By Laura Boswell
Special to Page 3

When Phidippides completed the world's first marathon in 490 B.C., a whole sorority of buxom, toga-bound beauties likely awaited him at the finish line.

But I'd be willing to bet at the afterparty those Greek groupies rushed the hot lyre player, leaving Phidippides crying into his nectar.

Rock gods and jock gods. They make us pay big dollars for bad seats, cry like Dick Vermeil and rip our clothes off faster than Jessica Simpson plays dumb to a camera.

What's the big deal?

Guitars and bats, Freud would probably say. And as for the ladies, well, it wasn't her, er, backswing that made Anna Kournikova famous. (It was for J. Lo.)

But which idols are more worth our devotion, athletes or musicians? Who has it better? From their escapades to their Escalades, P3 compares and contrasts today's modern warriors and warblers in several key areas:

Rock Gods vs. Jock Gods
Category  
Rock
 
Jock
  Advantage
Hair:   The music world praises spindly, leather-clad rockers for long locks and dumb dye jobs.   No singer can compete with the coifs on Ben Wallace and Johnny Damon.   Jock gods
Movies:   Spinal Tap and KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park. You just don't see movies like Bend It Like Bon Jovi (and why would you want to?)   Rudy and Chariots of Fire.   Jock gods
Groupies:   It's beautiful women who strip off their tops.   Heavyset, hirsute guys in rainbow wigs.   Rock gods
Toughness:   Gets injured dancing (see Britney Spears, who recently blew out a knee during a video shoot and had to cancel her tour).   Athletes get injured landing catches.   Jock gods
Lifting:   Singers do bicep curls with cigarettes.   Athletes do them with weights.   Jock gods
Sweating:   Rockers only sweat at concerts and IRS audits.   Athletes sweat at mini-camp, training camp, conditioning, lifting, games.   Jock gods
Clothing:   Musicians can get their clothes at Goodwill.   Athletes have to buy their clothes tailor-made at big and tall stores, unless you're David Beckham and it's Today's Metrosexual.   Rock gods
Competition:   Chingy doesn't have to break down tapes of the latest Snoop Dogg concert.   Athletes watch hours of video to study opponents' plays.   Rock gods
Excitement:   Even the best and longest guitar solo can't hang with ...   a snow-swirled, sudden-death field goal or a third-overtime slam dunk.   Jock gods.
Hygiene:   Rock gods wear the same leather pants for a week at a time.   Jason Giambi wears deodorant (and women).   Jock gods
Manners:   Spit fake blood.   Spit real blood. Unless you're Roberto Alomar or Keith Hernandez (actually Roger McDowell) on Seinfeld and you spit, well, spit.   Rock gods
Acting:   Singers can usually transfer from music to acting fairly seamlessly (Elvis, Bing Crosby, Mark and Donnie Wahlberg).   Athletes cannot (Shaq, Dennis Rodman, Brian Bosworth, Mitch Gaylord in American Anthem). But like Pete Sampras and Jason Sehorn, athletes can always marry actresses instead. (PS: Sorry, athletes, you can't sing either. Think Deion Sanders or the entire 1985 Chicago Bears Super Bowl team.).   Neither
Playing time:   Musicians can suck at sports. It's for charity.   If jocks suck, it's their jobs.   Rock gods
Popularity:   In high school, the rockers were the guys in the trenchcoats and black eyeliner, playing Stairway to Heaven alone on their guitars in the quad during lunch period.   Athletes were usually the BMOC's.   Jock gods
Wardrobe malfunctions:   Female singers show their bras and get felt up by Justin Timberlake.   The only time female athletes show their bras on national TV is after they've won the World Cup.   Jock god(desse)s
Performance:   In stadiums, rockers say: "Here's one from our new album."   Athletes announce "heads" or "tails."   Jock gods
Vanity:   Boy bands wax to look good.   Athletes wax to win the Tour de France.   Jock gods
Fights:   When singers fight, it's Courtney Love.   When athletes fight, it's because of passion, testosterone and a will to win.   Jock gods
College:   Both groups can skip it ...   and it's acceptable.   Push
Retirement:   Old rockers keep schlepping around forever, looking like Ozzy Osbourne and strapping on Depends in the backstage dressing room.   Old athletes tend to fade away gracefully.   Jock gods
Souvenirs:   The only balls thrown around (we hope) at concerts are beach balls, and they're not worth a damn on eBay.   Just watch the kayakers when Bonds cracks a homer into McCovey Cove.   Jock gods
Equipment:   Musicians play with "pretend" axes.   ESPN Outdoors competitors play with real ones.   Jock gods
Events:   You have to worry about a bourbon delay -- if they show up at all.   With jock god games, you only have to worry about a rain delay.   Jock gods
Stature:   Rock stars always get "You're shorter than I expected" from fans.   Shaq will never have to worry about that.   Jock gods
Drugs:   Rock gods take heroin and die.   Athletes take steroids and live. But their reproductive organs shrink. At least they can't produce offspring who make such dumb decisions.   Push

In the end, the jock gods are the overwhelming winners, but athletes and musicians will always have a symbiotic relationship.

And it started long before Beyonce crooned the National Anthem, or Ludacris wore throwback jerseys. My mom's boyfriend, Dick, played high school football with Elvis Presley. He says the coach kicked Elvis off the team because he wouldn't cut his hair. Meanwhile, the bigger guys on the team made fun of the shy, pomade-haired mama's boy with the ice blue eyes and pouty mouth.

Five years later, Dick claims, those same guys worked as Elvis' bodyguards, protecting him from legions of screaming girls. Maybe the rock gods do have the upper hand after all.

Hmmm. Anna Kournikova (and her backswing) have now been with both a famous athlete (Sergei Fedorov) and a famous musician (Enrique Iglesias). Maybe we should ask her.

Laura Boswell covers sports and the city in and around Washington, DC. Turn-ons: The Daily Show, board games and a really good vodka tonic. Turn-offs: Fur coats, diet soda and weak penalties for parole violators. She can be reached at lauraeboswell@comcast.net.