The sad news about Dwight Gooden's cocaine involvement (page 32) raises an obvious question: Why aren't athletes getting the message about the hazards of cocaine? Why haven't the deaths of Len Bias and Don Rogers, and the wrecked careers of countless other cocaine users, convinced athletes to stay away from the drug?
Dr. Joseph Pursch, the medical director of the Family Care Clinic in Newport Beach, Calif., who has treated many athletes for drug and alcohol addiction, makes a stab at an answer. Accomplished athletes, Pursch says, tend to be confident people and, as a result, "when you bring up a Bias or Rogers to them, they just say, 'Yeah, Doc, but that's not me. I don't have that kind of problem. I can control mine.' "
The cocaine-related problems of Dr. K, the most celebrated of an evergrowing list of athletes who have succumbed to the drug, suggest that cocaine is a whole lot harder to control than these self-deluded souls think. It is time they get the message, once and for all.
April 12, 1987
Edward (Monk) Malloy, who will take over as Notre Dame's president next month, played basketball for the university in the early 1960s. He still squeezes in two or three games a week, and he has led a team in the school's Bookstore Basketball Tournament in 14 of the last 15 years. This season Monk's entry has a suitable name: All the President's Men.
SIGN THAT KID UP
Before the Holy Cross football team took the field for the first day of spring practice on March 27, strength coach Kevin Coyle lectured the Crusaders on conditioning. Coyle then said they would get things under way with some one-on-one head knocking between veterans and newcomers. He selected junior cocaptain and offensive tackle Ronnie George as first man up and then shouted, "You—No. 70! Get over here!" The two linemen squared off, and the kid knocked George on his butt. As Coyle knew, No. 70 was, in fact, head coach Mark Duffner, who starred at defensive tackle for William & Mary in the early '70s. Duffner had sneaked into the locker room during Coyle's lecture to suit up. When the mortified George found out what was up, he asked for a second shot at his 33-year-old coach. No. 70 knocked him down again.
Paul Newman wasn't on hand to accept his best-actor Oscar for The Color of Money, but the motion picture academy shouldn't feel slighted. Later this month Newman will again be a no-show when the Billiard and Bowling Institute of America honors him with its industry-service award.
Newman will be cited at the 44th annual BBIA convention for stimulating interest in pool with his portrayal of Fast Eddie Felson in The Color of Money. After Newman's 1961 film The Hustler, in which he played a younger Fast Eddie, pocket billiards in the U.S. experienced the greatest boom in its history. Now, following the success of Money, pool-hall owners and equipment manufacturers are reporting a similar spurt in business.
Irving Axelrad, the movie's producer, will accept the award for Newman, who will be busy directing a new film, and no doubt making sure the actors get their cues.
The star of Clayton (N. Mex.) High's cheerleading squad is named Betsy. Just Betsy. She's a 1,500-pound Holstein cow who recently performed—in a manner of speaking—at a fund-raiser that brought in $1,300 to send the cheerleaders to the state basketball tournament in Albuquerque.
Betsy's task was to roam the school's football field and leave a patty in one of 162 squares that had been marked off in chalk. The squares had been raffled for $10 apiece, and each row of nine squares had been sold for $40. The person with the right square would win $500, and the one with the right row would win $504.
Betsy took her sweet time in delivering. "She wandered for more than two hours," says Jim Doherty, whose daughter is a cheerleader and who stayed, along with only 10 others of an original crowd of 200, for Betsy's entire performance. "It was cold out there, too—lower 30s, with a wind. We were freezing. She must've walked through every box at some point." Finally, Betsy let the chip fall where it might, and two farmers were a little richer.
A happy addendum: In Albuquerque the cheerleaders rooted Clayton to a 65-57 win over Pecos in the Class AA championship game.
Tired of all the wrongdoing in sports? Well, meet some stellar high school and college athletes who are doing themselves and their schools proud by putting the books before the ball.
•Cobre High in Bayard, N.Mex., is one of the smallest Class AAA schools in the state, but its 19-4 basketball team was ranked No. 2 at the end of its regular season. Eight of the nine players had 4.0 grade point averages during the regular season, and their cumulative GPA since entering Cobre is 3.786.
•Doug Rice, an offensive tackle at SMU last season, is a victim of the recent NCAA penalties that have shut down the Mustang football program. Like many of his teammates, Rice has been courted by other colleges that want him to transfer and play for them in the fall. But the second-team GTE Academic All-America, who has a 3.44 GPA in his accounting-computer science double major, has decided to forego his final year of eligibility. Still coveting an SMU degree, he'll stay in school and graduate next year.
•Ken Higgins, a senior at Michigan, has a year of football eligibility remaining, but he, too, will not play. The Wolverines' leading receiver last season and a GTE Academic All-America with an A-plus average, Higgins was recently accepted by Harvard Law School. "It's always been my goal to go to the best law school possible," says Higgins. Harvard should feel flattered; Michigan, Yale and Stanford also accepted him.
In its April issue, Spy, an irreverent Manhattan monthly magazine, got off a couple of good ones about New York's baseball teams. First, the Yankees. Speculating about what might have possessed the team to acquire long-ball-yielding pitcher Charles Hudson, the magazine concluded that the only possible reason was "to help them remember the names of two rivers in the Northeast." Giving equal time to the Mets, Spy noted that that promotion-minded team staged 20 "giveaway" days last season—"not counting games Howard Johnson started at third."
When Joan Benoit Samuelson announced that she would run the Boston Marathon on April 20 even though she will be three months pregnant, many people smiled and said, "That's nice." They shouldn't take Samuelson, who hopes to qualify in Boston for next year's Olympic trials, so lightly. Ingrid Kristiansen, who has run the fastest marathon ever by a woman, won the 1983 Houston Marathon when she was three months pregnant.
A DUTCH TREAT OF A GAME
Korfball is a game that would have made James Naismith proud. Born 84 years ago in the Netherlands, korfball looks more like Dr. Naismith's original version of basketball than does today's slam-dunking, three-point-shooting NBA game. In korfball, a bottomless wicker basket is affixed at the top of a backboardless 11½-foot pole. Players heave a soccer-size ball at the lofty rim. "It's like the old-time basketball—mostly two-handed set shots," says U.S. national team coach Scott Cutten. "You have to really throw it to get the ball up there. It's difficult. A final score in a world-class game is typically 21-18 or 18-17, with one point awarded for each basket."
Players aren't allowed to dribble or run with a korfball; instead, they must pass it or shoot it. Nor are they permitted to shoot over a defender; they can only attempt a field goal when they have a clear lane to the basket. Thus the game places a premium on setting picks and moving without the ball to get free for a shot. Most significant, four of the eight players on a side must be women and four must be men. "From the beginning, korfball was intended as a participatory game for both sexes," says Cutten, who was introduced to the sport in a phys-ed class at Oral Roberts University a decade ago. "In the '92 Olympics, korfball will be a demonstration sport, and it will still be coed, even in the Games."
The Netherlands remains the world's premier korfball country. Perhaps 200.000 of the nation's 14.5 million people play the game. The 300 or so active U.S. korfballers play for a handful of clubs scattered throughout the West. Nevertheless, "we're very competitive on the international scene," says Cutten, who plays for a club in Tulsa, Okla. "We're probably the third best, behind Holland and Belgium." That unofficial ranking will be put on the line when the U.S. team travels to Rotterdam next week for the world championships. The 8,000-seat Ahoy sports arena is already sold out for the April 26 championship match.
THEY SAID IT
•Dick Williams, manager of the Seattle Mariners, on the remote possibility of landing one of baseball's highest-priced free agents: "We'll get snow before we get Raines."
•Chevy Chase, master of ceremonies at the Academy Awards, which overlapped with the NCAA championship basketball game, when told by cohost Goldie Hawn that a billion people were watching him perform: "Is the game over?"