Swing Shift

I already knew I was getting a swingset for my sixth birthday—it would be impossible to hide a large box from a snoopy child, or surprise me with it erected in the backyard where I constantly tripped around, wrestling the dogs or plucking honeysuckle blooms to sip with my neighbor Colleen, our always-bare feet hard as hide. So my father invited me to help install it.

Long before McDonald's was sued for hot coffee, millions of baby butts fried on these. AND WE CAME BACK FOR MORE!

Long before McDonald’s was sued for hot coffee, millions of baby butts fried on these. AND WE CAME BACK FOR MORE!

I considered his time with me a gift in itself.

Enter our Sports Essay Contest! Deadline Sept. 8!

I churned at a bucket of cement with skinny wrists as I watched him dig four deep, perfect circles into the grass with a post-drill. He filled each hole from the bucket I could barely lift, then hoisted the entire clanging gym set assembly above his 6-3 frame in one smooth motion and settled each leg into its home to dry, tightening screws and ensuring the angles.

Handyman, hunter, homicide detective. Was there anything my Daddy couldn’t do?

Actually, to call it a “swingset” was an insult to that sparkling edifice of entertainment. Over the years it became so much more—babysitter, princess castle, reading nook, pouting place, “home base” for countless games of hide and seek. The patches of worn turf beneath it didn’t grow back until I was in high school.

It was also massive, like an elephant suddenly appeared in the yard. I didn’t understand my father’s bipolar disorder then, but if I benefited, so be it. When I asked for a swingset, I expected the standard lineup of a plastic swing, a teeter-totter and midget metal slide that would burn your backside in the summer.

Instead, Daddy backed the truck into the driveway that weekend bearing the Aston Martin of jungle gyms. Once completed, its steel frame arched beyond our roof eaves, with glossy red and blue stripes spiraling around poles that extended from a spine of monkey bars I would race across, hand over hand, back and forth, or stop and dangle from for minutes at a time just because I could.

From each end, sturdy silver bars extended in bright T’s, supporting swings, a trapeze, a thick, knotted rope, and a set of black rubber rings on chains. Flinging my way from one station to another, I grew thick calluses across my palms that would eventually crack and tear off, leaving raw pink divots. But I didn’t care—I raced to the gym set every day after school, wheeling, swinging, twisting, spinning, because it simply felt so good to move, to be dizzy and dirty and alive. Life was easy. Then.

On his good days, Daddy would join me on the gym, doing pull-ups from the monkey bars or pushing me on the swings as our Lab rabble leaped over my ankles. I ate his attention; I never knew when the next dark days, the tears, the whiskey, were coming.

I loved showing off my rings skills. These were my favorite piece of equipment, as I fancied myself an Olympian someday; gymnastics were the only sport for girls my age then. I would lock my arms and hold my sweaty legs outstretched, then whip them under and up again, the momentum whirling me into a flip, sticking the landing on an old dog bed as Daddy whooped his approval.

I felt so strong and sure, with kinesthesis so reliable, I was stunned the day I lost control rolling through space and crashed into a nearby stump. The bark ripped my shin to the bone, the torrent of blood so orange and fierce it didn’t look real. It hurt, but I didn’t cry; I was too embarrassed. Worry–an unfamiliar emotion–quietly nagged me: What did I do wrong? What if I fell again? as Daddy wrapped a beach towel around my leg, set me in the truck, and rumbled us off to the emergency room.

"All kids should have a swing set." The hospital, not so much.

“All kids should have a swing set.” The “hospital,” not so much.

My mother had to lie down when she saw me, but Daddy wasn’t fazed at all. In fact he seemed excited. An adventure! He chattered away, punched at the radio buttons, cracked jokes, and even stopped at 7-11 for Slurpees along the way. He assured me I would be back on the gym set that very day.

By the time the nurse called us back I was almost looking forward to getting stitches. Daddy distracted me with armpit farts and teased the still-pimply intern assigned to my care. Did he have a girlfriend? This gal here’s available! What time was he off work? Watching the nervous young doctor clean my leg, Daddy went for the superfecta, explaining how those little bits of raw pink flesh, flicked onto the blue paper sheet, resembled the evidence he’d recently found in a car trunk that had transported a murder victim’s battered body.

The doctor raised an eyebrow. I smiled. I was nine. And I was fascinated.

What I didn’t see was the toll such work extracted from my father’s soul. I thought he had the most exciting job in the world, and that he shared it with me because he saw me as mature, a peer. But really, I was the only friend he had who wouldn’t judge his moods, or punish his worsening drinking bouts. When he looked into my eyes, his reflection was still that of hero.

When drinking finally did take him a few years later, the gym set lost its allure. Not because I was sad, although I was, but I was 13 now. I’d rather go to the mall than swing on dirty metal bars. I liked wearing makeup and having soft palms to couple-skate with, not that it happened often.

Eventually the gym’s rusted husk collapsed, and my mother had it hauled away to the junkyard. I grew up and learned that life had mortgages and migraines, consequences, shitty people, and too often, the very worries and depression my own father had experienced. And I didn’t have him any more to dissuade them with Slurpees and jokes.

But I had our memories. I never became a gymnast but I did play sports all the way through college, which helped me find work that I loved. And it all began doing ring routines for my father on that gym, where I learned to stick the landing, even when he could not.

DEADLINE EXTENDED! Enter our Sports Essay Contest! New deadline: September 8! Prizes!

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Bo Knows Baseball Position Numbers, Do You?

bojackson

Bo knows…he’s awesome. Still.

I admit, I never liked baseball growing up. I didn’t play, and we didn’t have a team, except for the double-A “Memphis Chicks,” short for the region’s native Chickasaw Indians, and no one ever thought to be offended.

I also found the game to be as exciting as milk. (Even the “South Park” kids hated it for stealing their summer.) The three most memorable things I recall were:

Bo Jackson living in the apartment next door to my sister while he played for us en route to becoming one of America’s all-time greatest athletes

—The “Medicine Man” mascot—a white dude in a loincloth and buffalo horns (again, no one was offended, and I kinda think we should have been?) and

Looks like I wasn't the only one excited to meet The Chicken.

I wasn’t the only one excited to meet The Chicken.

—Meeting the San Diego Chicken when he (she? Aren’t chickens girls?) visited our ballpark. He was a lot shorter than I expected.

Baseball was also confusing to a seven-year-old word nerd. A “hit” only counted if a player hit the ball and reached base—but the way I saw it, guys hit the ball—like made contact with the bat—all the time. And didn’t the word “strike” also mean “to hit?” (Hell, the games wouldn’t have been so interminable if they played my way.)

Who’d-a thunk then that I would eventually wind up working for a baseball team, handling their public relations and keeping score—a skill that I have found not only fairly easy once you get the hang of it, but literally a game-changer for me. Because once I understood the positions, it was logical.

baseball positionsImagine you are standing behind the batter’s box, like the umpire, facing the field. The players are numbered in a sort of backwards question mark order:

1—Pitcher
2—Catcher
3—First baseman
4—Second baseman
5—Third baseman
6—Shortstop
7—Left fielder
8—Center fielder
9—Right fielder

Once you have that down, the game, specifically defensive plays and outs, are not only easy to spot, but fun to record. It’s pretty obvious on offense when you see a player single (1B) to first base or hit a home run (HR). But to understand the announcer when he says “a 6-4-3 double play” or “F8!” is more satisfying because you understand the numbers, and those numbers translate into images in your scorebook. If you think baseball is all math and stats, remember there is a lovely visual component to it as well.

Baseball (softball too) became fascinating to me when I realized on a scorecard you can see patterns develop right before your eyes—kind of like a photo in a darkroom, or knitting a sweater—but with men in tight pants. For example, marking this in your scorebook column…

F-7, ♦, L5, 6-3

 …isn’t some maddening Morse code, it’s simply:

  • a flyout to left (out #1)
  • a 2-run homer (you color in the diamond for home runs – my favorite part, as long as it’s my team)
  • a line drive out to the third baseman (out #2), and
  • an out from the shortstop (position 6) to the first baseman (position 3, thus three outs, and the half-inning is over with one run scored).

When you process a game visually, noted by your own hand, it is imprinted in your memory. Plays happen fast, but when you’ve recorded them, they are yours forever. My friend Bob has a scorebook he kept with his dad in the ‘60s, and he remembers each game, right down to the weather that day. These are some of his most cherished memories, not of just baseball but his now departed father.

SCORECARD-yankees-20080921-640

The Yankees scored seven runs in this 2008 game against the Orioles. (James Teresco, Creative Commons)

I will get into the basics of scoring in a later post. But for now, scoring keeps your head in the game (handy for parents whose children are in weekend-long tournaments) and makes statistics and trends easier to follow. And unlike other sports’ box scores, just columns of numbers, you can “see” an entire baseball game’s progression just based on a series of numbers and symbols—sort of like Neo in “The Matrix” when he finally understands everything in binary code, 10010110101.

There are many tutorials on the interwebs about how to score a baseball game (here is just one), and any paper game program or scorebook will also have a key. But even if you are just watching (or, OK, still bored off your butt waiting for little Timmy’s turn), maybe now you will follow along a little more because just like Bo knows, now you now who is who too.

PS–Don’t forget to enter our sports short essay contest! Free entry, great prizes! Deadline August 31!

Enter Our Essay Contest!

chesternatscloseDEADLINE EXTENDED to Sept. 8!!! It’s the first-ever Ladies Room Sports Essay Contest! 

We thought we’d try something new and fun. After a couple months traveling (and pneumonia. Seriously. Pneumonia. In July.), our blog is back–and that could mean a $150 Visa Gift Card for you! And FREE entry!

Send your non-fiction piece, up to 500 words, about what you love (or hate) about sports, today or in your past. Taking your kids to the ballpark. Winning your first Field Day race. Losing your girlfriend to the quarterback. Or have you witnessed someone else’s sports story? How have sports, however tangentially, affected you or someone you know? Dugouts, dunks, dodgeball–we want to read it!.

Winner receives a $150 Visa Gift Card, and second place a $50 Visa Gift Card! Winners and various other selections will be published on the Ladies Room Sports blog.

Judges will consist of members of the esteemed Yale Writers’ Conference. And possibly a small dog.

Seriously though, we are looking for essays on how sports have made some impact, good or bad, on people’s lives. We also welcome more traditional sportswriting as long as they are short essays/creative non-fiction as opposed to a regular game summary. Think beyond the box score!

Send your entry (one per person, please, attachments or in email body are fine) to laura.boswell@ladiesroomsports.com. Deadline is September 8, 2015. Previously published work is OK as long as it fits the guidelines. And PS – Ladies Room editors will merely facilitate, so if you know us, it’s OK! Like the Publishers’ Clearing House says, “Go ahead, send it in!.” Please submit non-fiction only–but don’t worry, fiction writers and poets, your spot on the varsity team will open soon.

And finally, this is our first try at this, so please bear with us as we work out the kinks. Send questions to the address above and we will help asap! Enter now!

And Like THAT…She’s Gone…(Not Really)

keyser_poofAh, “The Usual Suspects.” Still one of my all-time top 5. One of those movies that if you’re cleaning the house on a Saturday, channel surfing, and it pops up, you drop everything to watch it again. (I would also include “Godfather,” “Casino,” “Goodfellas”–all pretty much the same movie, now that I think about it–and “Jaws.”

Anyway, The Ladies Room is still alive and well, but she got accepted to the Yale Writers’ Conference, so between that and a rigorous Washington Nationals  baseball schedule, this blog has gotten a tad dusty. Nonetheless, I’m saying hello before I head to New Haven for the next two weeks to be all Ivy League and Highbrow and Academic and stuff.

While I’m ecstatic to be accepted, the timing is rotten. I will be missing the NBA Finals, the NHL Finals, the College Baseball World Series, the FIFA scandal and the French Open for…poetry readings.

flaAt least tonight I WILL get to see the finals of the Women’s College (Softball) World Series. Michigan forced a third and final game with current champion Florida, and I have really gotten into the whole shabang. Not because I want to support women’s sports (though you should) but because these ladies are just so amazing to watch, so powerful and, though I shouldn’t say this…gorgeous. Seriously. If you have a problem with women “jocks” or joke they aren’t attractive, these gals could own the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. They wear full makeup, elaborate braids, hair decor and ribbons.

And eyeblack. Oh and they can also knock a ball into Greenland. Good luck, ladies, well done.

So with that, I will bid you, and sports, adieu for a few days for studying and writing as my vacation. By choice.

Unless “The Usual Suspects” is on.

Get to Know Your NFL Coaches! (While You Still Can)

orange

Not football. But still totally binge-worthy.

Do you ever get completely obsessed with something that’s a major timesuck but it’s so fascinating you can’t help yourself? Like bingewatching Netflix. Or working out. (Not.)

This is what happened when I started to do a quick update on the latest NFL coaching hirings/firings. Because a head coach’s demeanor and philosophy are critical components of an entire team’s success, and they often have some or all power over policies and decision-making, it’s helpful to know who leads and where.

But as I researched, I realized these guys are really fascinating. For example, one grew up in a rival team’s city. Some played pro in Canada but most didn’t play pro at all. One preferred lacrosse, and another was drafted for pro baseball. One sold roofing supplies. Another was an Eagle Scout. Two have suffered the loss of a child.

Soooo, here is the latest list of head coaches, along with some interesting factoids. Read on to learn a little more about these (usually) heroes at the helm…

(* indicates new for 2015 season, # indicates still vying for this year’s title).

Arizona Cardinals: Bruce Arians. Named 2012 AP Coach of the Year as an interim coach for Indianapolis when he took over for head coach Chuck Pagano, who had been diagnosed with leukemia. Arians himself is a prostate cancer survivor.

Atlanta Falcons: Vacant

Baltimore Ravens: John Harbaugh. Brother of Jim Harbaugh, who was just released from the San Francisco 49ers and hired by his alma mater, the University of Michigan as the highest-paid college coach ever. John and Jim played one another in Super Bowl XLVII (the one where Beyonce allegedly caused a power outage).

*Buffalo Bills: Rex Ryan. Fired by the New York Jets, Ryan merely moved upstate one week later. Known for being gregarious and having teams with defensive prowess. Son of former Philadelphia and Arizona head coach Buddy Ryan, and fraternal twin of New Orleans defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Uses color-coded playbooks to help with his dyslexia and underwent lap-band surgery in 2010 to combat obesity.

Carolina Panthers: Ron Rivera. Of Puerto Rican/Mexican heritage, he is the fourth Latino to be an NFL head coach (following New Orleans’ Tom Fears, Oakland/Seattle’s Tom Flores and New Orleans/Indianapolis’ Jim E. Mora).

Chicago Bears: Vacant, possibly former Denver coach John Fox

Cincinnati Bengals: Marvin Lewis. He is the second-longest tenured coach (2003) behind New England’s Bill Belichick. Holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education and a master’s degree in athletic administration from Idaho State. Member of Pittsburgh’s Super Bowl XXX team that lost to Dallas.

Cleveland Browns: Mike Pettine. Finished his first season as the Browns’ coach 7-9 despite (or because of?) having Heisman winner “Johnny Football” Manziel for his rookie season. Brian Hoyer, however, was named the starting quarterback.

Dallas Cowboys: Jason Garrett. Despite losing on a controversial call in the playoffs to Green Bay, Garrett was just signed to a five-year contract extension for $30 million. Attended Princeton and Columbia for undergrad.

Denver Broncos: Vacant

Detroit Lions: Jim Caldwell. Hired in 2014, he is the first African-American coach for Detroit, finishing 11-5 regular season. In 2009, became head coach of Indianapolis and led team to a 14-2 record and a Super Bowl appearance (loss to New Orleans). His 14 wins are a NFL record for the best start by a rookie head coach.

#Green Bay Packers: Mike McCarthy. Began his career in hometown of Pittsburgh at University of Pittsburgh, working part-time on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Father was a Pittsburgh policeman, firefighter and bar owner. One of five children. Has led Packers to top-10 finishes in scoring for seven straight seasons (2007-13), joining New England as the only other team to do so. Became the first Packers coach since Vince Lombardi to lead the team to a championship game in his second season (2007).

Houston Texans: Bill O’Brien. A risk-taker, took reins in 2014 of the NFL’s worst team, finishing with winning 9-7 record after coaching two winning seasons at Penn State, on NCAA probation after the Sandusky/Paterno child sexual assault scandal. Named 2013 college coach of the year.

#Indianapolis Colts: Chuck Pagano. Known for ability in the secondary and to stop opposing pass attack. Named Colts head coach in January 2012, then was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia in September. Relinquished coaching duties to Bruce Arians but is now in remission. Players and even two cheerleaders shaved their heads as part of the CHUCKSTRONG campaign. Brother of San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Gus Bradley. Real name is Paul. Youngest of six kids. Played college ball at North Dakota State and was member of 1988 Division II Football Championship team. Earned his bachelor’s and master’s there. Spokesperson for the Ashley Furniture HomeStores Hope to Dream program which provides beds to underprivileged children.

Kansas City Chiefs: Andy Reid. Attended BYU and is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Coached Philadelphia for 14 years and was fired at end of 2012 season. Next hired by the Chiefs, received a standing ovation when Kansas City played at Philadelphia the following season. (Chiefs won 26-16). Like Bill O’Brien, Reid inherited a godawful team and led it to a 9-0 start, a tie for best start in franchise history. Lost his oldest son Garrett to a heroin overdose in 2012.

Miami Dolphins: Joe Philbin. Only played one year of college football (Washington & Jefferson College). Previously spent nine years on Green Bay staff. During his four years as offensive coordinator, Packers offense ranked in NFL top 10 for points scored and total yards. Father of six children, lost son Michael, 21, to drowning in 2012.

Minnesota Vikings: Mike Zimmer. In high school in Peoria, Illinois, earned all-conference honors in football, baseball, and wrestling. Ended 2014, his first season with the Vikings, 7-9, the best record for a first year head coach in the franchise since 1992. Son Adam is the current Vikings linebackers coach.

#New England Patriots: Bill Belichick. Longest-tenured active NFL coach. His three Super Bowls are more than any other active coach. Father Steve was an assistant football coach at the Naval Academy. Lacrosse was his favorite sport as a teen athlete. Fined $500,000 for his alleged role in filming an opposing team’s defensive signals (“Spygate”), the largest ever levied on a coach in NFL history.

New Orleans Saints: Sean Payton. Suspended entire 2012 season for alleged knowledge of “bounty” scandal in which players were paid by coaching staff to injure opponents. Played semi-pro football for the Chicago Bruisers and Pittsburgh Gladiators arena teams and the Leicester Panthers of the UK Budweiser National League. As member of New York Giants staff, landed on September 11, 2001 at the gate next to United Airlines Flight 93, which was later hijacked and crashed in rural Pennsylvania.

New York Giants: Tom Coughlin. Set Waterloo, NY High School’s single season touchdown record at 19, which still stands. Inaugural head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars from 1995-2002. Led team to two AFC championship games. Known as a stern disciplinarian and for meticulous attention to detail.

*New York Jets: Todd Bowles. Former player for eight seasons, primarily the Washington Redskins, and started in Super Bowl XXII. In his most recent job as Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator, he led the top-ranked run defense in the league in his first year. Played college ball at Temple under head coach Bruce Arians, also the Cardinals head coach.

*Oakland Raiders: Jack Del Rio. Hired January 14 to replace the fired Dennis Allen and interim coach Tony Sparano. Coached Jacksonville from 2003-11 without winning a division championship, the longest tenure of any coach. Standout in football and baseball for University of Southern California. Voted MVP of 1985 Rose Bowl. Batted .340 as college catcher with future MLB stars Randy Johnson and Mark McGwire. Drafted by Toronto Blue Jays but did not sign.

Philadelphia Eagles: Chip Kelly. Known for uptempo spread offense. Rumored to stay on top of his players’ nutrition, even changing menus for meals to healthy options. Previously led University of Oregon into becoming perennial powerhouse. One of only three current NFL coaches who hold either the title or powers of a general manager, along with New England’s Bill Belichick and Seattle’s Pete Carroll.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Tomlin. First African-American coach in Steelers history. At age 42, he is the second-youngest head coach in the NFL (San Diego’s Mike McCoy is the youngest). In 2009 he became the youngest NFL coach ever to win a Super Bowl. Specializes in defense. Majored in biology at William & Mary, where he was a standout wide receiver/tight end.

San Diego Chargers: Mike McCoy. Born just two weeks after the Steelers’ Tomlin, McCoy (April 1, 1972) is the youngest NFL head coach and second-youngest head coach in all major American pro sports. Played QB at Long Beach State until school discontinued its program. He transferred to Utah as a backup, but threw a game-winning pass in the final minute of the 1994 Freedom Bowl for a win over Arizona. Played two years in the Canadian Football League with the Calgary Stampeders.

*San Francisco 49ers: Jim Tomsula. Promoted from defensive line coach after Jim Harbaugh’s departure. Previously coached NFL Europe’s Rhein Fire to a 6-4 record in 2006. Was named 49ers’ interim head coach in 2010 after Mike Singletary was fired. Won first and only game 38-7 over Arizona. Began his career as a strength and conditioning coach at Catawba College (NC) in 1989.

#Seattle Seahawks: Pete Carroll. Current Super Bowl title holder. Of Irish and Croatian descent. When he couldn’t play pro level, he sold roofing materials in the Bay Area. Holds a master’s in physical education. Successful coach at University of Southern California (USC) until Heisman winner Reggie Bush and others were found to have accepted gifts from agents and the school was sanctioned heavily by the NCAA. Carroll then departed for Seattle under suspicion. Known for being positive “players’ coach.”

St. Louis Rams: Jeff Fisher. The longtime Tennessee Titans coach was famous for his “mullet.” Played for the USC Trojans 1978 national championship team. Son Brandon is assistant for the Detroit Lions. With Titans, reached Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000 but with no time left fell one yard short of at least tying in a 23-16 loss to the Rams, where he would next coach. In 2014 earned acclaim, and some criticism, for drafting Michael Sam, the NFL’s first openly gay player. Sam was eventually cut.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Lovie Smith. Highly respected African-American coach spent most of his career as head coach at Chicago, but began at Tampa Bay under Tony Dungy. Eventually in Super Bowl XLI, Smith became the first African-American head coach in the event followed just hours later by…Tony Dungy, now with Indianapolis. It was also the first Super Bowl with two black head coaches. Smith is named for his great aunt, Lavana.

Tennessee Titans: Ken Whisenhunt. Former Arizona head coach from 2077-12. An offensive specialist. Earned degree in civil engineering from Georgia Tech. Eagle Scout. So good at golf (65) contemplated playing professionally. In 2012 guided Cardinals to the first 4-0 start since 1974; then endured a nine-game losing streak. Titans finished 2-14 this year.

Washington Redskins: Jay Gruden. Younger brother of former Tampa Bay coach and Super Bowl winner Jon Gruden. Other brother James is a radiologist at the Mayo Clinic. First stint as a head coach. Known as a quarterbacks expert, though this was the position where the Redskins struggled most in 2014, Gruden’s first season. Four-year starter at QB for Louisville. Played in European and Arena Leagues, named MVP as QB for AFL’s Tampa Bay Storm in 1992.

Mullets Grow. Can Character?

Sadly the drugs aren't why I wear my hair this way.

Sadly the drugs aren’t why I wear my hair this way.

It may be true that “cheaters never prosper,” but in sports this week, they did gain a little ground.

Now, to no surprise, none of Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa even came close to being voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. All have confirmed or alleged use of steroids to thank. (Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Jon Smoltz and Craig Biggio did get the nods.)

And in the world of mixed martial arts, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, crowned just last Saturday with a unanimous win over nemesis Daniel Cormier (even their press conferences become octagons), tested positive for cocaine metabolites and entered rehab.

On the other hand, a baseball signed by six of the eight players involved in the 1919 Black Sox cheating scandal, most notably “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, will go on the auction block beginning Monday for a $100,000 starting price, along with two other items from what may be the most famous gambling gambits of all time: during the 1919 World Series between the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds, eight White Sox players were accused of losing games intentionally for money from gamblers. Although they were acquitted in court, all eight were banned from baseball for life. Their story was the inspiration for a number of books and movies, particularly Field of Dreams.

And finally, the brash-talking, muscle-flexing, mullet-wearing 80s football sensation Brian “The Boz” Bosworth was selected for the College Football Hall of Fame, despite admitted performance-enhancing drug use and an NFL career that was at best injury-riddled and at worst, one of the sport’s biggest flops. Former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, currently serving a five-year NCAA penalty for failing to report players’ impermissible benefits, was also allowed in. (Ohio State seems to have recovered, too; they play Oregon for the national title Monday night.)

So what’s the moral? Cheaters have a chance? Football is more forgiving? I don’t know. Mullets eventually grow. Maybe character can too.