You can tell when it's sticky and hot in America. My mail gets even crankier. Off we go ...ON DUSTIN JOHNSON AND STUPID GOLF RULES:
Rules are in place for a reason. There are no gray areas, a rule is a rule, plain and simple. Should we have discarded the "12 men in the huddle penalty" during the NFC championship last year that cost Minnesota a penalty? Surely that would not have affected the outcome, it was just a "mistake" that was made without any attempt for an advantage. Why do reporters and others want to single out golf as a game that is decided by "stuffy suits?"
-- Mark Olson (Lakeville, MN)
I wasn't saying we should discard a stupid rule once it's been violated. I was saying don't MAKE the stupid rule in the first place. Golf has turned stupid-rule-making into a science. There were two colossally lint-brained ones this week alone:
- 1. Jim Furyk was DQ'd from The Barclays in New Jersey -- the first week of the FedEx Cup playoffs -- because he missed his tee time at the Pro-Am. Not the tournament. The Pro-Am -- the six-hour skull-and-giggle that the stars on tour are required to play. His cell phone battery was dead and so his alarm didn't go off. It may end up costing him his crack at the $10 million first prize. That's an expensive battery. There's no reason in Hades that a golfer should be DQ'd from a tournament because he missed the Pro-Am. His score in it doesn't count! Furyk was there five minutes after the round started. They could've driven him out to join the guys. Where were they, the first green? And what, no warning system? One violation and you're out a possible $10 million. Worse, this is a rule that applies to only half the field -- the better-known players. Derek Lamely is not in danger of losing $10 million because he's not going to be asked to play in the Pro-Am. Patently unfair!
- 2. At the Safeway Classic last week in Oregon, Juli Inkster was stuck in a long delay. During it, she warmed up with a weighted practice club. A viewer saw her doing it on TV and called it in. She was DQ'd for using a practice aid during a round. Also totally unfair. The rule is fine. What's unfair is that only the popular players are on TV, so only the popular players are under the scrutiny of millions of TV viewers. Can you imagine if NFL fans could call in rule violations in football? I just saw Felix Jones holding a guy's jersey! It would be unfair to hugely popular teams like the Dallas Cowboys because they're seen way more often than the St. Louis Rams. Just as a rule should be applied evenly to all, so should the risk of breaking the rule be applied evenly. In both cases, it wasn't. Golf 2, Logic 0.
Rules are rules, even if they are stupid. What's more stupid is the idea of a golf course dressed up as a circus hippo having a major championship decided on it. You can have Pete Dye and his railroad ties and special ground rules and almost 1,000 bunkers. ("What, it's not a thousand? Dig 33 more!! Put 'em in the middle of the practice green.") Whistling Straits is a British Open course without bump and run, which means it's target golf like 95 percent of tournament courses. Years ago, the PGA Championship had bikini girls updating the scoreboard. That was more dignified than holding this major at a 200-acre glorified sand dune. The PGA is dead to me, DEAD!
-- Chris A (Bethesda, MD)
Well, Chris, you're going to hate the 2015 PGA and the 2020 Ryder Cup, because they'll both be at Whistling Straits. The problem at Whistling Straits is the design of it. If you're going to have 1,000 bunkers and treat them as bunkers, then you can't have tournaments with galleries. The galleries have to stand somewhere and that means they're standing, sitting, sleeping, eating and drinking beer in bunkers. And yet the PGA -- which runs both events, the PGA and the Ryder Cup -- keeps putting events there. Folks, you have to decide: bunker or grandstand? They can't be both.
I play at Bandon Dunes. Similar setup: lots of bunkers. Their rule: No rake, no bunker. No rake, it's a waste area in which a club can be grounded. Is this not obviously sensible?
-- Randy Omdahl (Grants Pass, OR)
Yes. And when thousands of people are traipsing through your bunkers, they're going to break, step on and steal your rakes, which is why they weren't there. It's a waste area, kind of like the board of director's room at Whistling Straits.
(In the Dustin Johnson rules column) you wrote "If he could have stolen two beers and popped the slide, he would have." I have never heard the expression "popped the slide." Enlighten me.
-- Paul Oliver (Kansas City, MO)
The phrase, "Take two beers and popped the slide" is based on this news story. It's about a JetBlue flight attendant who recently went double bat-guano crazy at a passenger, announced he was quitting on the PA system, took two beers out of the beverage cart, popped open the emergency door, deployed the slide and slid down it. So much for two weeks' notice. I'm hoping it becomes part of the vernacular.
"I swear, if my girlfriend gives me anymore crap this weekend, I'm taking two beers and popping the slide."
ON THE RYDER CUP:
I think the Ryder Cup team should pay tribute to Payne Stewart this year through their uniforms. It has been around a decade since the world lost a wonderful human being (11 years in October). The team should wear knickers, tam-o'shanters and sweater vests for the competition. Please help make this happen.
Tell you what, Mike. How about you go up to Tiger -- maybe when he's lifting -- and tell him he's got to where knickers and a tam o' shanter. I'll handle your estate.ON NOT EVER BELIEVING BRETT FAVRE EVER AGAIN (RILED UP)
The NFL is pushing a new holiday -- August 2nd, GroundFavre Day. If Brett leaves his house & sees his shadow, he stays retired for another 6 weeks.
--Atlee Anderson (Huntsville, AL)
And if he sees three teammates, he plays another year.ON DEFENDING USC FOOTBALL COACH LANE KIFFIN:
I'm not expecting Lane Kiffin to be in remotely the same universe as John Wooden, but John Wooden passed up his dream job (at Indiana) because he gave a school (UCLA) his word over the phone. Lane Kiffin signed on the dotted line (at Tennessee) and skipped town. Dream job or not, what's the point of signing a contract these days?
-- Dave LaCasse (West Allis, WI)
Do you even GET cable? This happens now in every sport at every level. A coach or a player bolts his current situation for a better deal, with the rest of the contract being bought out by the big fat cats of the new school. I'm afraid there are very few Woodens out there anymore, least of all Kiffin.
How did Kiffin have no hand in what is happening to USC (NCAA probation) when he was at USC while Reggie Bush was playing? I don't think for a second only Pete Carroll knew what was going on. Every coach knew and had a hand in it but head coaches take the heat. Kiffin probably handled making Reggie Bush happy so well he was named recruiting coordinator the year he left in 2005.
--Justin Shaw (Knoxville, TN)
Wow. Assume much? You're right that Kiffin (2001-06) was at USC with Bush (2003-05), but Kiffin's name was not mentioned in the NCAA violations listed. You say only head coaches take the heat, but USC running backs coach Todd McNair got a one-year recruiting ban and his contract was not renewed. (McNair is appealing.) Perhaps you want to rephrase your argument?
To say ... "Lane Kiffin is just being loyal to USC" does not take away the disloyalty to UT. Tennessee hired him when no one else would, after his episode with the Raiders. The whole state praised him through all the stupid things he said, the stupid things he did and the stupid coach he was. We wanted him here for years, not one year. That was a promise he gave to us. ... Just because an idiot starts to say logical things, it doesn't take away from his previous idiotic statements. Lane Kiffin is still a terrible coach. He has still yet to do anything worthy enough to be considered a great coach. ... I know it's obvious that I am just another Tennessee fan angry at Kiffin.
Noooooooo! Look, I know Kiffin has made silos full of mistakes and said more stupid things than a newlywed game contestant. I know he comes off sometimes as a spoiled, rich brat. I know his ethical compass may point south a lot. All I'm saying is the guy hasn't coached a single down at USC yet. Can you at least not start building the hanging gallows until he screws up a little?ON BLIND YANKEES FAN JANE LANG AND HER SEEING-EYE DOG CLIPPER :
Heartwarming. Almost makes this lifelong Yankee-hater want to cheer for the Yankees. For one game. Maybe. OK, one inning.
--Gaurav Guliani (Minneapolis, MN)
Plus, she's funny. People sometimes ask her if she ever gets lost in and around the giant, new Yankee Stadium. "Well, I've wandered into a few men's rooms," she says. "But only when sighted people were guiding me."
Ahhh, the now annual Yankee Hope Week "Who Gives a Damn" piece. Great work, Rick. Once again you nailed it. Another wonderful masterpiece that has nothing to do with the play on the field.
-- Geoffrey W. Greer (New York, NY)
Thanks, Geoff. And please call when they locate your heart.
Was her dog named "Clipper" for Joe DiMaggio "The Yankee Clipper"?
-- Gerry Calhoun (Bonaire, GA)
No, the dog was already named when she got him. But she gets a few laughs -- to say nothing of makes a lot of friends -- through Clipper. When the ump has made a bad call, she'll holler out, "Hey, ump! Wanna borrow my dog?"SPEAKING OF COACH WOODEN:
Twenty years ago, I got to meet Wooden at an event for suits. One of the Master-Of-The-Universe types asked Wooden about his greatest accomplishment. Wooden didn't miss a beat, "I was an Academic All-American at Purdue."
This CEO puffed himself up and retorted, "But what about all those championships at UCLA?" Wooden quipped, "I didn't make a single bounce pass or layup -- the boys did all that."
The CEO was now disoriented and looked lost. "I don't understand, Coach. You were their leader."
Wooden studied this guy for a minute and quietly asked, "Tell me, sir. Do you have many employees at your company?"
The guy was now back on top. "More than 60,000 and we did about $12 billion in revenue last year!"
Wooden's eyes twinkled as he asked, "Tell me, how much could you do all by yourself?"
The CEO fell quiet. Wooden had a point to all the outsized egos in the room -- you can only win with a team. It was a priceless moment with a timeless man.
He gave me a basketball that night. It is the only piece of memorabilia I treasure, not because he won, but because he stood for something besides winning. RIP Coach Wooden.
--James Brown (East Jordan, MI)ON RUNNING WITH THE BULLS IN PAMPLONA, SPAIN:
You know a sure-fire way to die in Pamplona? Be a BULL. Always been a big fan of yours, but I'm disappointed you could make such light of an event that leads to such a bloodbath. If you really want to test your manliness, run an ultramarathon.
-- Abbie Moore (Los Angeles, CA)
I heard from a lot of people who thought the run and the subsequent bullfight each night, in which all six bulls are killed, was cruel and bloodthirsty. Maybe it is. But the Spanish people treat the bulls with such reverence. If you touch a horn on any bull during the run, you'll get the snot beat out of you by the locals. I saw it happen. If you taunt the baby bulls in the ring and don't treat them with honor, you'll get pummeled. Saw that happen, too. These bulls were raised for this specific purpose -- the bullfight -- in a country where bullfighting has been in their blood for 4,000 years. I just don't see how you can sit in Los Angeles and judge their culture.
Have never seen that many drunk people at 8 a.m. in my life -- not even in college.
-- Kevin Critzer (Wilson, WY)
Just walking through the center of the town early one evening, I had enough sangria squirted, spilled and dumped on me that I could've wrung out my shirt and had a full glass. Good thing I'm a sportswriter. We're famous tee-totalers.ON RYO ISHIKAWA'S HEAD COVER OF HIMSELF:
Hey Rick, just read your post about the U.S. Open. I found a company who makes custom head covers. They do Ian Poulter's, too. It says they do custom orders, but only in quantities of 500-600. You can make one of your own head and start a fundraiser, "Stick a Piece of Metal Through Rick Reilly's Skull for Cancer Awareness." Don't worry, we can work on the name.
-- Scott K (Marlboro, NJ)
Geez, this is genius. Or, "Fill Rick Reilly's Head with Something."
Here's the site. You can also buy replicas of Gary McCord, not to mention Retief Goosen's goose, John Daly's lion, Pat Perez's boxing gloves (very cool) and Sergio Garcia's bull. Well, nobody buys Sergio's bull, but you get the picture.
ON PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES PITCHER JAMIE MOYER PASSING ROBIN ROBERTS AS BASEBALL'S ALL-TIME GOPHER KING:
Since Moyer pitched in the steroids era, that 506 has to have an asterisk next to it, meaning Roberts has the only "legitimate" number of home runs given up.
-- Eric Padol (Bronx, NY)
OK, that's very good.
With 506 homers served (at the time) and approximately 15 seconds to circle the bases, Jamie Moyer has had to endure over 2 HOURS of home run trots in his career.
-- Tan (San Francisco, CA)
Your comment that if Stephen Strasburg is still pitching at 47, you'll eat a gopher ... I'm pretty sure when Strasburg is 47, gophers will be eating you.
-- Matt Penrod (Columbus, OH)
Please don't outwrite the writer.
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- As a boy, Smith would spend long hours by himself in the park next to his grandmother's house, pretending to be the men he idolized.
- His dad was on the chain gang during his high school games. When son moved the chains, Dad moved the chains.
- This is what he wore when he arrived in Dallas as a rookie draft pick. Yes. Yes, he did.
- Smith was meticulous -- anal, even -- about everybody carrying out his assignment until the whistle. Once, Smith came back to the sideline after a circuitous, preposterous, mouth-dropping touchdown run. Wide receiver and teammate Michael Irvin was the first to greet him after it, and he was delirious.
"Oh, man!" Irvin said. "That was one of the greatest runs I've ever seen anybody make! The moves! The vision! Unbelievable, man, unbelievable!"But Smith wasn't smiling. In fact, he was burning hot. "How did you see all that?" he yelled at Irvin. "You were supposed to be ahead of me blocking!"
- He may have won the 2006 "Dancing with the Stars" title, but now he hates to dance. Abhors it. You can't drag him out on the dance floor now with a team of Caterpillar tractors. We tried.
- This is how good Smith was in high school: His offensive coordinator at Escambia High School, Jimmy Nichols, was offered a $25,000 Nissan Maxima to deliver him to a certain college football powerhouse. Here's his answer.
- In practice, Smith sometimes closed his eyes when he was handed the ball so that he could develop his other senses for tacklers. It sounded weird to us, too.
- Smith is the black Dick Vermeil. He'll cry at a Chevy commercial. He cried often and plenty during our night in Pensacola. One of the most poignant times, though, was when he discussed breaking the record of his hero, Walter Payton.
See all of Rick Reilly's Too Short For A Column
After spending three years searching for the world's dumbest sports for my new book "Sports from Hell," I realized I missed some very, very stupid ones.
You very bizarre people proved that by sending in 140 exceedingly brainless ones as part of our contest: Send Us Your Stupid Sports. Most of them involved new and inventive ways to turn your liver into a Rain Bird sprinkler.
But these three had an exceeding quality of idiocy and yet still were woven into the fabric of sport, which is why I love them so and why all three of you will be getting a signed copy of "Sports from Hell," assuming you didn't screw up your e-mail addresses, which is highly possible.
In an effort to experience the thrill of Roman gladiatorial games, my friends and I developed a Sharpie gladiator tournament. Stripped to their shorts and armed with two burrito-sized permanent markers apiece, competitors would do battle for a minute. Whoever had the least Sharpie on his body after the minute was the victor. Unfortunately, this event destroyed the apartment we hosted it in, punctuated by me being arm-barred through a window by an opponent who outweighed me by 150 pounds. Also unfortunate was the tendency of the felt-tip to get mashed back into the plastic part of the marker. In the heat of the moment, no one would notice this, and most of us still have scars from lacerations caused by the damaged markers.-- Nate Brooks (Atascadero, Calif.) Nate, when this becomes a Rusty Crowe blockbuster and you're at the Oscar party, hammered, and want him to sign one of your scars, make sure he does it with one of the historic Sharpies. Then we'll send it to the Smithsonian.
Me and my friends from college played a game we liked to call Ouch! To play Ouch! you need a yellow plastic Wiffle ball, and a bat with all the rules written on it. The rules are, at any time any day, one person can take the bat and crack you one anyplace but the jewels and the face. At the time of the hit, the victim has two reactions: If he says "Ouch!" he gets no rebuttal on the perpetrator. If however, he does not say "Ouch!" he gets a free hit on the guy who hit him, picking ANY body part minus the face. It's a 24/7 game where technically nobody wins, you just have to try to eliminate ouch or anything of the sort from your vocabulary. Even if you win one round, surely enough the next day, you'll step out of the bathroom after your morning shower and CRACK! Right across your chest comes that bat, you never even saw it coming, he was hiding behind the door frame!
-- William Donahue (Chicago, Ill.)The sheer male anvil-brained idiocy of this competition is what makes it great. One can see the gods on Olympus doing this on slow days. Who knew a guy's entire body could be within the strike zone? And the beauty of it is the very rules of the game prohibit it being passed on to your sons! 3rd Place:
Growing up in Iowa, we played this game of driver vs. passenger where we would drive down the road and yell "Hey Cow" out the window at any animal on your side of the road. If it was a cow, one point for each head that turned towards the sound. Horses are a bit smarter so you get five points. Ten points for a farmer. Minus one for each sheep. They're dumb. If one turns its head, they all do. Lots of fun to play when I brought home city kids on break during college. We definitely look like fools when playing.
-- Jason Gardner (Indianapolis, Ind.)
How many points for a Hawkeyes fan?
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FROM THE NOTRE DAME BOOKSTORE BASKETBALL 5-ON-5 TOURNAMENT
Irish We Were in Shape We Make the Ladys Gaga Ask Wesley Snipes if We Can Jump We Pass Like Healthcare Reform H1N1 Mixtape Tour: Off the Sneezy Toyota: Cause You Can't Stop Us Pauly D Snooki'd My Situation We Let Taylor Swift Finish Unlike Tiger Our Rebounds Don't Text Back We Saw Your Dad On Chatroulette Last Night LeBrontourage Gilbert Arenas and the Shooting Guards The McJaggernauts Just Do It -- No Not You Tiger
And the best of the lot ...Crouching Tiger Hidden Hydrant
Cash 4 Dunkers (from Matt, Charlotte, N.C.)
It Byrnes When We Peavy (from Josh, Tallahassee, Fla.)
Bumping Ugglas (from Craig Schwartz, Peoria, Ariz.)
Miracle Whipped ... and ...
Stair Roid To Heaven (both from Dave Duerr, Wilmington, N.C.)
Don't Toews Me Bro (from Eric, Newington, Conn.)
Breaston Plants (from Ricky McEntee , Swarthmore, Pa.)
The Furston Tenors (from Ned Gilblom, Dallas)
Favre Dollar Footlong ... and ...
Friday Natty Lights (From Dave White, Greenville, S.C.)
Malkin Tents (from Ben Peeler, Charlotte, N.C.)
Lunachicks ... and ...
Victorious Secrets (both from Suzy Kyle, Edmonton, Alberta)
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Bumped into former Pittsburgh Steeler Hall of Famer Lynn Swann this week at Augusta, although that's not unusual. Swann goes everywhere. He even ran unsuccessfully for governor of Pennsylvania. What was unusual about it was Swann was wearing a green jacket.
Swann is one of the newest members of Augusta National. If you know him, start buttering him up now before he changes his number.
He wouldn't talk about it. But I did find out he's played eight times already. Also, I found out he really doesn't need a fourth there any time soon.
To my knowledge -- and that's all we can go by here because Augusta National won't comment -- Swann became the first professional team athlete to ever get into the club.
Beats being the governor.
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Just as all preseason football polls should be illegal -- how can you rank teams who haven't played yet? -- so should there be a permanent ban on phony-as-Velveeta "Heisman Race" polls until halfway through the season.
Well, we're halfway through the season and anybody who still has Tim Tebow or Colt McCoy at the top of their polls must've just emerged from prison in Reykjavik.
The undisputed king right now is running back Mark Ingram, the main reason Alabama is undefeated and No. 2 in the BCS. He has the helmet, the right leg and the stiffarm already in his pocket.
Tebow? The man has only 8 passing TDs. Ingram has that many rushing, and another three receiving! Eight touchdowns? Oklahoma's Sam Bradford won a tight Heisman race last year with 50! Eight TDs? Does Tebow have the swine flu?
You say Tebow led the game-winning comeback for Florida against Arkansas. I say Tebow's six sacks and two lost fumbles were the reason his team was behind in the first place. Oh, by the way, Ingram has zero lost fumbles this year. He ran for 246 yards and 1 TD against South Carolina Saturday.
In fact, this would be my vote if I had to cast today:
4. Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
And yet, Tebow remains on top of Heisman polls now for no known apparent reason. If he were to win it in a rubber-stamp vote, it would be the worst miscarriage of the vote since Gino Toretta (1992). Pretend you never heard of Tebow or the fact that he will someday run the United Nations. The man ranks 84th in passing yardage. Eighty-fourth!
Ingram is the man now. He is on pace to run for over 1500 yards -- and most of that against merciless SEC defenses. He wears Johnny Musso's old No. 22, and -- not that it matters -- but Alabama still has never had a Heisman Trophy winner.
Remember, if we ran the world based on the polls people took before things got going, Hillary Clinton would be president today.
See all of Rick Reilly's Things I Yell at the TV
Spent the weekend in Austin, Texas, for the Austin City Limits Music Festival (best in show: The Airborne Toxic Event), some UT football reporting and my yearly lesson in How to Save Words, Texas Style.
My English-to-Texan dictionary:
Are you doubting that Colt McCoy is a fine quarterback? = You think ol' Colt cain't play?
Absolutely he can = Hail he cain't!
You should consider attending = You prolly orta go.
You and your friends would do well to consider attending = All y'all prolly orta go.
Perhaps we should do that = We might could.
You and your friends probably shouldn't have hijacked the Sooner Schooner = All y'all prolly ort not a stolt the Schooner.
Since you and your friends each own very slow boats, is it possible to transport everybody at once on them? = Can all y'all's trawls haul all y'all?
See all of Rick Reilly's The Ricktionary
Five Things I Learned The Hard Way From Anchoring SportsCenter from L.A. Last Week:
1) Don't forget your pants.
I thought my pants were on the same hanger as my coat. They weren't. So I thought, "No problem. I've heard anchors just wear jeans with their suitcoats anyway, because you can't see the pants under the desk on the set. That would've worked, except I had to do a stand-up that night. So I had to borrow Stan Verrett's pants. Beautiful fabric. They fit perfectly. Please do not tell Stan.
2) When the man is counting down in your ear, it does not mean you are supposed to just stop talking and listen to the man count.
Very bad. Very, very bad
3) Sometimes the top 10 plays are not just 10.
Sometimes they are 11. This is something I did not know. For instance, on Friday night, when it came time for me to give the No. 2 top play of the night, I had no idea that the paragraph underneath that play on the shot sheet was ALSO No. 2. Apparently, the same outfielder had thrown out TWO people that night, so some clever PA in Bristol decided to make it a two-part top play. (I am now philosophically opposed to this idea.) I just finished my one highlight and looked up with a self-satisfied grin, oblivious. Luckily, my co-anchor, Neil Everett, possibly the smartest and kindest man in the world, saw that I was about to blunder and picked me up. He said, "Wow, you got a double top 10 play! Your luck! Because (such-and-such outfielder) gunned down (such-and-such runner) at the plate three innings later!" So it all came off as though we'd actually planned it. I can honestly say I would have Neil Everett's baby.
4) You do not have to sit perfectly erect the entire 60 minutes.
In fact, you hardly have to sit erect at all, only during the times that you're on camera. I did not realize this. Apparently, I sat there like the Lincoln Memorial without so much as crooking an eyebrow for 60 minutes, much to the amusement of the camera guys. And my back and stomach were sore for two days afterward.
5) There is no delete key.
It's live, so if you screw up, it's out there. Or, as Chris Berman told me, "It's off to Pluto and possibly Uranus. Let it go." But when you get it right, it's a rush like you used to get playing high school sports. And on the rare occasions I did get it right, I kept turning to high-five Neil. But it turns out when I stopped talking, that meant it was Neil's turn to talk, so that didn't go over all that well.
Perhaps that's six.
See all of Rick Reilly's Stick to Sportswriting Genius
U know what? I think i'll try to sneak a little fastball by him here. —Ralph Branca, 1951
Anybody seen my helmet? —Thurman Thomas, 1992
There's like a minute left in this stupid Super Bowl and I've only got two catches. I'm SO signing with the Bengals. —David Tyree, 2008
Forget Carmelo Anthony. Forget Dwyane Wade. The Detroit Pistons are about to take the No. 2 pick and make NBA draft history! —Joe Dumars, 2003
Damn, I hate fighting hungry. —Mike Tyson, 1997
We only need to dispense with the puny Americans, then knock off Sweden and the gold medal is ours! Long live the Revolution! —Vladislav Tretiak, 1980
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As popularized on Facebook, let me be the 100 millionth American to tell you "25 Random Things About Me."
(1) I was once on the game show "Scrabble," hosted by Chuck Woolery. Won $3,000.
(2) Reggie Jackson once threatened to throw me out of his private plane over the Hopi Indian Reservation in northwest Arizona. He wasn't kidding.
(3) I've holed shots from the fairway six times but never had a hole-in-one.
(4) I'm allergic to dogs, cats, horses, cows, sheep, everything. Covering the Kentucky Derby just about kills me.
(5) When I was 19, I worked the graveyard shift at Lavito's All-Night Sandwich Shop in Escondido, Calif., where there was a baseball bat under the cash register in case we got robbed.
(6) I really hate to write. Abhor it. I write at restaurants and bars, so I don't feel so abjectly alone.
(7) I originally tried to be a broadcaster, but the guy said my voice was too nasal.
(8) I'm married to the 1980 Junior Miss California.
(9) President Gerald Ford once stepped on my foot.
(10) I was once in a car with Charles Barkley when the steering wheel came off in his hands. Yes, he was sober.
(11) Howard Cosell is the biggest jerk I ever met. Nasty, nasty guy.
(12) I can do magic tricks, just enough to annoy people.
(13) My brother gives me an amazing amount of good column ideas.
(14) I've never covered the Indy 500, but in 31 years of sportswriting, I guess I've covered everything else.
(15) I've been a grocery bagger, rental-shop clerk, lawn mower, book packer, 7-Eleven cashier, flower deliverer, bank teller, gas jockey and car washer.
(16) When I first started out at Sports Illustrated at 27, I was so nervous I had to be hospitalized twice with stomach ulcers.
(17) My sons have strawberry hair and my daughter is from Korea. They are much cooler than me.
(18) I was so short in ninth grade that the jocks used to pick on me. Then I grew 10 inches in two and a half years.
(19) I won a writing contest in first grade and they put my story up in a bank window.
(20) The moment North Carolina State upset Houston in Albuquerque in the 1983 NCAA basketball final is the loudest sound I've ever heard.
(21) Tiger Woods sometimes gooses me when he passes from behind.
(22) I once drove a 1965 Volvo with a hole in the floorboard so big you could watch the road go by under your feet.
(23) I often wish I'd been Harry Connick, Jr.…Or Bill Gates Jr.
(24) I've been to every state but North Dakota.
(25) Person I'd most like to meet: Dave Barry.
See all of Rick Reilly's Was I in Traffic School with That Guy?
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- Reilly: Alfred G. Rava takes A's to court
- NCB: Teams, systems and players to watch
- Derrick Rose on what it means to rep Chicago
- The Mag: Fashion Forward
- Harvick embraces role as Earnhardt's heir
- The unlikely backstory of NASCAR's most promising new drivers
- The Mag: How to crash
- The Mag: Athletes' kids finding prep success
- Mag: Inside the NCAA's Eligibility Center
- The Mag: The top 20 recruiters
- The Mag: The stories behind Georgia State football
- The Mag: The journey of Alexi Ogando
- Roenigk: Mark Ingram is tough to bring down
- Mag: Singletary's reshaping of Niners
- Mag: The rise of the Blackhawks
- Olney: October baseball is amazing
- The Mag: Ron Artest on himself
- The Mag: Pros share the best advice they got
- Bergeron: A look at the side careers of eight athletes
- Player X: In praise of quiet, rich owners
- Mag: Packers are best franchise in sports
- Reilly: Rocco didn't beat Tiger, but you'd think he did
- Simmons: It's hard to say goodbye to David Ortiz
- Blowing $66,000 on a College World Series game ... yeah, that qualifies as a meltdown.
- Racing needs to find a way to let drivers attempt to win both Indy and in Charlotte on the same day.
- The Gamer: Mike Swick and Rampage Jackson are avid gamers
- Bill Curry brings Georgia State football to life.