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Sports Writers Should Respect Jordan's Dream to Play

By Mike Duffy and Andrew Heitner
Sports Columnists

Hope all of our fans did not freeze back in Boston while we were on assignment covering the Pro Bowl in Honolulu. Although the sand fleas were biting at our ankles, to quote Jeff Spicoli in saying that there were a lot of "tasty waves and cool Buds" would be accurate in describing the week. One question did pop up while your humble scribes were bronzing on the white sand beaches of the 5-0: How do the Lords of the Gridiron select the cheerleaders who go to the Pro Bowl? We had some criteria in mind, but if anyone has more official knowledge, drop us a line. ...

Just when the college basketball junkie thought he had everything, ESPN once again tells us that this not so. ESPN has teamed up with Raycom and the Division I-A Athletic Directors Association to bring us the Great Eight Basketball tourney on Nov. 29 and 30. The tourney will pit the final eight teams from this year's NCAA action in a two-day fest out at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Each team will play one game, with pairings decided by random drawings. (Teams will not, however, play teams they will face later in the season.) Teams are guaranteed $100,000 plus expenses and a donation to the school's Challenging Athletes' Minds for Personal Success program. With a doubleheader each day, the tourney will merely make the average hoop fan salivate and make the serious hoop fan lose his ...

Two thumbs up to His Airness for signing with the Chicago White Sox in an attempt to play major league baseball, following perhaps the greatest NBA career in history. If Jordan is able to play in the majors without having played organized baseball since high school, Senor Nike will certainly extend his lead as the World's Greatest Athlete. Two thumbs down, though, to those sports writers who are taking shots at Jordan, claiming he will never succeed and that he is making a mockery of the game. First of all, baseball is in such a sorry state these days (wild card playoff teams, Tim Belcher making $3.4 million, a team from Canada winning the last two World Series, Marge Schott an owner, etc.) that there really is nothing left to make a mockery of. Second, these writers should admire and lionize someone who is willing to put everything on the line to take a shot at a dream. Jordan's statement that he is not afraid to fail, but can't accept not trying should be broadcast to children everywhere. Just because some tubby typist pulls a groin trying to play pick-up hoops and beer league softball in the same weekend doesn't mean that Jordan should not at least try to play ball. ...

Although your humble scribes were not gifted enough to be able to write for the Arts section of The Tech, it is safe for us to say that the movie Caddy Shack is a classic. This being the case, PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beman should lighten up in his criticism of Bill Murray for Murray's antics at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament. Murray is always hilarious, and it's not as if golf is such a thrilling spectator sport that Murray is detracting from the exciting action. Besides, how can anyone take shots at "a cinderella story. ..."

With the Winter Olympics beginning this weekend, it's always interesting to walk into a bar during the Olympics and hear patrons arguing about some obscure sport that they know nothing about, except what the announcers have just told them. Particularly interesting to these Olympics is that the Fiji Islands, American Samoa, and Trinidad and Tobago are all sending participants to Lillehammer. Trinidad joins an experienced Jamaican squad, energized no doubt by the Disney flick Cool Runnings, in representing the Caribbean. It is hard to understand why these teams would do this. With the frigid weather in Norway, your humble scribes would gladly trade our two-week assignment in Lillehammer for two weeks of palm trees and rum punch down in Port-Au-Prince. ...

Another sad story from the dismal Southwest Conference: Texas Tech fans engaged in a shouting and pushing match with Texas A&M Coach Tony Barone and the Aggie players following A&M's 89-88 victory over the Red Raiders last Saturday. After an exchange of pleasantries, a Tech fan was knocked unconscious by a crushing right hook from Aggie forward Joe Wilbert. The report is that it was the best hit in the SWC this season, football included. Ouch. ...

The Let's Argue NBA All Star ballot is in. Before listing our selections, we must inform the readers that our selections are based on who would comprise our team if we were to play a single game for all the marbles, not on popularity. In the East, we will take: Kenny Anderson (Nets), Joe Dumars (Detroit), Scottie Pippen (Bulls), 'Zo Mourning (Hornets), and Shaq. True we placed 'Zo at the number 4 spot, but this is where he should be. Toughest omissions: 'Nique, Starks, Patrick , DC, Price, and Rice.

From the left coast, our team would be: Kevin Johnson (Suns), Mitch Richmond (Kings), Sir Charles (Suns), Shawn Kemp (Sonics), and Hakeem Olajuwan (Rockets). People coming off of the bench: The Worm, Stockton, Mailman, The Admiral, Manning , and Mullin. ...

You Heard it Here First

Sir Vix is predicting a Slam Dunk championship for Issiah Rider. Although the chic picks are Shawn Kemp and Harold Minor, if any of you saw last year's college dunk championships in which Rider put the ball through his legs (while in mid-air) before throwing it down, you would agree.

Menudo's College Football Report

With college football's national letter of intent signing period underway, we have enlisted the services of the college football guru, known in these circles as Menudo, to list his Top 5 recruiting classes to date:

1. Tennessee. The old saying, "They don't rebuild, they reload," is appropriate with all five of these teams. In the Volunteers case, they lost Heath Shuler to hardship, but picked up Peyton Manning (QB, 6'5", 200 lbs.), son of NFL QB Archie. Additionally, they signed All Americans Marcus Nash (WR, 6'3", 190) and Jarvis Reado (OL, 6'6", 287). Although they lost Ahndre Patterson (TE, 6'4", 248) to Alcorn State, the signing of these three players will ensure some high scoring games down in Knoxville for the years to come.

2. Ohio State. The Buckeyes were able to replace Big Daddy (Dan Wilkinson) and Offensive Tackle Alan Kline with All Americans Orlando Pace (DL, 6'8", 295 ) and Eric Gohlistin (OL, 6'5", 305). Picking up All State performers Winfield Garnett (DL, 6'6", 330) and Dan Gibbons (DL, 6'4", 300), and Marcus Spriggs (OL, 6'4", 290) will make leftovers a word of the past out in Columbus.

3. Florida State. They picked up two outstanding defensive players in All Americans Lamont Green (LB, 6'3", 228) and Robert Hammond (DB, 6'3", 185). Although they only signed a couple of big horses for the O and D lines, they did land speedster Magic Benton (WR, 6', 170) out of Miami.

4. Michigan. Despite signing only one All American, Rasheed Simmons (LB, 6'6", 240), the Wolves added a lot of speed at the receiver spot in order to relieve some pressure off of Tyrone Wheatley. Chris Singletary (LB, 6'3", 222) and Sam Sword (LB, 6'4", 240) will help keep Michigan's defense strong for the near future.

5. Southern Cal. John Robinson is doing a fine job of turning the once proud Trojan football program back onto the right track. With Robinson reinstalling the ground attack that made USC famous, he was able to land All American Deion Washington (RB, 5'10", 180) of Dallas Kimball. Additionally, he picked up All American Darrell Russell (DL, 6'6", 305) to replace Willie McGinest.

Menudo points out that Miami was unable to sign the top players from their own backyard, as Michigan, USC, and even Kentucky raided not only Florida, but the city of Miami as well, for some top talent. Also, the SWC did not sign either of the All Americans from Dallas, something unheard of in the past. This further exemplifies the fall of the conference, especially with A&M on probation next year.

Simson's Top 4

1. North Carolina

2. Arkansas

3. Louisville

4. Duke

Let's Argue Fan Top 5

Mark I. Randall '94 sends us this week's list, with the category "Basketball teams with the baggiest shorts":

1. Arkansas

2. University of Michigan

3. Georgia Tech

4. UMass

5. Missouri

Where Are They Now?

Former LA Rams: Vince Ferragamo, Jack Youngblood, Jim Youngblood, John Cox, Preston Dennard, Merlin Olsen, Cullen Bryant, "Hacksaw" Reynolds, Cliff Harris, Nolan Cromwell, and John Cappilletti.

Mondongo's Hueso de la Semana

Mondongo is so proud that many of his loyal readers have been keeping their keen eyes open for bonehead plays everywhere, that he cedes the presentation of this week's award to one of the faithful Dongitos.

Brian Pendleton reports: "While watching the Mobil Invitational Indoor track competition at George Mason University on Sunday, I witnessed a candidate for the bonehead play of the week. Her name is Suzi Hamilton, an American long distance runner. While competing in the mile race on an indoor track, she miscounted the laps, which is eight laps for a mile indoors, and sprinted in finishing her seventh lap. She thought the race was over, but she had one more lap to go. She ended up dropping out of the race.

"They count out the laps as you run and ring the bell at the start of the final lap. `Laps to go' is posted right at the finish line. (She claimed they posted `1 lap to go' as she finished her sixth lap.) This is why the guys at ESPN are boneheads: As Hamilton sprinted toward and crossed the finish line, they displayed her `winning time' which was under 4 minutes, near the men's world record time for the indoor mile."

Race For Futility

Mavs: 5-42; 'Wolves: 1-4 versus Mavs

This week's race is a photo finish, and begs the question: Is it worse to have only five wins by the All-Star break, or to lose to that team four times, including three at home? The Wolves get the nod here, mainly because they have Christian "Boy Toy" Laettner.

Trivia Question of the Week

Going into this season, Dean Smith was first among Division I active coaches (10 years as a D-1 head coach minimum) with 24.19 wins per year. Who was second with 24.18? Send answers, comments, and your top 10 selections for "Greatest Moments in Curling" to sports@the-tech.mit.edu. Answer to last week's question: The Orange Bowl, which housed Super Bowls II, III, V, X, and XIII. New Orleans, has hosted the most with seven. Kudos to Jay Coulson '94 who got it right. He wins an autographed copy of the Tonya Harding "How To Find the Perfect Mate" book, due to hit (no pun intended) the stands next week.

Rumblings from Around the 'Tute

From Bo Light, '96: "Interesting theory on the Harding case, except that she and Gillooly (what an unfortunate name, no doubt the Buttafuoco of 1994) have been divorced for over a year. ... I personally think that Tonya did lie to protect Jeff, and now that she no longer supports him, he's trying to cover his ass. Evidence to support this theory: When Shawn Eckardt was arrested, he originally told authorities (several times) that Tonya Harding had nothing to do with it. Now, of course, his story has changed, too, no doubt to help out his high school buddy Gillooly.

"Also, Connie Chung interviewed Gillooly's lawyer right after Jeff made his big confession, and I have never seen someone so defensive in my life. Connie's first question was, `Couldn't this be easily interpreted as Jeff trying to save hims--?' She didn't quite finish her sentence because the lawyer launched into his denial just a bit ahead of schedule.

"Anyway, that's my theory, but it doesn't matter; she'll get kicked off the team anyway because the rest of the world sees her as being about as innocent as Lorena Bobbitt. The irony here is that Bobbitt (another unfortunate name, why don't people named Smith ever make the news?) was acquitted. Well, that's my two cent's worth. ...Talk to y'all later."

Despite the Steelers' first round departure from the playoffs, Ed Cho '94 sent us the following: "Answer: The Rose Bowl. The Pittsburgh Steelers are still the greatest team ever. You guys are great, and your article is a wonderful section in the heralded Tech. Keep up the entertaining work. Thanks fellas."