In our salute to the Year in Sport it seems fitting to take a look at what our staff did athletically in 1983. Senior editor Larry Keith, 36, who was in charge of this issue, took up running and in his first race, a Thanksgiving Day five-miler, was clocked at 39:19. (He claims it should have been 39 minutes flat, because there were 3,500 entrants and it took him 19 seconds just to reach the starting line.) Staff writer Franz Lidz, who wrote most of the copy, hit his 338th career home run in the Herman Wiffle Ball League. And assistant art director Larry Gendron, who designed the issue, played 81 holes of golf in two days last fall, using only one ball and six Band-Aids. His best round was an 81.
Reporter Lisa Twyman plunked down $90 for a pair of running shoes and seven months later ran the New York City Marathon for the first time. She finished in 3 hours, 42 minutes. A few days later Twyman was vacationing in Hawaii, where, she says, "My only exercise was doing margarita arm curls on the veranda."
Staff writer Alex Wolff and two friends made it to the finals of the Professional Basketball Writers' 3-on-3 competition at the NBA All-Star Game. Production Department assistant Ken Tomten climbed the 11,000-foot Mettelhorn in Switzerland. Reporter Cathy Wolf captained a women's softball team, Jimmy Day's, which included other SI staffers, to its second successive pennant in a Central Park league. Reporter Julie Vader, in her first swing of the season, hit a grand slam.
On the wry side, News Bureau assistant Marsha Haber ran into a tree while chasing a fly ball. Reporter Ivan Maisel broke 80 at the Riviera Country Club, site of the 1983 PGA, but he only had time to play 13 holes before leaving for Dodger Stadium. Reporter Sandy Keenan was coerced by her brothers into going water-skiing in 50° weather four hours before her wedding. Writer-reporter Brooks Clark, introduced to skeet, broke four of his first 10 clay pigeons and then, thinking, "Boy, this is easy!" didn't hit another all day. Things were also looking easy for associate writer Sam Moses when he was leading a 30-mile Formula Ford race in Monterey, Calif. by 50 yards. But then Moses lost it in Turn 2 at 110 mph.
February 8, 1984
Associate writer Steve Wulf, manager of SI's own softball team, says, with his players' enthusiastic agreement, that even though they had only three games, it was still an unforgettable season because their one road game was against the House Foreign Affairs team on the lush grass of the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. Accustomed to scrabbly infields and tree-studded outfields (ah there, Marsha), the SI players luxuriated in the setting.
"We lost," says Wulf, "but it was nice having the White House in straightaway center and the Washington Monument as the backstop."