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Wednesday, December 4, 2002
Updated: December 6, 1:30 PM ET
Inquiring minds want to know

By Bob Halloran
Special to Page 2

I bare my soul in columns like these, repeatedly admitting to the various and sundry things I don't know.

Scott Player
If Scott Player drops the ball and then punts it, where is the distance measured from?
What I do know is that in some small, perverse way, it's a cry for help. And I occasionally get the help I need.

Not too long ago, I confessed that I didn't know why field goals were measured from where the holder spots the ball, while punts are measured from the line of scrimmage. One reader wrote and explained: That's because they measure both kicks from the last place they touched the ground. That made perfect sense. With that information and Katie Couric's latest book club selection, I slept well that night.

But lately I've been waking up in cold sweats, wondering about a drop kick. If they measure punts and field goals from the last place they touched the ground, do they measure a drop kick from where it hits the ground, or from the line of scrimmage? Even answers bring new questions.

Will it ever end? It wouldn't appear so:

I don't know what's more irritating, Sergio Garcia's constant waggling or watching Peyton Manning readjust the offense at the line of scrimmage before nearly every play. I don't know why they even bother to huddle.

If I'm on the dance floor and the DJ plays "It's Raining Men," do I have to go sit down? It's got a great beat, but you really don't want to be caught singing along. "Alleluah, it's raining men!"

I only just realized that, alphabetically, Big 12 goes before Big Ten, because "Ten" is spelled out. If it were the Big Twelve, Big Ten would go first. Maybe they should just do it numerically.

I don't know if any athletes and coaches really circle dates on the calendars.

Frozen tundra is redundant. Tundra, by definition, is frozen. Even I know that.

I didn't know that college football counts sacks against a quarterback's rushing yards.

Homer and Marge Simpson
Bob Halloran might not have noticed, but Homer Simpson did.
I never noticed that Marge Simpson didn't have breasts until the recent episode in which she temporarily got the implants. Thirteen years -- who knew?

I don't know why announcers say: "You can throw out the records when these two teams face each other." I really don't think you're allowed to do that.

What's the deal with not saying "the" before the name of sports arenas. It's not even consistent. The Sixers play at First Union Center. The Blue Jays play at SkyDome. But the Giants play at "the" Meadowlands. Of course, the other Giants play at PacBell, not "the" PacBell. Do the Lakers play at The Staples Center, or simply "at Staples Center"? Or maybe I should ask: "Do Lakers play at Staples Center?" Maybe another thing I should do is check media guide for answer. That might be best way to settle matter.

When you get a sack, does it also go into the stats as a tackle?

Can a hockey player be sidelined?

How come when you use the "cap lock" on your keyboard, it only works on the letter keys and not the numbers or punctuation keys. I'M IN CAP LOCK RIGHT NOW AND I'LL PRESS THE NUMBER 8. IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN A *, BUT I HAD TO PRESS THE SHIFT KEY TO GET THE *. Why is that?

I don't know if this happens to you, but reading the word Beijing makes me think my vision has been blurred.

I don't know how generous they are about passing out Olympic medals. Take a basketball team, for example. I assume the head coach gets one. What about all the assistant coaches? The trainer? The person who shoots game film? Where does it end?

Possum Bourne, Mark Stacey
We don't know if rally driver Possum Bourne, left, is Irish either.
I didn't know the difference between a possum and an opossum, so I looked it up. They're the same thing. Possum is just short for opossum -- kind of like Halloran is short for O'Halloran. Apparently, possums are Irish. (I also learned they give birth 13 days after mating -- the possums, not the Irish. "Honey, I think I'm preg-- ... hey, it's a boy!")

I don't know if a bad return of a second serve counts as an unforced error.

I don't know how long a touchdown "plunge" can be. A 1-yard plunge. A 2-yard plunge. A 47-yard plunge? Football players seem to do more plunging than a janitor at a chili eating contest.

I don't know what I love more -- seeing a ref raising his arms to signal a touchdown as the player tosses the ball into his stomach, or candy.

And finally, I feel I must get the word out to parents. Mother Goose was a freak, and nursery rhymes are dangerous business. I was recently reading a book of rhymes to my 5-year-old, and the old standard: "Lady bug, lady bug, fly away home" was in there. Well, does anybody know the next line? I had no idea until I read it out loud. It goes like this: "Your house is on fire and your children are all gone."

So you see, little Timmy, Mommy left the children home alone and they apparently started a fire and perished. Nighty night!

I'm telling you, sometimes I just don't know.

Bob Halloran is an anchorman for ESPNEWS.