# Thread: From The Sports Desk

1. caddy shack is such a good movie! im pretty good at remembering lines from movies but I wonder if I would have gotten that one. it might have been a function of how many years removed.

also by then I wasn't paying much attention to baseball anymore so for sure I would have failed "who won the world series last year?"

I have an old friend who is a fellow star trek fan. we have a line and reply from the voyage home

"so, you were at Berkeley?"
"I was not."

between the two, the Gallagher book is much more humorous, whacky and innovative. if you like sports in general, and some snark thrown into the weird things the authors got going on, it is a good read.

"could a morbidly obese goalie shut out an nhl team?'

"could an Olympic swimmer doggie-paddle and still beat a regular guy?"

"would a major league batting champion dominate in whiffle ball?"

and the raciest so far: "how easy is it for pro athletes to get laid? and how easy if it for a groupie to bag a pro athlete?"

2. ‘Stros won it, dominated in fact, as would an MLB pinch hitter playing whiffle ball in the park. I was hoping for a Padres - Mariners matchup. That’d a been more fun.

The full quote goes like this:

And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.
I think there may a problem of a thermodynamic nature with a goalie that large in the rink. I don’t remember too many formulas from my college days, but I do remember the ideal gas law from Thermo-1, “pivnert” or: PV=nrT, hence, pivnert. P is pressure, V is volume, T is temperature, n is quantity and r is a constant we don’t care about it. In plain English, a goalie that big would put so much Pressure on the tiny volume of ice under his blades that the Temperature’s gonna go to the moon, and change the nature of the H2O from a solid to a liquid and maybe even a gas. If he’s heavy enough, he could melt all the ice in the rink… Or maybe not. Donno. I got a C in Thermodynamics.

As for a pro athlete’s romantic prospects, I think a better question is, does a pro athlete do better than a lead guitar player. My guess is the rock-n-roller wins, which begs the question: why’re folks wasting so much time at the gym?

How many groupies bag a pro athlete? Well, if the athlete happens to be a man and that man happens to be heterosexual and the groupie happens to be a woman, then all she really has to do is smile at him and it’s a done deal. Am I right?

Swimming. An Olympic swimmer dog paddling will beat an average dude by a mile. A world class swimmer knows how to move through the water regardless of stroke, and he’s got feet the size of flippers and probably webbed fingers. However if the average dude ever swam on a team in school, all bets are off. A beach bather will splash and churn around in the water like a shark-bit seal, getting nowhere fast, but expending a tremendous amount of energy. A super-fit, chiseled gym rat will attack the water with purpose and exuberance, but other than doing an impression of a blender on purée, he isn’t going anywhere fast. But anybody who has ever swum competitively has learned stroke efficiencies and has a muscle memory that will send him up and down the pool at least as fast as an Olympic dog paddler. Swimming, in a way, is like a foreign language - it’s real hard to learn as an adult. You can learn a language as an adult, but your always going to have an accent and sound funny to native speakers. You can learn to swim as an adult, but you’re always going to look like a wounded seal to a competitive swimmer, or a shark.

3. Gunga galunga… gunga, gunga-galunga

let me hold you in temporary suspense for all the other ones Sancho (especially the whiffle ball one) and just tackle the obese goalie question.

I think that's an interesting view of the goalie, and one the author didn't take. although im confident in saying, in so much as pressure and temperature can be separated, itd just be pressure as the issue. its possible that could be addressed, if the rules allowed, by having double or triple blades, extending their length, and making them as thick as possible.

one of the retorts (there are a few) the author provided was that there are strict rules governing how large all the goalie's pads can be and that an obese person's body would not be sufficiently covered by them.

they got a competent college goalie and outfitted him with padding to make him the size of ~1000lb man, and recruited a handful of Washington capitals to shoot against him. some of the shots he was able to block, others hit what would have been his body. he said "And if that was my skin instead of padding I would be in the emergency room or dead right now."

4. Bah, I was just joking around with the PV=nrT equation. Any second year engineering student would point out the fallacy of modeling a fat man on the ice with the ideal gas equation. Nobody chimed in here probably because engineers don’t tend to frequent The Litnet. (Papayahed is an exception, but I haven’t seen her around here lately.) Even an C-student in liberal arts would probably raise the BS flag noting there are no ideal gases to analyze in the problem of an XXXL goalie in the rink. Except maybe methane, but that’s a whole other problem. Ice can sublimate into a gas, but H2O in that form is really a vapor not an ideal gas.

Anyway that reminds me of a joke:

Why does an engineer prefer his wife to know about his mistress?
— because when he’s away from his wife she’ll assume he’s with the mistress, and when he’s away from his mistress she’ll assume he’s with the wife, and that means he can get more work done at the plant.

Ain’t it cool how a chat about sports writing can morph into a conversation about the personality disorders of engineers?

I still believe Michael Phelps can dog paddle faster that 99% of the people on earth. Mark Spitz probably can too and he’s in his 70s.

5. Crikey! I’m writing like someone who majored in a science. I meant Phelps and Spitz can dog paddle faster than 99% of the people on earth can swim when swimming as fast as they can. Probably 99.9%

6. one of the attractions of Star Trek was how much Scotty loved his engines and the ship. not that he didn't have an occasional romance or two, but his other love featured far more prominently. the Next Generation episode where he gets to meet Geordi LaForge is kinda special. Geordi wasn't as fanatic as Scotty but he ended up in love with a holographic re-creation of Leah Brahms, the woman who designed the Enterprise's engines.

the other consideration for the goalie was that unless he weighed 2000lbs and essentially covered the entire goal, his mobility would be so hampered by his size that the offense would still be able to score on him. "As our session progressed, the Caps went through a number of drills and shot from various angles. They began methodically testing the fattie's limited ability to move...Caps winger Matt Bradley seemed bothered as a particularly good wrister was easily stopped, while Trevor (the goalie) kept complaining about his inability to lift his arms or breathe. this led me to believe that real science was occurring, because it didn't seem like anyone was having fun. From our practice session some easy conclusions could be drawn. Breakaways, in particular were death for Trevor...Angles and wraparounds were also extremely problematic...[in Trevor's opinion] in a real game a portly net-minder wouldn't stand a chance."

when I was in undergrad, the school had a swimming requirement for the entire student population. you could not graduate without either having passed a swimming competency test, or swimming 101. I understand back then such requirements weren't all that uncommon, but they have long since gone the way of the dinosaur.

the school district in which I live now is k-12 in one building and they have a pool. I know the elementary kids get at least one session of lessons and I think the high school kids do also.

some years ago I knew that mark spitz's Olympic swim times had subsequently been bested by either college women, or high school boys, I don't remember which. im trying to find a reference to that but haven't succeeded. I could look up the actual data and figure it out but my internet at home makes doing such things torturous if not impossible.

7. Concerning the Scotty character, I guess I’ve always admired, or at least been fascinated by, people who’ve found their passion in life and are hugely dedicated to it. To be really great at something, I think, requires so much time and effort that it winds up excluding so many other things in life. I got to talking to a professional musician not long ago and asked her something along those lines, (How is life on the road? Is music still your passion? How much time does it take? Did it turn into work at some point? Would you do it again?) She said it was still her passion, but she never anticipated how much shear work was involved and yes she’d do it again. It made me think we’ve got to make a choice in life - to be really great at one thing, or sort of mediocre at a lot of stuff. I’ve chosen the latter, never been all that good at any one thing, but enjoy doing lots of stuff.

So I found a pdf for U.S. age-group swimming records. In the 100m freestyle it looks like boys 15-16 beat Spitz. College women probably do, but NCAA Div 1 only records short-course records, which are swum in a 25yard pool instead of a 50 meter pool (curses be on the head of Henry VIII or whatever English King it was who saddled us with imperial weights and measures. Now I’ve gotta have one toolbox for metric wrenches and one for SAE wrenches). Anyway it looks like girls 13-14 beat Johnny Weissmuller (you know, Tarzan). Interestingly before Weissmuller, Duke Kahanamoku dominated the 100m freestyle. Yep, Duke, famous Hawaiian surfer dude. Those records are fun to compare, but I don’t think they mean much. The sport has changed. The pools have changed. The training has changed. I think in Duke and Johnny’s case, they were a couple of guys who liked to swim and were good at it so they went to the Olympics in Paris to see how fast they could go. Probably they marked off 100 meters in the Seine, lined up, and somebody said, “go.” Also I’m fairly certain neither Kahanamoku or Weissmuller were juiced for the race.

Speaking of juicing and sports known for it, there’s a great picture from the Tour de France around about Weissmuller’s era. It’s of the cyclists riding along and sharing cigarettes. Back then (1920s) they believed a cigarette would clear your lungs so you breathe better.

8. one of the more popular star trek episodes Sancho was called "the trouble with tribbles." the enterprise crew was taking shore leave on a space stations, on which some Klingons were also visiting. the Klingons starting verbally harassing the crew members, even to the point of insulting (in absentia) captain kirk. scotty kept telling everyone to calm down and not respond...until the Klingon insulted the enterprise, upon which scotty decked him, and a Klingon-star fleet melee occurred.

I was pretty confident the boys had beaten spitz's times. there's still something impressive out there though that college girls have done, separate from the high school boys. sometime later when ive got some relaxed high speed internet...

ive got a nice collection of tour de france history books. i'll see if there are any incriminating photos or lines of text. the riders also took strychnine and other whacky things.

I was in paris in 1986 the first year greg lemond won. hands down the most exciting athletic event ive ever seen. skeptical i'll happen but id like to be back in france to climb a lot of the famous mountains made famous by the tour.

so---on to the dog paddle excitement!

the Olympic swimmer in question was josh davis. "davis clocked his 50 yard lap in 42.23, finishing about a quarter lap ahead of me. I did not finish, walking in the final 10 yards. the laughing crowd called for blood, and a second handicap match was set. now davis could swim the freestyle, but he and I started at opposite ends of the sprint pool, the handicap being he had to do 50 yards up and back before I made it 25 yards. this race proved even more disastrous and humiliating. fatigue combined with zero talent and hubris added up to a fatal mix of total failure..."

finding it hard to believe davis' time was as bad as a USA swimming official had said (the worst high school girls he coached bested it), the author wanted to see how "the average person would do, since no one seemed to think I met that standard, I later took a random sampling of ten friends, neighbors and people from my gym. the only qualification was that they be in reasonable shape and hadn't swum regularly at any point in their lives."

the manager of the gym swam the distance in 40 seconds, but no one else beat davis' time. in davis' defense he hadn't really trained for it and said he was only going about 90% during the race.

next up, the whiffle ball or the sex with a pro athlete?

9. Hah! I knew it!

I remember that episode of Star Trek, but I don’t remember that scene. Reminds me of line from a Lyle Lovett tune - you can have my girl but don’t touch my hat. My wife is a huge fan of Lyle and has dragged me to more of his concerts than I care to remember.

I just read a good article about Greg Lemond. He’s not quite as svelte as he was when he on the tour, but he still looks good, and still has some bird shot lodged next to his heart. I always admired him as a stand-up guy. In fact during the Lance craze when everybody was still defending him against doping allegations, Lemond steadfastly said - uhh, I don’t know, man. So I pretty much took it to mean that Lance was on the juice. Of course that wound up to be true and by calling him out, Greg wound up losing his bicycle business. Lance can be a bit of a dick, you see. There are some parallels to swimming. Spitz has said the sporting commissions haven’t done enough to keep swimming clean.

At any rate, both of those sports fit my criteria for great sports because are things you do, not just things you watch. I still like to do both. I’ve gotten to where I enjoy open-water swimming. The PNW has a few swims each year. A couple are in Lake Washington (Fat Salmon and the Park to Park) and we’ve got one from Vashon Island to Owen Beach in the Puget Sound. A thick layer of subcutaneous fat helps for a swim in the Puget Sound if you plan to do it without a wetsuit. The water temp is in the low 50s. And speaking of being chilly, we’ve got our first group ride of the season coming up this month - The Chilly Hilly. It a 33 mile bike ride on Bainbridge Island. Brrrr.

So let’s hear about the sports groupie’s success rates.

10. While I’m thinking about it, and speaking of cycling, if I had to pick the greatest American bicyclist of all time it wouldn’t be Greg Lemond, or Lance Armstrong, or even Major Taylor. It’d be Dave Stoller of Bloomington, Indiana.

Cyril - Are you really going to shave your legs?
Dave - Certo. All the Italians do it.
Mike - Some country. The women don’t shave theirs.
(Daniel Stern, Dennis Christopher, and Dennis Quaid from the 1979 movie “Breaking Away”)

11. I have to train, the Italians are coming!

a fun piece of trivia the next time you watch breaking away, in one of the close-up clips they show when he's drafting behind the semi, he's in his small chainring! what a great movie though nonetheless.

it sorta kinda almost broke my heart when lance Armstrong confessed to having done everything he did. I suppose if oprah had been a better interviewer, she could have gone into Armstrong's culpability as concerns greg lemond too.

I don't remember the exact timing of it relative to events but some time in the midst of all that I met frankie andreiu's wife. I told her I was a cyclist and she graciously invited me to meet her husband. i declined, but still a pretty neat thing.

if you like cycling history Sancho, especially embedded in the larger world around it, let me recommend road to valor by aili and andres mcconnon. its the story of gino bartali and its a good read, especially the WWII stuff.

on that note, i found an appropriate photo and blurb from one of my books and attached it.

onto the groupies!

i'll see if i can stretch this into a 2-3 day thing.

the author "recruited" a 22yr old former model who maybe was an ex also, as the field operator so to speak.

"we all grow up with dreams. some of us want to be astronauts, some want to be doctors or lawyers, some want to be president. and some grow up wanting to bone LeBron James. this was Amanda mitt's dream, or rather the one that was assigned to her for a night on the town in Cleveland we wet out to explore the wild world of nba nightlife."

"who is this laron guy again? he plays basketball or something? i'm not really going to have to sleep with one of these guys right?"

12. Such a great movie. One of my favorites of all time. Dave has the perfect mom:

>>Dave crosses himself<<
Evelyn Stoller - “Oh, Dave, try not to become Catholic on us.”
Anyway I suppose I can overlook the small-ring faux pas. The rest of the scene makes up for it. I liked the collaborative interaction between Dave and the truck driver. I gotta say though, the biggest glaring mistake in that scene is this: never in the history of the State of Indiana has there ever been a need for a tractor-trailer full of Cinzano vermouth. Miller High Life, sure, but Cinzano - no way.

I’ll keep my eyes peeled for the Gino Bartali book. I like that kind of stuff.

Who is this Laron guy again?
So a few years ago my wife was flying to L.A. The guy sitting next to her leaned over and said, “you know that’s Charles Barkley sitting behind us.” She said (a little too loudly) - “WHO’S CHARLES BARKLEY?” Her seat mate motions behind them. She turns around to see Charles Barkley, with a great big grin, waving at her.

BTW that’s exactly the photo I was thinking of.

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