After the Deluge

August 10, 2003

The earth had become an abomination to God, and displeased was He
with the designated-hitter rule, and Who Let the Dogs Out and the
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. And so the Lord said, "All the creatures
at play on this Earth shall perish." And He told Noah to build an
Ark, and summon unto it two of every species in sports, that they
might survive the Great Flood and live to repopulate--after 40
cleansing days and nights--a righteous new sports world. And Noah
obeyed, for he was himself a righteous man: a retired French
tennis star (and double-platinum-selling reggae artist) whose
first name was Yannick.

And so they came, two by two, to Noah's Ark. Two and only two
football players were allowed to board: 67-year-old ex-fullback
Jim Brown, who never missed a down to injury, and 70-year-old
Charlotte Chambers, the Orlando Starz safety (and
great-grandmother of four) who is fond of telling opponents in
the Independent Women's Football League, "You better hit me,
because I'm laying you out!" Which is how, years after the Flood,
the miraculous descendants of Brown and Chambers--the Unstoppable
Force and the Immovable Object--did what neither Dennis Miller
nor John Madden could do and resurrected the ratings of Monday
Night Football.

Next, Noah led two golfers onto the Lido Deck, where they hit
range balls, in magnificent arcs, into the sea. The swings of
Tiger Woods and Michelle Wie--like the synchronized, sweep-second
hands of two Swiss watches--were eventually passed on to all
mankind. And thus passed into oblivion the phrases Put me down
for an 8, Mind if I hit another? and Fore!

Naturally, Noah gathered about him America's most dynamic soccer
stars, Mia Hamm and Freddy Adu, in the hope that the former might
one day become Mia Adu, literally the Mother of All Soccer
Players.

The only two baseball players spared by Noah were Hall of Fame
shortstop Arky Vaughan and former Cardinals outfielder Curt
Flood. For Noah simply liked having aboard men named Arky and
Flood. Until, that is, it was pointed out to Noah that when the
pair passed from this Earth, so too would baseball. (And indeed,
that the pair had already passed from this Earth.)

And so Noah struck Flood and Arky from his passenger manifest and
planned to seat, in their stead, an unlikely pair: Albert Belle,
who once said, "SPORTS ILLUSTRATED can kiss my black ass," and
busty serial-busser Morganna (the Kissing Bandit) Roberts. In so
doing Noah hoped to produce the first ballplayer who could kiss
his own ass, saving the rest of us the trouble.

But again, better judgment prevailed, and Noah at last boarded
Dr. Dot Richardson, orthopedic surgeon, softball pitcher and
two-time Olympic gold medalist, and mashed-potato-faced New York
Yankees coach Don Zimmer. The spawn of Don and Dr. Dot
Zimmer--hard-throwing, light-hitting, lovable lugs--put a
smiling, gopher-cheeked face on baseball, whose antediluvian mug
had belonged to Bud Selig and Barry Bonds. Better still, after
the Flood all baseball players could install their own cranial
plates.

Lest hockey disappear from the planet, Noah booked passage for
Wayne Gretzky and paired him--largely for alliterative
purposes--with American Olympian Cammi Granato. It was a most
euphonious union of Cammi Granato-Gretzky and Wayne
Gretzky-Granato. And the pair, adrift on an endless sea, stayed
sharp by shooting pucks at passing whales, going blowhole so that
future generations might go five hole.

Noah loved Track but hated Field. And so he rescued the world's
fastest humans, Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery--who were,
conveniently, already married to each other--but left the hammer
toss to die on the scrap heap of history. He nearly abandoned
basketball, too, for Noah suspected that the Kobe Bryant
sexual-assault case, and the murder of Baylor's Patrick Dennehy,
had precipitated (if you will) this epic precipitation. In the
end, though, Noah couldn't deny posterity (nor himself, for that
matter) LeBron James and Diana Taurasi, crossover stars with
crossover dribbles. Their progeny would play with such charisma
and cold-bloodedness that the six most oft-spoken words in
basketball became, once again, "I've never seen anything like
that," replacing a persistently popular pre-Flood phrase: "The
Lodge and Spa at Cordillera."

Noah took on no NASCAR drivers, for God had told him to build an
Ark, not a ferry.

Noah was allowed to bring two and only two foods (he chose nachos
and "cheez"). He carried two beverages (beer and light beer). He
packed a pair of architectural blueprints (of Fenway Park and
Lambeau Field).

On the 40th day of this rain delay, with the waters receding,
Noah released a white dove. It returned seven days later with a
leaf in its mouth. At first, Noah thought it was marijuana, left
over from Damon Stoudamire's stash. But it proved to be ivy, from
the walls of Wrigley Field, which God had spared in the Flood.

At this, Noah wept with relief and disembarked from the Ark.

B/W PHOTO: JEFFERY A. SALTER

God told Noah to summon unto his Ark two of every species in
sports, that they might survive the Great Flood.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)