Belichick told him: "Somebody stole my film projector, game plans and my gray hooded sweatshirt."
Horses don't cry. Do they?
What might have made him cry: If somebody told him "Mr. Ed was only in it for the money and not for making quality comedy." But Secretariat wouldn't cry. He's a horse. And horses don't cry. Do they? He'll leave that to humans. Speaking of which, it's time to scoot: I think "Rudy" is on HBO.
E-mail Brian Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org.