Sunday, April 5, 2009

Can you believe this question came from a girl?

Q: Which athletes, in which sport, would you consider to be the most 'athletic'? (Now, its important that you define 'athlete'). Kevin Thomas and I had a little debate over this. But, we agreed that an 'athlete' is an individual of extreme talent that can participate and dominate more then one sport. For instance, and I don't know why Chris Duhon keeps popping into my head...(I am about 80% sure he played both basketball & football at Duke). If you think about it, so many kids aspire to play collegiate athletics. It takes a different kind of person to play a Division 1 sport. Coming from experience, and playing Division 1 soccer, I understand that not every kid out there has what it takes. But for someone to be a dual Division 1, ACC (one, if not the best conference in both football and basketball), athlete, that is just mind blowing. I know the time you have to put into one sport, I can’t imagine having to do so with two sports. Anyways, I kind of got a little off-topic there, but back to my underlying question. Athletes in what sport, would you consider to be the most athletic?

Interested in your thoughts...

P.S. (***Name of Erin’s bf censored***) and I watched Marley & Me. AND he cried ;)

-New York, NY

DG: First off I’m pretty sure the Duke Athlete your thinking of is Reggie Love and not Chris Duhon. Reggie Love played mediocre power forward for Coach K and was an -above average wide receiver on the Duke football team from 2001-2005. By the way, this is the same Reggie Love who is now part of President Obama’s White House Staff. Think of him as the Secretary of Pick-up Basketball.

As far as the rest of your question, it was pretty complete, so I’d like to tackle it in parts:

1) I agree that if I was going to build a list of the greatest athletes of all-time, it would be peppered with multi-sport athletes. This is probably a full article for another time, but just off of the top of my head I think I’d have to include names like Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders, Jim Thorpe, Jim Brown, and Dave Winfield.

You might be thinking…Dave Winfield…Mr. May? Yes, Dave Winfield. He was drafted by 4 professional teams in three sports coming out of the University of Minnesota. In fact, he was taken in the 17th round of the NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings after not even having played football at all for the Golden Gophers!

Another name that doesn’t ever come up often in Greatest Athlete conversations….Wilt Chamberlain. Wilt the Stilt was a freak of nature on the basketball court, but few people talk about the fact that he was a near Olympic Level Track athlete. At Kansas University, he was a three-time Big Eight high jump champ, who in competition once threw a shot-put 56 feet and recorded 100M dash time of 10.9 seconds… 7’1” and 250 pounds!

In my opinion, these names are also-rans to Jackie Robinson for Greatest Athlete of all-time. We all know about Robinson’s Hall of Fame baseball career and the overall social impact he had on professional sports, but did you know he lettered it three other sports at UCLA.

He was the best collegiate baseball player in the country, an All-Pac-10 level track athlete, played running back on the football team, and twice led the Pac-10 in scoring as part of UCLA’s basketball team. Oh and by the way, in 1936 Jackie Robinson won the Pacific Coast Junior Singles Championship as a tennis player.

2) I believe the most athletic individuals in all of sports play the CORNERBACK position on a football team.

If the requirements for playing CB were listed on a job posting it might look something like this:

Job Title: Cornerback
Description: Covering elite level Wide Receivers
Special Skills Required: Your job is to line-up one-on-one against a guy that has sprinter level speed. You have to cover him over an expansive field that measures 100 yards long and 50 yards wide. He’ll be running forward to a spot on the field that he knows. You’ll largely be running backwards and have no idea where is going. If you do get beat and your man gets open, you’ll be required to either a) out jump and swat the ball away from his grasp b) wrestle him to the ground after he catches it. I may have failed to mention that this man you’ll be required to out jump and/or tackle will on average be three inches taller and 20-30 pounds heavier than yourself. Oh and by the way, if you so much as breathe on your man while the ball is in the air you will find yourself buried in yellow flags up to your eyeballs.

3) You’re boyfriend did what? Ok….I haven’t seen Marley and Me (and don’t plan on it in this lifetime), but can’t imagine crying over this film gets your boyfriend any macho points (maybe he gets “macho” points in the Tom Cruise definition of the word)

In fact let me go a step further: I’m taking it upon myself to temporarily suspend his “man” card. If it can be confirmed he did in fact cry at a bad Jennifer Aniston flick, then I believe that would be grounds for permanent revocation.

There is a list of acceptable “man” cry moments in movies. But the list is short and very specific:

1) Rudy (when Sean Astin runs onto the field with people chanting “Rudy”)
2) Brian's Song (when Billy Dee William’s gives the I love Brian Piccolo speech)
3) Field of Dreams (when Costner says "Hey dad, do you want to have a catch?"
4) Rocky V (at any point between the opening sequence to the end credits…as if there is anyone who has ever watched it through that far)
5) *the most recent Indiana Jones movie…..the film that shall not be named (when the alien spaceship emerges from the earth and flies home….because it’s so bad it broke my heart.)

I think I might have cried just thinking of it.

Erin, I hope this has been helpful.

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