"If you can succeed as a Ranger. you're bound to succeed in life!' SP4 Eugene Rhoden, 2nd Ranger Barra lion "When I was in college studying engineering, my brother was in the Rangers. I thought he was crazy. I kept asking him what kind of future h e'd have, jump ing out of airplanes. Now he's in college, I'm in the Rangers, and I know what kind of future both of us are going to have . "I figure if someone instills 110% confidence in you, you can't help but succeed. And that's exactly what the Rangers do. We train hard physically. We're expected to move faster, go further, work harder. "But it's really more mental than physical. In the Ranger battalion, you learn to overcome your fears, which naturally stre ngthens you . I know, without a doubt, whatever I face , if I can p ut my mind to it, I can do it." Along with every Am1y skill comes the opportunity to push beyond potential and discover what you can really do. For more information, see your local Army Recruiter or call toll free ,,
ARMY. BE ALL'YOU CANâ€˘
MAY / JUNE,
6 THE POWER OF POSITIVE SINKING
Dan Quisenberry goes "down under'' to put the Royals on top.
10 NET PROFITS AND CAPITAL GAINS
Mike Gartner walks tall and carries an explosive stick for Washington.
15 RACHEL Bodybuilder Rachel Mclish shatters the stereotypes of her sport.
22 THE SWING OF KING They're singing Betsy King's praises in the LPGA ... at last. THE TIME BANDIT
26 QB John Reaves has discovered a fountain of youth in Tampa Bay. IN THE RAINS 32 SWINGING Alvin Davis gives the Mariners someone to cheer about. A ROSEY OUTLOOK 36 Rosey Grier is a big man with a big heart.
When the news comes, how does an athlete handle it?
4 EDITOR'S FOCUS TRAINING TIPS 5 The Insight Story
"How-to's" from Rachel Mclish and Rosey Grier
THE QUIZ BIZ
20 Sports Trivia C
Cover photo by Tom Mills
A publication of New Focus, Inc. PUBLISHER Ralph Drollinger EDITOR John Carvalho ART DIRECTOR Steve Gier ASSISTANT EDITOR Sara L. Anderson EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Mark Routh RESEARCH DIRECTOR Rick York CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Ken Sidey NEW FOCUS, INC. EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT Andrew J. Gusich ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT Bob Bowman DIRECTOR OF ADVERTISING SALES Bob Stephens (714) 886-0611 EDITORIAL OFFICES
SportsFocus magazine 1932 North E. St. San Bernardino, CA 92405 SUBSCRIPTION ADDRESS SportsFocus subscriptions P.O. Box 50001 San Bernardino, CA 92412
SportsFocus is published bimonthly and copyrightedÂŽ 1985 by New Focus, Inc., San Bernardino, California 92412. Business and editorial offices are located at 1932 North ESt., San Bernardino, CA 92405. Subscriptions $10.97 per year (Canada and foreign $16.97 per year). SPECIAL CREDITS FOR PHOTOGRAPHY Cover, Tom Mills; p. 3 (top left) Tom Mills, (top right) Greg Schneider, (bottom) Greg Schneider; p. 5 (top) Philip DeJong, (bottom) Rick Wattman; p. 7, Philip DeJong; pp. 8 and 9, Tom Mills; p. 10, Paul Bereswiii/Sports Illustrated; pp. 12-14, Gary Fine; p. 15, Rick Wattman; p. 16, Joe Weider Photo Library/ Mike Neveux; p. 17, Rick Wattman; pp. 23 and 24, Greg Schneider; p. 26, Heinz Kluetmeier/Sports Illustrated; pp. 28 and 29, Heinz Kluetmeier/Sports Illustrated; p. 32, Greg Schneider; p. 33, Chuck Solomon/Focus on Sports; p. 34 (left) Jerry Wachter/Focus on Sports, (right) Greg Schneider; p. 36, Philip DeJong; p. 37 (left) Neil Leifer/Sports Illustrated, (right) L.A. Rams; p. 38, Philip DeJong; p. 41 (top left) Edmonton Journal, (top right, bottom left and bottom right) Focus on Sports; p. 42, Ron Kuntz; p. 43 (top) Ron Kuntz, (bottom) Brian Gavriloff; p. 45 (top) Bill White, (bottom) Jeff Kida; p. 46, Jeff Kida; p. 47, Tom Mills.
EDITOR'S FOCUS THE INSIGHT STORY
ERE IT IS: the first bi-monthly issue of SportsFocus magazine. This MayIJ une issue marks the entry of SportsFocus magazine into the sports magazine market. Our magazine may be a rookie, but we believe SportsFocus has the strong credentials and promising future of a No. 1 draft choice. The "focus" in SportsFocus is people. Face it, interest in sports today involves more than simply scores and statistics; it involves people. When the NFL players argued in 1982, "The players are the game," they weren't just describing the strength of their bargaining position. They were describing a trend: Increased media attention and improved coverage of sports have also increased interest in the people side of sports. Fans today don't just want to know how many saves Dan Quisenberry totalled in 1984, or how he throws his submarine pitch. They want to know how he responds to the pressure of pitching in a pennant race; how he manages family life with the travel demands of major-league baseball; how he balances baseball with other priorities in life. SporlSFocus magazine highlights that part of sports. We plan to bring you, every other month, a magazine packed with features on sports personalities you want to know better. Plus, our method of reporting on these people offers a new "focus." Increased media attention has created a form of reporting that begins to resemble scandaloriented entertainment news. But, as Julius Erving said on the "Today" show, referring to the "Julius Erving's Sports Focus" television show, "There are a lot of good stories out there, a lot of good guys." Julius is right, although you wouldn't think so by reading the sports pages. But, believe it or not, there are a lot of athletes out there who aren't demanding to be traded; who aren't on drugs or alcohol; who are enjoying a normal family life; and who aren't written about too often. Those are the stories we want to bring you in SportsFocus. Take, for example, our special report on unemployment. It would have been tempting to write a problemcentered report, spiced with vignettes of immature athletes turned suicidal after being unjustly cut by vicious team management. Unemployment is a serious problem. SPORTS FOCUS 4
When it broadsides an athlete who is illprepared for life in the real world, the results can be devastating. But there are a lot of athletes and coaches who, when faced with a sudden change like retirement or being cut or fired, have learned how to handle it. The four people chronicled in our special report-Sam Rutigliano, Gary Unger, Skip Johnston and Paul Westphalhave all adjusted well. Their experiences provide valuable insights for anyone who loses his job. Our special report on unemployment is just one example of the kind of reporting you'll find in SportsFocus magazine and on the "Julius Erving's Sports Focus" television show. The fact that you are reading this magazine shows that you are interested in hearing that side of the story. We hope â€˘ you enjoy what you read. -John Carvalho
THE SHAPE OF THINGS
to flex your biceps on national television isn't the only reason fm·weight tmining.Rachel McLish started simply because s he wanted to get into better shape. So, if you want to drop a few pounds or tighten your tummy, heJ'e are some suggestions for how to begin.
The most important • thing for the beginner in weight training to do is to stick with it. Make the commitment to yourself that this form of exercise-or any other exercise program-is something you are going to make a part of your lifestyle. Commitment is the key word.
Get proper instruction. • Any good health club should have instructors to help design and guide you through a weight-training program. You can easily injure yourself if you do not use proper technique while lifting weights.
TRAINING TIPS Tips from Rosey Grier on preparing your child for athletic
Rachel Mclish on shaping up
you can start. Everything happens at once. You Jose fat as you build muscle. Change your eating habits gradually at the same time. Commit yourself to a program, stick with it and watch patiently for the results. They'll come, and you're going to love it. • -Ken Sidey
FATHER KNOWS BEST ''L
ITTLE" ROSEY Grier is now 13, and he and his father enjoy playing different
A /ways warm up thor• oughly as part of your workout. Here again, proper instruction will help you.
E xercise at least fow· • times per week. Don't skip workouts. The consistency is what pays off.
Start slowly and allow • your body to respond gradually to your exercise. Your body will automatically get stronger. It will start firming up. But don't try to go too far, too fast.
Don't think that you • have to lose weight before
When the subject is weight training, nobody knows the "how-to's" like former bodybuilding champions Rachel Mclish and Bob Birdsong.
SPORTS FOCUS 5
Rosey Grier stresses the fundamentals, along with demonstrating a good aHitude.
sports together. Rosey Senior has some tips for parents who have kids involved in sports. "Whenever my son wants to do anything, I say, 'Do you really want to do it? Do you want to get in shape to do it? 'Cause if you don't want to get in shape, you' re not going to be the best.' "After he's decided he's really going to work for it, then he needs to Jearn the fundamentals of the sport. The fundamentals are the key. Without them, there'll be a guy coming along who might not have the ability, but the other guy'll whip him 'cause he knows the fundamentals. " Once you as a parent, (I) make sure he really wants to do it; (2) make sure he's in shape to do it; and (3) make sure he has the basics, the natural talent will take over. "Besides dedication, conditioning and fundamentals, I talk about having the right attitude. T hat means if you're play ing on a team of five, you don't hog the game. Share it. Don't think your team can't win unless you score. You can win whoever scores . Be prepared to do your part well, be up, don't accuse your teammates, and you'll find you' ll win a lot. Sometimes you' ll lose because the other team is better or because you made a mistake at a key time. So, learn how to enjoy the victory, and learn to enjoy or at least handle losses, 'cause you are going to Jose some." • - Sara L. Anderson
Dan Quisenberry's pitches from down under leave batters wondering which way is up.
BY CHUcK MAcDoNALD T'S THE FIFTH INNING AT Royals Stadium. In the bullpen, Dan Quisenberry, the American League's premier relief pitcher, has been cracking jokes, planning pranks and maybe working a crossword puzzle. He's even wandered under the stands to consult with groundskeeper George Toma on the best way to strike out the crab grass in Quiz's front yard. Dan admits to not thinking about the game away from the ballpark, and not much about it at all during the first five innings either. But now he's getting restless. He rises from a padded chair, stretches his legs and swings his shoulders from side to side. His jaws work rhythmically, not on Red Man, like many of his team-
Photos by Tom Mills and Philip De ]ong
H1s ACCOMPLISHMENTS HAVE PUT DAN IN A CLASS BY HIMSELF. SPORTSFOCUS 7
'fm just a garbage man. I come into a game and clean up other people's messes' mates, but on jokes. He's polishing his one-liners. Although there might be a rare dissenter in a claim for Quisenberry as the American League's best reliever, there are none when you ask who the league's funniest interview is. Consider these comments: "I don't like to make a big deal about my job," he told one reporter. "I'm just a garbage man. I come into a game and clean up other people's messes." On another occasion, he observed: "The best thing about baseball is there's no homework." In a more philosophical moment, Quisenberry said, "I've seen the future, and it's much like the present, only longer." And, on accepting the Rolaids Award for the top relief pitcher in the American League (he's won four in five years) the Quiz departed from the customary kudos to Grandma and the Little League coach: "I'd like to thank the members of the Kansas City Royals for all the great plays they made behind me, and the starting pitchers, who couldn't go nine innings, and [Royals manager] D ick Howser, who wouldn't let them." By the sixth or seventh inning, Quiz is lazily throwing his warm-up tosses. Finally the bullpen phone rings. Jim Schaffer, the bullpen coach picks up the phone. (On one occasion with two pitchers warming up, Howser asked, "Which one looks better?" "I don't know," Schaffer replied. "They both look pretty ugly.") This time, there's no question: Howser wants Quisenberry. Usually Quiz comes in only to protect a Royals lead, which he has done with computer-like efficiency. In 1984, his six wins coupled with 44 saves to figure in 60% of his team's 84 wins. This game is still in the balance, as is the Royals' season. Kansas City is in the final week of the pennant race. The Royals have won the first two games of their final series with the California Angels. One more win and the Angels are virtually eliminated. The Royals have just tied the score, 5-5, and they're counting on Quisenberry to hold the Angels off long enough for KC to score. Quiz strolls to the mound in the ninth inning with the nonchalance of a commuter walking the final block to his bus stop with 30 minutes to spare. Planting his foot on the pitching rubber, Quisenberry takes a stride toward the plate, then delivers the ball in one of the most unusual manners in the major leagues. Instead of bringing his hand over his head and rifling a 90-mileper-hour bullet, Quisenberry crouches, slings his arm downward and then with a snapping hand motion reminiscent of administering a spanking, delivers the
ball to the plate. Instead of rocketing toward home, the ball arcs lazily toward the strike zone, looking as easy to smash as a basketball. How can a batter miss? Unfortunately for him, if he's fortunate enough to get a hit, the ball acts about like a basketball. Usually it bounds along the green carpet toward an eager infielder who transforms the threat into a double play. That's what happened in Quisenberry's first major league appearance in 1979, and he's been doing it ever since. The next year, the 1980 Royals pennant-winning season, Quisenberry came from nowhere to figure prominently, saving 33 games and posting a 12-7 record. The Quiz's star continued to rise even as his devastating sinkerball continued to plummet. He was among the league leaders in saves the next two years and then posted a league record of 45, breaking John Hiller's record of 38, which had stood since 1973.
1 thm't think God ca-r_es whether we win or lose baseball games' SPORTS FOCUS 8
OT ONE TO REST ON HIS LAURELS, Quisenberry comes into this Angels game having already posted 43 saves. That made him the most prolific relief pitcher in the major leagues from 1980-84, over Rollie Fingers, Bruce Sutter and Rich Gossage. Mter retiring the first two batters in the bottom of the lOth, Quiz gets into trouble. Fred Lynn and Juan Beniquez bounce singles off the Kansas City artificial turf, and Reggie Jackson and Doug DeCinces are due up. There could be a home run in the Angels' immediate future. Pressure for the reliever? With the pennant on the line, Quiz looks as uptight as if he's about to decide which station to tune in for the 10 o'clock news. But then, pressure is something that relief pitchers always have had to deal with, each in his own way. "I try not to be an emotional player," Dan says. "I don't like to get real excited or real mad. I like to play relaxed. And I think I concentrate better." He hasn't always been so composed. In college he once tried to swallow a shower head after giving up a game-winning home run. "I became more serene," Dan recalls. " I became a Christian and married Janie. The combination of Christianity and Janie made me think about responsibility for my actions. " His faith has also helped him to keep afloat and cool in the cauldron of emotions that is a big league ballpark. "Every week it seems that baseball gets too important to me," Dan says. "I start wanting to be too successful. I want to be the best relief pitcher. I want to win the pennant. I want to beat every hitter that I face. That can make it very pressure-filled to meet all of those goals and expectations. My faith tells me that baseball is not that important. It doesn't help the hungry or the oppressed, and it doesn't change any corporate evils or social evils." Quisenberry feels he has a responsibility to combat social problems. He does that one way by giving time and money to The Harvesters, an organization that distributes money and food to the poor in the Kansas City area. That's where Dan believes Christian love should find its outlet: in giving. "I think that too much of'spirituality' is selfishness. We concentrate so much on 'How do I feel?' 'Do I feel close to God?"' he says."! don't think it's important
how we feel. When you're oppressed and downtrodden, you need somebody to love you. If you go out and actively start loving other people and trying to help change things, you forget all about yourself. If we are going to be servants, like the New Testament tells us we ought to be, I don't think we should be thinking so much about ourselves." Quisenberry's selfless attitude puts things in wellordered perspective, including baseball. "I don't think God cares whether we win or lose baseball games," he says frankly. "Some Christians would disagree with me, and that's fine if they think that. But I know that if I ever do feel close to God on a baseball field, it's when I've given up a game-winning home run or everybody's booing me. Most of the time it's when something terrible has happened." Baseball might not be the most important thing in his life, but the competitive fires still burn inside the 6-foot-2, 180-pound fireman. "Now everybody expects me to save games, and I expect me to save games. I expect to be perfect every night. And I'm disappointed if I'm not," he says. " I hate letting down the manager and the starting pitcher and the press and the fans. We all expect everything to go well every time out. And it's like I can't be human. I know that all I should expect is that I give the best that I have that day and accept the results. But it's not that easy."
n this September night he's giving his best against the Angels. In typical Quiz style, he induces Reggie Jackson to ground into a force play and strikes out Doug DeCinces on three meanbreaking "basketballs." In the 12th Quisenberry uncharacteristically walks the lead-off hitter, Gary Pettis (He only walks an average of one batter every seven innings; walks just don't fit into his strategy.). "I really like to throw strikes," he says. "I don't waste many pitches, and I usually don't set guys up. If I' m going to be bad, I want to be bad in a hurry. Whatever happens, I want it to be done and over with in a hurry." After a sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk to Fred Lynn, Quisenberry strikes out Juan Beniquez on a slider to bring up Jackson, "Mr. October," again. Unfortunately for the Angels, it's a couple of days short of the magic month. Jackson, with a chance to
knock in the winning run, drives a long fly ball which Five-and-a-half years and 360 games later, Royals right fielder Darryl Motley flags down at full baHers still can't ace speed. the Quiz's 'down under' It is the longest stint of the season for Quisenpitches.
berry-four innings-and his four strikeouts were a career high. " You could've stuck a fork in me," Dan said later. "I was done." The Royals' Steve Balboni makes the Quiz a winner with a long single in the bottom of the 12th, scoring Dane Iorg from second for a 6-5 win. The game virtually eliminates the Angels from the pennant race. For Quisenberry, it was another typical performance. He had squirmed Houdini-like out of two difficult situations, managing to look unspectacular all the time. He kept his earned run average and sense of humor intact. When reporters asked if the Royals could put the Angels completely out of their misery the next day, Quiz replied, "Don't ask me. Ask Jeanne Dixon. Or better yet, go to God." â€˘
letting down the manager Chuck MacDonald is an editor with Worldwide Challenge magazine. A native of the Kansas City area, and the Chuck enjoyed finishing off this assignment while the Royals were finishing off the American League West. starting pitcher and LISTS the press DAN QUISENBERRY'S "down under'' pitches have been bringing him up on the and the lifetime saves list. In 1984, he moved to fans' fourth on the roster after only 5 12 seasons, 1
passing McGraw, Garber and Tekulve.
Saves Rollle Fingers (Milwaukee) Bruce SuHer (Atlanta) Rich Gossage (San Diego) DAN QUISENBERRY (Kansas City) Tug McGraw (Retired) Gene Garber (Atlanta) Kent Tekulve (Philadelphia) Gary Lavelle (Toronto) Terry Forster (Atlanta) Campbell (Philadelphia) SPORTSFOCUS 9
231 180 179 169 158
127 121 119
Mike goal-scoring records have helped tum the Caps into winners.
ET PROFITS AND c Pll SPORT SFOCUS 10
IT'S A FAMILIAR SCENE, on file in the mental library of every sports fan. Good ol' Thumper Trueblood has just notched a basket/touchdown/goal/home
run. "That's it!'' the impassioned announcer shouts. "Thumper's done it! He'sjust set a new all-time club record!" Good o/' Thumper manages to drag his aging body to the center of the arena so the fans can make a proper fuss over him.
T earn executives, meanwhile, emit a collective sigh of relief. "He's finally got the record," the general manager says. "Let's get the old codger out of there before he gets
T'S HAPPENED more than oncean antiquated athlete hanging on far past his prime just to claim a record. Consider, then, the contrast when Mike Gartner became the all-time career leader in goals scored for the Washington Capitals. Gartner was just 24 when he surpassed the mark last season. Granted, club records for the longhorrid Capitals still come almost as cheap as an oil change at Jiffy Lube. But with the way Washington is headed as a team, and Mike's continued improvement, he'll break many records before reaching Thumper's advanced age. The Caps finished a close second to the New York Islanders last year in the NHL's Patrick Division. Young talent like goalie Pat Riggin; defensemen Rod Langway and Scott Stevens; and forwards Bobby Carpenter, Dove Christian, Doug Jarvis and Gartner provided
BILL HORLACHER winning play for the past and promise for the future. As for Gartner's individual game, he has surged into a position among the game's top players. Perhaps The Washington Post said it best last fall with the headline: "NHL Gets the Picture: Gartner in Prime Time." Mike has always been admired for his swiftness on the ice and for an overpowering slap shot. But he also drew criticism for inconsistent puck handlinguntil a brilliant performance for Team Canada last summer in the Canada Cup showed otherwise. Gartner helped his homeland win the title, and the competition helped him"particularly in boosting my self-confi-
CuB records for the long-horrid Capitals still come almost as cheap as an oil change at jiffy Lube
dence," he says. "I've learned to handle the puck better, playing that caliber of competition and just watching the best players-how they handle the puck and the moves they make. "I'm coming into my prime. Just turning 25, I feel stronger physically and I'm maturing as a hockey player." Washington head coach Bryan Murray is equally encouraged. "He's definitely getting a better selection of shots. He has his body in better position to shoot. And I may be imagining it, but he seems a step quicker," Murray says. "In his overall development as a player, especially the maturity factor, he has come a great distance. He improved over the last couple of years, but there's no question the Canada Cup helped him." Mike is known as one of the hardestworking Capitals, and his efforts have paid off. He is both a steady and a prolific scorer, averaging a point (for a goal or an assist) a game each of the past four seasons. But why does he continue to push himself after six seasons in pro hockey, five in the NHL? When does the smooth skating start?
OT ANY TIME SOON. For the reason, the young veteran points directly to his personal faith in Christ. "I'm playing to glorify God," he says, "and the way I can do that is to play my best. I just signed a long-term contract [6 years] before this season. Maybe before, I would have just sat back and said, 'I've got it made for six years, so I
has always been admired for his swiftness on the ice and for an overpowering slap shot
Go ahead, make his day ... Mike Gartner's offense is a shot in the arm for the Capitals.
can cruise.' But now, I feel very responsible to God." A trade by the Capitals in 1980 led indirectly to Gartner's commitment to Christ. Jean Pronovost came to the Caps from the Calgary Flames, and he brought more than a hockey stick and a French accent. "When Jean came to the team I heard that he was a born-again Christian," Mike recalls. "I had never heard the term before." The two became good friends, and Pronovost invited his younger teammate to attend a team chapel service provided by Hockey Ministries. Later, Jean invited Mike to his home for a Bible study group. SPORTS FOCUS 12
"I didn't want to hurt Jean's feelings, so I went," Mike says. After attending several Bible studies, Mike began to understand the gospel message-"how Christ died on the cross for my sins." And Mike was beginning to see his need. "I felt fear-fear of death and where I would go when I died." Once, while flying to a game, Gartner sat beside Pronovost. Gartner recalls, "Jean said, 'If this plane went down, where would you go?' And I said, 'I really don't know.' And he said, 'You can know for sure.'" Pronovost related some Bible verses to Gartner that demonstrated how, through
a personal relationship with Christ, he could have assurance of salvation. (Jean has since retired and works full-time with Hockey Ministries.) Mike says that later, during the same road trip, he trusted Christ as his personal Savior. "[Jesus] started to change my life gradually," Mike says. "I used to drink quite a bit, and for some reason the drinking tailed off. I used to swear a lot, and it seemed like that was just taken away from me." One challenge immediately presented itself to the Ottawa, Ontario native. "I
LISTS IN ONLY FIVE YEARS with the Washington Capitals, Mike Gartner has set three club records and has led his team in goals scored his last two seasons. Some of Mike's Capital accomplishments include: Most games played (390) Most goals scored (197) Most game-winning goals scored (21) Most hat tricks by an active player (7) did a lot of praying that the Lord would have Colleen [then his fiancee] trust Him," Mike says. "She rebelled quite a bit at first. She wanted to call the wedding off. She was quite afraid that I'd become a different person. The fact was that I was a different person, really, but it was definitely for the better. She started to come to some of the Bible studies, and she realized that the truth was in Christ. One of the biggest things for her was that she saw the change in me." Strengthened by continued Bible study, Mike now leads a life that reflects his beliefs. Dave Fay, a Washington sportswriter on the Capitals beat, calls the speedy right wing "an outstanding indi-
SEEING IT THROUGH A
PUCK IN THE EYE is the hockey player's unique nightmare. Nothing makes him cringe more than the thought of that hard rubber disc penetrating his vision. Ask Mike Gartner. He left a February 1983 game against the Winnipeg Jets wondering about the future of his left eye-and his career. Wonder turned to worry when blurry vision continued for several days. Doctors could not promise a complete recovery. Tests showed the eye itself was seeing perfectly, but the damaged optic nerve was sending the wrong messages to the brain. Gartner's sight was too poor for him even to drive a car. A specialist said chances of improvement were slim. "When he said that, I really started to worry," Mike recalls. "Colleen and I went home that night and looked at each other. I said, 'What happens if I can't play?' It was at that moment we both knew we had a special person in the Lord Jesus Christ. We knew that He would bring us through. Whatever was going to happen was His plan. We felt very secure about it." Âˇ Fortunately, the eyesight improved rapidly, allowing Gartner to return to the ice just a few weeks after the injury. But a permanent impact on his life remained. "It made me think just how short a career span can be, and It made me think, 'Just how Important Is hockey, really?"' Mike says, "Both my wife and I grew spiritually through the incident." â€˘ -by Bill Horlacher SPORTSFOCUS l3
'/FELT fear-fear of death and where /would go when I died'
THE GREAT CANADIEN GIVEAWAY
OW DO YOU SAY "Oops" In Fr11nch? . Maybe the answer . doesn't come to you readily, but it should to the Montreal Canadlens' club executives. All they have to do Is think of Sept. 10, 1982. That day, they made a move that has been a major embarrassment in a city where hockey Is nearly as Important as life itself. On that day, the Canadiens announced a trade with the Washington Capitals in which, most hockey observers feel, they gave away the farm. Yes, Montreal gained two top players: left wing Ryan Walter and defenseman Rick Green. But they gave away four goodmen: defensemen Rod Langway, who .since was voted top defenseman in the National Hockey League two straight years; Brian Engblom (traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1983), right wing Craig Laughlin and Doug Jarvis. Langway, though pleased to return to his native country, immediately labelled the transaction with the Caps "the worst trade in the history of the NHL." On the other hand, a gracious David Polle, Washington general man" ager, said happily, "For the first time in Capitals' history, we have a defense." The deal turned Washington's on-Ice stock bullish. Immediately, the Caps were transformed from awful to respectable. But one player who came· to Washington In the trade was not so quick to pay dividends: Doug Jarvis, the defense-minded center. · "When I came here," the nine-year veteran says, "I had to make a little adjustment to a new team. Remember, of the four guys who were traded, I had been in Montreal the longest of all. The longer you're in a situation, the tougher Ills to start over." Coach Bryan Murray relegated Jarvis to duty on the fourth offensive line for a while, and, Murray admits, "at one point, •• I even considered sitting him out for a game or two.'.' Today, Murray is glad that he eventually chose to give a more prominent role to the man who helped Montreal win four Stanley Cups. Jarvis provides the Caps with outstanding penalty killing, overall solid play and an ability to win important faceoffs. Last year, Jarvis won the Selke Award, given to the NHL forward
vidual." Fay says, "He's an extremely open person. When the team gets beaten badly, and you go into the locker room [for interviews], you know he'll be there to talk to you. Other players might sulk or disappear. If he makes a critical mis-
'gets JVnEN the team beaten badly, and you go into the locker room [for interviews}, you know he'll be there to talk to you' take, you know he'll be there to explain what happened." Gartner's marriage reflects the same perspective. "I can't remember my wife and I really having an argument," he says. "God's taken away the friction that H didn't take long lor "Mr. Jarvis Goes To was there before we got married. We Washington" to become a popular show at have absolute, total trust in each other. . the Capital centre. · · In our home, God is first and He's on the throne of our home .... It's tremendous to judged most outstanding on defense•. have Him as the head of our household." The Caps' forward brims with enthuThe native of Brantford, Ontario, may also be headed for another honor-he ' siasm when he's talking about Colleen will enter next season having played In and about their baby boy, Joshua. Last 800 consecutive games, about one- summer, Fay talked casually with Mike and-a-half seasons behind Garry Un- at the NHL entry draft. "I said to Mike, ger's all-time NHL record (914). 'How's Joshua?' For the next 10 min''With the character he has," Murray utes I found out how Joshua was-diaper said last season, "Doug Jarvis exem- by diaper." . plifies the type ofperson who puts the Not surprisingly, Mike is just as eager feam ahead of the individual. He will to tell others what he feels God has done sacrifice his body and take a check for him. "I have joy in my heart," he . every time to be sure the puck gets out says, "and I try to live my life so that of the [defensive] zone." people can see that joy. Before I became a Perhaps the unselfish character that Christian, I was happy with the way my Murray describes has something to do life was going. Here I was 19 years old, with Jarvis' Christian faith. Doug thinks and I had a house and a car, and I was a .so. "I feel like my faith enters Into every- professional hockey player ... I thought thing that happens," he says. "The I was happy before, but I found out that Lord is in charge •.•• I feel like He's true happiness can only be found through involved on a 24-hour basis." Jesus Christ." As cautious with his words as he is Young yet experienced, healthy and with the puck, Jarvis is reluctant to enthusiastic about both life and hockey. draw rash conclusions about the rela- Just what does Mike Gartner want to tionship between his faith and his accomplish before he finally retires from hockey success. He simply says, "My the ice? "With God giving me the ahility life Is in God's hands •.• He gives me that I've had, if I don't use it to my whatever is needed to lead a life that utmost potential, then I'm not glorifying glorifies Him-my hockey life, family Him," Mike says. "Right now, I feel that He wants me to be the best hockey player life, social life.'' • that I can be, and I'm going to try to do -by Bill . HOrlacher . that." • SPORTSFOCUS 14
'/DON'T want to become some sort of pathetic peacock and just flex' BYKENSIDEY
HERE'S MORE TO RACHEL McLISH than meets the eye. Don't misunderstand. We' re not talking abut a woman who net:ds blind-date endorsements like "She makes all her own clothes" and "All the girls just love her." We're talking about a two-time Miss Olympia and a u.s. and World Women's Professional Body Building champion. Don't get the idea either that Rachel is some kind of muscle-bound Amazon. That's the trouble with bodybuilding. Say the words and, instantly, Arnold Schwarzenegger flexes into your mind. The sport probably suffers from more stereotypes than Hollywood has hot tubs. Unfortunately, most of the stereotypes are earned. As in any sport, the hours of teeth-gritting, muscle-burning workouts are there. But what can you say about a sport that lists full-
Rachel Mclish, two-time Miss Olytnpia, isn -'f. afraid tO break body-building StereOtypeS d ,11 h â€˘h â€˘ an COnJ ront t e Welg. t:Y 'ISSUeS ifh rl. 0 er SjJO . SPORTSFOCUS 15
length mirrors as part of its necessary trammg equipment? Still, Rachel has earned a different reputation. For starters, her outlook on her own physical development-the eye-meeting part-departs from the prevailing notion in bodybuilding. "What sets her apart is that she keeps her femininity," Joe Gold says. Gold owns Rachel's training spot, World Gym in Santa Monica, Calif., one of bodybuilding's Meccas. Rachel disdains the "bigger is better" philosophy of many of her competitors. She pumps her iron to maintain a feminine appearance, and succeeds, as even a casual observer can attest. "When people hear Miss Olympia or world bodybuilding champ, they think of muscles and nothing else. They think bodybuilding is just the women they see flexing on TV with all the muscles and oiled bodies," she says. "I don't want to become some sort of pathetic peacock and just flex. I'd rather give a seminar and explain what weight
suffers from more stereotypes than Hollywood bas bot tubs
training is all about and try to get people to get into it for their own health benefits. It's much more important to me to help that woman in middle America who's trying to lose that last five pounds of fat than it is to win muscle titles." The "freakish" appearance of the muscled, nearmasculine women in her sport distances weight training from the public, Rachel claims. She wants her appearance, and the exercise program that gave it to her, to remain accessible to women everywhere.
ACHEL GOT INTO THE SPORT of competitive bodybuilding as a sidelight to her interest in overall fitness. After graduating from Pan American University with degrees in physical education and nutrition, the former cheerleader and dancer went to work as a fitness instructor and health club owner. At her club she made an interesting discovery. "I saw women who called themselves bodybuild-
For two-time Miss Olympia Rachel Mcllsh, 'Flex Appeal' begins at the gym, not the beauty parlor.
SPORTS FOCUS 16
ers getting international media attention, and I thought, 'This is what I 've been doing for years,'" Rachel says. "I knew that weight training for fitness was going to be the ulti mate form of exercise. It wasn't a gimmick." Less than one year later Rachel had her first victory as a competitive bod ybuilder: the 1980 U.S. Women's Championship. She followed that with the M iss Olympia title in the same year and firmly established herself as one of the sport's top competitors. With her weight-training book Flex Appeal selling well and a complementary video on the way, Rachel is spending more time teaching fit ness and less time competing these days. What began as a way to take off a few extra pounds has turned into a successful career. The titles serve more as means than ends. According to Rachel, their only value is to give her a platform to preach her fitness message. That message encompasses more than the physical alone, and that's yet another atypical motivation inside Rachel. A motivation she makes little effort to conceal. T he dedication of her exercise book reads, " To the only perfect person I know/my dear friend Jesus Christ." Without hesitation, she'll tell you He's the one who keeps her fro m becoming another iron-pumping prima donna. " I'm in the position now that people are looking to me- looking up to me, or maybe down at me," she says. " I' m trying to be a good example, and that's the toughest thing in the world to do once you proclaim to be a Christian. People are looking fo r things to challenge you about." Lots of people were watching Rachel closely last October as she tried for her third Miss Olympia title. It had been two years since she'd won a major com petitio!). The bodybuilding world was anxious to see if Rachel still had what it takes. Observers
can you say about a sport that lists fulllength mirrors as part of its necessary training equipment?
TEROIDS. Rachel McLish has nothing good to say about them or any other bodybuilding drug. The health hazards In the use of such drugs Include elevated blood pressure, liver and kidney disorders, Increased water retention and a deepened voice and facial hair for women. All are Irreversible side effects that have nothing to do with health or fitness. The only benefit Is slightly bigger muscles. The trouble, Rachel says, Is that some people want beauty-or muscles- at any cost. "But It's a crutch. And It's not necessary," she says. "You don't need them to get what you want out of weight training." Steroids add only the flnal3 percent finish for competitive bodybuilders, she says. "They won't give you the musculature or the bigness or the shape, and they won't make your workouts any easier." Rachel concedes the use of steroids among wortd-class professional bodybuilders. Sadly they have become almost a necessity for the male bodybuilder who wants to stay competitive. The men's sport Is too far down the road for redemption, she says. But she hopes and campaigns to prevent the same In women's competition. " Bodybuilding drugs are ruinIng our sport, and we must draw the line somewhere, Immediately," Rachel says. But there Is a greater threat to the women's sport than steroids, In Rachel's opinion. It comes from the use of human growth hormones, an organic product which Is undetectable, apparently has no Ill side effects and seems to work even better In women than men, she says. Rachel objects to drug use on moral grounds, too, both for the sake of fair competition and for her own conscience. "I have great care and Interest In fulfilling the potential that God has given me," she says, "and I have absolutely no Interest In any potential that Is achieved through the use of drugs. Pertod." â€˘ -KenSidey
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l also watched to see how she handled the outcome. Rachel placed second. But those who were looking for bitterness were themselves disappointed. "I did exactly what I wanted to do," Rachel says. "I was in the best shape I could be in. I was pleased that I could still contend for the title five years after I first won it." The disappointment of a second-place finish came from an unlikely quarter. "The main reason I wanted to win-! had my speech all planned out-was so I could donate half
LISTS THE FIRST REAL SUPERSTAR ln women's bodybulldlng, Rachel Mcllsh's awards more than substantiate that descrlptlon. These are the major professional titles she's won:
refusal to concentrate on bulging biceps and her outspoken opposition to muscle-building drugs go against the flow of the contemporary direction of women's bodybuilding
United States Women's Bodybulldlng Champion*
World Professional Women's Bodybullding Champion
*Inaugural contest she is seeking to copyright her pictures. That would give her control over their use. The skimpy posing suits necessary in competition have, likewise, caused some misgivings, she says. Bottom line: "What's a nice girl like Rachel doing in a sport like this?" Frankly, she doesn't reconcile easily her goal of becoming more like Christ with her sport. While a strong fitness advocate, Rachel is not quick to recommend competition to other women. "The myths about bodybuilders are probably true," she admits. "You know, that bodybuilders are obsessive-compulsives, they're self-centered,
nice girl/ike Rachel doing in a sport like this?
of my prize money either to World Vision [a Christian organization that distributes food to the hungry] or to Open Doors [a Bible distribution group]," Rachel says. Indirectly, her Christian moral standards may have kept her from getting to make that victory speech. Her refusal to concentrate on bulging biceps and her outspoken opposition to musclebuilding drugs go against the flow of the contemporary direction of women's bodybuilding. In men's competition, the use of growth-stimulating drugs is now a given for world-class bodybuilders. But its younger sister sport is only beginning to turn to such things as human growth hormones to achieve faster, more dramatic muscle gain. Rachel believes that trend will sentence women's bodybuilding to permanent subculture status. She wants no part of it. In many ways Rachel has maintained a distance from most of bodybuilding's societal foibles. Though she works out in Santa Monica, where much of the pumping-iron society lives, she lives miles away, in Woodland Hills in the San Fernando Valley. She's displeased, she says, with the sexual overtones given to some of her photographs. To put some distance between herself and that practice,
they diet all the time. We've all experienced those. But a successful bodybuilder is one who can control those tendencies. "There's a fine line in everything. Taking things that are good and somehow turning them into things that aren't good. The basis of bodybuilding is really good and wholesome and wonderful. But once you start changing it and doing perverted things to your own body like making it overly muscled and injecting male hormones into yourself to make you big and huge and muscled, all for the sake of some title, you've crossed over that line." In spite of her second-place Miss Olympia finish last fall, Rachel is today at a peak in her career. But she sees drawbacks to being on top. With fame, popularity, offers of travel and commercials, "I'm in the position to want and conceivably get all that the world says is important. But I'm not going to make all that my number one priority for living," she says. Because with Rachel, award-winning body and all, what you get is much, much more â€˘ than what you see. SPORTS FOCUS 19
Receiving the football on your • own 1-yard line is terrible field position, but one running back raced 99 yards for a touchdown from there. Who is he? a. Paul Hornung b. O.J. Simpson c. Tony Dorsett d. Earl Campbell
Who is the youngest player (18) to • play in the NHL 's annual All-Star
game? a. Gordie Howe b. Steve Yzerman c. Wayne Gretzky d. Jari Kurri
Pro bowling is not a well• publicized sport. But Earl Anthony and Mark Roth are wellknown among their fellow pro bowlers for a certain accomplishment. What is it? a. Bowl 10 consecutive 300 games b. Win consecutive PBA championships c. Top $1 million in earnings d. Bowl right-handed and left-handed in the same game
Over rhe past 10 years, which of • these stock car drivers has won the
most NASCAR races?
a. b. c. d.
Darrell Waltrip Richard Petty Cale Yarborough A.J. Foyt
Despite their successful careers, • only one of these home run hitters recorded more than 400 in his career. Who is he?
a. b. c. d.
Hank Greenberg Joe Adcock Joe DiMaggio Duke Snider
Phil Esposito Gordie Howe Bobby Hull MauricC Richard
Brigham Young New Mexico Oklahoma State Indiana State Oregon
BY GARY AND DENNIS //.:KAUfFMAN.
The Edmonton Oilers blitzed • through the start of the 1984-85 season, remaining undefeated through their first 15 games. That snapped the previous season-opening undefeated string of 14. Which team held the record? a. New York Islanders b. Pittsburgh Penguins c. Montreal Canadiens d. Boston Bruins
Which coach coined the phrase) • "Winning isn't everything)· it's the only thing"?
a. b. c. d.
Knute Rockne Vince Lombardi Torn Landry Paul "Bear" Bryant
a. b. c. d.
Who led rhe NBA in scoring • for the 1983-84 season?
George Gervin Julius Erving Buck Williams Adrian Dantley
won the first championship game?
a. b. c. d. e.
Ducks Cowboys Sycamores Cougars Lobes
c. Bob Gibson d. Dizzy Dean
a. b. c. d.
The Chicago Cubs may have • gone 39 years without winning a championship, but one NHL team has played 40 years without winning the Stanley Cup. Which is ir? a. New York Rangers b. Toronto Maple Leafs c. Pittsburgh Penguins d. Chicago Black Hawks
Houston Oilers San Diego Chargers Buffalo Bills Dallas Texans
Only one baseball player has • ever won the National League Rookie of the Year award while still a teenager. Who is he? a. Steve Howe b. Andre Dawson c. Dwight Gooden d. Johnny Bench SPORTSFOCUS
Match each NBA star with the college he played for.
1. Norm Nixon
2. 3. 4. 5.
Otis Birdsong Maurice Cheeks George Gervin Robert Parish
a. West Texas State b. Houston c. Centenary d. Duquesne e. Eastern Michigan
Which college quarterback holds • the record for the most yards passing in one season (4)571)?
a. b. c. d.
Neil Lomax Jim McMahon John Elway Dan Marino
Which of these baseball greats • did not have a career batting average over. 300?
a. b. c. d.
Babe Ruth Ted Williams Mickey Mantle Hank Aaron
Which is the last NBA team ro win back-10-back champion-
a. b. c. d.
Los Angeles Lakers Milwaukee Bucks Philadelphia 76ers Boston Celtics
The Miami Dolphins won • every game they played in
1972. Whar is the only team to lose every game it played in a season?
a. b. c. d.
The American Football • League began in !960. Who
Which of these pitching greats set a • record with 58 213 consecutive scoreless innings?
a. Sandy Koufax b. Don Drysdale
Match each university with its team • nickname.
I. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Which NHL player held the record • for the most hat tricks (32) in a career going imo the 1984-85 season?
a. b. c. d.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Philadelphia Eagles Chicago Bears Buffalo Bills
When Dan Marino set an • NFL record last season with 48 touchdown passes, he broke the record of 36. Which two quarterbacks held that record?
a. b. c. d.
Bart Starr and Johnny U nitas Joe Narnath and Don Meredith George Blanda and Y.A. Tittle Sammy Baugh and Daryl Lamonica
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THE DOCTOR'S H0 URs
"Julius Erving's Sports Focus" is being broadcast nationwide by the ESPN cable network The television show debuted on ESPN Tuesday. April 2. Featuring a magazine format and hosted by Julius "Dr. J" Erving, the television show will be broadcast four times per week on ESPN. Each segment will be shown first on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., with additional broadcasts Wednesday at midnight. Thursday at 11:30 a.m. and Sunday at 7:30a.m. (all times Eastern). Here is the story lineup from May 14 through July 16. The date given is for the Tuesday showing only. Cover Story
Madeline WHile Mims Gault
Pam 0' Paula: "Disc Dogs" McGee
Raymond Tim Berry Hansel
Dr. Kenneth Memories Rasey Grier Cooper
July 2' July 9'
Aerobics (Part I)
July 16' Rick Davis
Pete John Beach Volleyball Maravich Denny
•-indicates repeat of earlier broadcast <'
HEN BETSY KING'S accumulated tournament checks topped the LPGA money list last year, the news probably left a lot of golffans thinking she and her swing had come out of the woodwork. After playing respectably for most of her seven years on the tour, Betsy finally bagged her first official win early in 1984 and followed with two more. Her success led LPGA President Joyce Kazmierski to create the "Making Up For Lost Time'' Award for Betsy. And that she did, royally emerging into the LPG A limelight with winnings of $266,771, nearly tripling her 1983 路earnings. Along the way, King also established 1984 bests fortop ten finishes (21), most cuts made (31 out of31) and greatest improvement in earnings. In addition, she was named Rolex Player of the Year and placed second for the Vare Trophy (low scoring average). Not that the Reading, Pa., native hadn't played well in the past. In 1978, she finished second to Nancy Lopez for rookie-of-the-year honors. Until last season, she posted four career secondplace finishes and amassed more than S300,000 in earnings. She won a Japanese tournament in 1981, but still, that initial LPGA win eluded her. Betsy brushes off suggestions that she may have been trying too hard for a victory. "I think it was technique," she says of her "losing streak." "I changed teachers about four years ago and changed my swing quite a bit. It's been a gradual progression." Consistent progress, determination and perseverance would best describe Betsy's pro career and perspective of life. She isn't the kind of golfer who would breakdance after a win or stick her head in a sand trap after a loss. "I've never seen Besty show tons of emotion," says friend Margie Henderson. "She's competitive, yet she's not one to slam clubs on the course." King did celebrate a bit, however, after winning her first tournament-the Women's Kemper Open-in March of last year. After sinking the winning putt, she raised the club over her head, grinned and tossed the ball to one of her friends. Then fellow pro and off-season roommate Therese Hession doused her with champagne. (When King won April's Orlando Classic in Orlando, Fla., Therese uncorked the bubbly again. But after King won the Columbia Savings Classic in Denver in August, Hession
showered her with water. "You're winning too many and getting too expensive," she said. 1 ) "It was satisfaction more than anything,'' Betsy says of winning the Kemper. "It's nice when you work on something to see it be successful. And I felt I'd worked pretty hard on my game." King's pro career, which began in July of 1977, was bogged temporarily in a bunker in 1980 when her swing was wild, her scoring average rose and she dropped from 19th to 50th on the money list. The slump caused her to be more intense at practice, which fellow pro Donna White noticed one day when they were playing
Photos by Greg Schneider
After seven solid but winless years on the LPGA tour, Betsy King finally proved she could be queen of the green. together. "I was four months pregnant, and I just wanted the day to be over," Donna recounts with a laugh. "And my partner wanted to hit practice balls before playing the back nine!" She jokingly asked golf instructor Ed Oldfield to give Betsy "a quick lesson."
HE INTRODUCTION paid off for Betsy. Oldfield noticed major problems with her swing. By steadily practicing Ed's prescribed exercises, Betsy's swing improved. "Initially, you have so much to think about," she says about the application of Oldfield's principles. "It takes three or four years to get it down. It's gotten a little better each year." Instructor and golfer worked on chipping, putting, sand play and grip. Betsy SPORTSFOCUS 22
SARA L. ANDERSON
practiced tirelessly. "I'll hit as many balls as he [Oldfield] wants me to hit because I'm confident that what he says is going to improve my game," she says. "If I hadn't met him I'd still be struggling. You can work a lot, but if you're not working on the right things, it won't do any good." Donna attributes Betsy's success to her ability to apply Oldfield's instructions and to "sheer guts. She is aggressive and strong," Donna says. "Her golf game depicts her whole life. She seldom
guts. She is aggressive and
strong. Her golf game depicts her whole life' plays really badly. If she hits a bad shot, she rebounds with a good shot." The teacher's evaluation? " She hits it long. She doesn't have any weaknesses. She's a smart player on the course," Oldfield says approvingly. That doesn't mean Betsy has reached a state of perfection, however. Her schedule still includes plenty of practice and sessions with Oldfield. "I make sure she doesn't revert. The changes are relatively minor," he says. The consistent attempts to make her game better are part of the challenge of golf, according to Betsy. "You've never learned everything there is to know about the game," she says. Still, winning the first one does take some pressure off. "When you're not winning, you don't realize that everything doesn't have to go right to win," Betsy says. "You think you need to have all the right bounces and you can't miss a shot . Once you win, you realize you don't have to hit every shot well." Yet, there are times when too many things go wrong and bogeys seem to multiply like beer cans at a ballpark. "Golf is such a humbling game," Betsy says. "It's just like life. Just when you think you have it licked, it jumps up and bites you. You can learn a lot about life by playing golf." Betsy's shots tended to hook until private lessons and practice sessions straightened out her swing.
I Betsy came away with some teeth marks of her own at the beginning of this season, missing the cut in the second LPGA tournament. But she bit back, trying for third in the Sarasota Classic, and placing second in the Circle K Tucson Open and winning the Samaritan Turquoise Classic in Phoenix. A positive and independent self-image helps Betsy persevere when her scores begin to soar. "You can get real caught up in basing your self-worth on your golf game. I think I did that before I was a Christian," says Betsy, who began a personal relationship with Jesus Christ in 1980. "The way you're treated out here [by the press and fans] is pretty much based on where you are on the money list," she says. "If you're number one, obviously, you get a lot more attention. People bend over backwards to do things for you as opposed to if you're number 50 [she's been there] or 100." But even being the top money-winner doesn't insure superstar treatment. "When you compare, you see things that other people are gettinglike endorsements-that don't necessarily come on their play, but because of their looks or connections," she says. It would be tempting to be resentful when Betsy is passed over for endorsements in favor of less-accomplished players deemed more "glamorous" by the ad execs. But it doesn't particularly bother her. Let them sweat before the cameras; Betsy would rather concentrate on her game. "If other people chose to do that [focus on endorsements], it's fine," she says. Besides, she adds, " Most agents [for products] just want you to play well," instead of being flamboyant. As a newcomer on the tour, Betsy admits to having been more emotional and less secure about her game. "When I had a bad day, I'd be pretty down. If a day went well, the feelings matched the result," says the highly competitive King. But now, she says, her Christian beliefs have given her a more stable attitude. " I learned that God doesn't love me any more because I shoot 68, or any less because I shoot 80." Skeptics might question whether that kind of attitude would destroy King's intensity. "She was afraid of losing her competitive edge as a Christian," says Henderson, who helps arrange speakers for the Christian meetings on the tour. No one plays every hole perfectly, but King's drives are among the longest and straightest In the LPGA.
SPORTS FOCUS 24
'GoLFisjustlike life. just when you think you have it licked, it jumps up and bites you' Instead, that kind of perspective "freed me to go out and play," Betsy says. The realization that others couldn't influence her play didn't hurt Betsy's game either. "In basketball, you can have a direct effect on your opponent. You can play defense and block a shot," she says. " In golf, I can't affect another opponent's
As PURSES FOR LPGA tournaments have Increased, so have the number of times players have topped the $200,000 mark In yearly winnings. Here are the leaders In yearly totals. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
JoAnne Carner, $310,399 (1982) JoAnne Carner, $291,404 (1983) BETSY KING, $266,771 (1984) Patty Sheehan, $255,185 (1984) Ayako Okamoto, $251,108 (1984) Patty Sheehan, $250,399 (1983) Sandra Haynie, $245,432 (1982) Pat Bradley, $240,208 (1983) Beth Daniel, $231,000 (1980) Sally Little, $228,941 (1982)
going to get his money. If I break my leg tomorrow and can't play, then I don't have any income." Combine that with the unsettledness of unpacking your two suitcases, carryon bag and clubs in a different city every week ("If you don't like living out of a suitcase, don' t go on the tour," Betsy says.) and not being able to build many steady relationships. Betsy's relationship with God has given her security in a less than secure lifestyle, and her Christian friends on the tour [see UT NO MATTER how good related story1have helped alleviate stress. the preparation or how controlled "It gets your life back in perspective and the emotions, a pro golfer can [helps you1realize that golf is just a temexpect to lose most of the tournaments porary thing," she says. " I need to be she enters-which brings to mind Betsy's concerned about my spiritual life and "golf is like life" analogy. "Lots of times what's going to happen for eternity." Betsy takes the same serious approach you get breaks you don't deserve, both good and bad," she says. It depends on to her spiritual life that she applies to how you handle them, according to Betsy. golf. "She's extraordinary," says Bill A potential bad break is injury. "I'm Lewis, a close friend of Betsy's. "She has paid by how I perform," Betsy explains. a high intellect combined with deep "Reggie Jackson can sign a 10-year guar- spirituality." anteed contract, and it doesn't matter if King takes her financial situation serihe breaks his leg tomorrow, he's still ously, saving money for a time when shot. I just have to be concerned with my own game. And you have to be a 'steady Eddie' and not get too upset or excited. If your goal is to be 100% prepared for every tournament, there's no one who can prevent you from doing that." For Betsy, preparation involves constant examination ofhertechnique. "[She has1a tremendous desire to work hard, to be one of the best at her profession," Oldfield says. "Consistency is her greatest strength."
purses might not be as plentiful. Although she earned more than $90,000 in 1983, she postponed buying a home until she was sure it would not be a financial burden. She appreciates her new home in Scottsdale, Ariz., even though she's only there a few months out of every year. "I was getting tired of having to pack up everything at the end of the winter," she says. "It's nice to have somewhere to leave your stuff." That's one of the rewards of perseverance. Another reward was a year's worth of free airfare from United Airlines. But true to form, Betsy's most extravagant use of the privilege was a trip home at Christmas. Betsy may not finish as the top moneywinner this year, but, as Oldfield says, "She's no flash in the pan." Consistence and preparation should make King a royal threat in the LPGA tour for years to come. Hear that, Therese? Get the champagne ready. 1. Golf Yearbook, 1985.
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NUMBER 7 WAS LUCKY FOR JOHN REAVES, WHO DISCOVERED NEW LIFE WITH THE TAMPA BAY BANDITS.
' l â€˘
OOD TIMES ... BAD TIMES ... Tampa Bay Bandits quarterback Jobn Reaves has known them all. He has been revered; he has been hunted like an animal. He has thrown game-winning touchdowns and untimely interceptions. At the University of Florida, he basked in the good times. With his strong arm and All-American smile, Reaves could have had anything he wanted. Unfortunately, he wanted too much-mostly of the wrong things. On four different teams in the NFL, Jobn struggled through the bad times. He was labeled an undesirable, a football prodigal with plenty of talent and even more problems. But now, with the Tampa Bay Bandits of the USFL, Reaves has resurrected a career that once seemed lost forever. Yesterday, he was an alcoholic and drug addict. Today, he is a respected role model. So, just what changed everyone's opinion of John Reaves? In fact, what changed Jobn Reaves? The story begins at the University of Florida. "I remember when I first met John," wife Patti
says. "I thought he was a sweet country boy. He was generous and humble, nice to everyone." John was also nice to football fans, as Patti and the rest of the Florida campus soon discovered. Reaves made his collegiate debut as a sophomore in 1969 and responded with five touchdown passes in a 59-34 victory over highly regarded Houston, erasing farner Florida Reisman Trophy winner Steve Spurrier's single-game passing yardage record. Jobn was just warming up. Before he was through, he had led Florida to a 9-1-1 finish and a 14-13 victory over Tennessee in the Gator Bowl. Though the Gators would slip to 7-4 and 4-7 over the next two seasons, Reaves continued his assault on the NCAA record book. In his farewell performance as a Gator, Reaves set a new three-year career-passing record of 7,549 yards, surpassing a record that previously belonged to another Reisman winner, Stanford's Jim Plunkett. Indeed, the future looked bright for Florida's golden boy. Reaves became an overnight celebrity, and comparisons to another Southeastern Conference legend, Joe Namath of Alabama, began circulating. Reaves heard the talk loud and clear.
just when it looked as though time had run out on his football career, john Reaves and Tampa Bay turned back the clock.
SPORTS FOCUS 27
treated him like a king on campus, and it was too much fora 19year-old to deal with'
You've got to hand it to John, he's made the Bandits a team to be reckoned with in the USFL.
"It was like Jekyll and Hyde," Patti recalls. "When I first met John, he was so sweet. Then after his success in football, he became horrible and obnoxious. He was so conceited. He wanted to be like Namath. That was the kind of role model he was trying to live up to," she says. "I could tell he wasn't happy. He was trying to be somebody else. They treated him like a king on campus, and it was too much for a 19-year-old to deal with., John doesn't deny the monstrous metamorphosis. In fact, he adds, "I was like a time bomb ready to go off. I was immature and self-centered. I had a lot of emotional problems.'' But sudden success and fan adoration weren't totally to blame for Reaves' transformation. Rather, it was the by-products of success that eventually turned the good times into a frightening nightmare. "I made a vow when I was young that I would never touch alcohol," John recalls. "Alcohol killed my father at an early age and really hurt our family. So I knew about the horrors of alcoholism." Yet, that knowledge wasn't enough. The fear of not being accepted by his SPORTSFOCUS
peers, even for a star athlete, was greater than the fear of the consequences of alcohol abuse. "When I went into high school," John says, "I thought the best way to meet some of the leaders on the football team and some of the popular people in school was to party with them and prove I could drink with them.,
UT JOHN'S NEED to be accepted brought even more trouble. During his celebrated sophomore season, he was introduced to marijuana. Reaves' courtship with ruin was just beginning. In 1972, Florida's heralded quarterback became the first-round draft choice of the Philadelphia Eagles. Despite a disappointing 2-11-1 season, Reaves was named to the NFL's All-Rookie team. But the Eagles, impatient for a winner, acquired veteran Roman Gabriel from the Los Angeles Rams the following year and moved Reaves to the bench. There he sat for two years, except for occasional appearances in which he was mysteriously ineffective. Mysteriously ineffective to everyone except John, that is. "Drugs nearly destroyed my career," he says candidly. "I lost my confidence. I was inconsistent. I didn't even respect myself. I made enemies of coaches and teammates., Reaves swapped a spot on the Eagles' sideline for a seat on Cincinnati's bench in 1975, where he watched Ken Anderson quarterback the Bengals for four seasons. Meanwhile, the drugs and alcohol became even more important to him. More important than Patti, whom he married in 1973. More important than daughter Layla, born in 1974. And more important than football, which used to be the only "high" he needed. "By 1973, I had become dependent on marijuana," John says. "I was smoking grass every day. By 1980, I had gotten to the point where I was abusing cocaine and Quaaludes daily, along with alcohol." In 1979, Reaves was cut by the Bengals and picked up by the Minnesota Vikings as a reserve for quarterback Tommy Kramer. At Minnesota, Reaves began to push the selfdestruct button. His football career seemingly ruined, he turned to alcohol and drugs for consolation. Suddenly, Reaves' name began appearing in headlines again, but not because of his heroics on the football field. "By the spring of 1980, I had become disoriented and violent-natured," John, who left his family in 1979, recalls. "I had a horrible car accident and was arrested for driving while intoxicated. A week later, I was arrested again for drunk driving. At that point, I tried to quit on my own and couldn't. That's when I discovered I was addicted. "Not long after that, I was out loaded one night and got into a fight in a bar. The people from the bar filed charges to have me put away. That was when I ran from the police." John had gone from a college hero and NFL "can't-miss" prospect to fugitive, an alcoholic and drug addict -alone, ruined and thousands of dollars in debt. A desperate Reaves sought refuge from the police at
his brother's house in Claremont, Fla. What he found there changed his life forever. "I was sick and tired of my life as it was," he says. "I knew I didn't want to die. I loved my family too much." John decided to trust Jesus Christ to be his personal Savior, a step his wife had taken a few years earlier (see sidebar). Suddenly-and quite miraculously, John admitsthe alcohol and drugs disappeared from his life. There were no more barroom fights, and he paid off his debts. And, most important, he was able to smile. But then again, John Reaves finally had a lot to smile about.
LISTS THE FORWARD PASS has come a long way. Fourteen years ago, John Reaves became the NCAA's all-time leader In career passing yardage. Today, he ranks no higher than 15th.
RON! CALLY, one of the first to witness the change in John's life was former high school drinking buddy, Barry Perez. Barry had had a lifechanging experience of his own during college. By this time, he was the associate pastor at Bayshore Methodist Church, where John and Patti started attending. Barry, now executive director of the U.S. branch of the International Christian Embassy for Jerusalem, was there when John publicly announced his decision to follow Christ. "There was an overnight change,"
.foHN had gone from a college hero and NFL 'can't miss' prospect to a fugitive, an alcoholic and drug addict
1. Doug Flutie (1981-84)
2. Ben Bennett (1980-83)
3. Jim McMahon Brigham (1977-78, 1980-81) Young
4. John Elway (1979-82)
5. Mark Herrmann (1977-80)
6. Joe Adams (1977-80)
7. Randall Cunning- Nevadaham (1982-84) Las Vegas
8. Dan Marino (1979-82)
9. John Holman (1979-82)
10. Jack Thompson (1975-78)
11. Steve Young (1981-83)
12. Marc Wilson (1977-79)
13. Scott Campbell (1980-83)
14. Tom Tunniclilfe (1980-83)
15. JOHN REAVES (1969-71)
Barry recalls. But it hasn't stopped there. "Not only is the Lord a part of John's life morally and ethically now, but He's also been with John every step of the way in resuming his professional football career." Indeed, John's return to football has been just as miraculous-but that didn't happen overnight. After his experience in Florida, Reaves returned to Minnesota where he checked into a rehabilitation center known as The Last Resort. Midway through the treatment, he was cut by the Vikings. A year later, Reaves joined the Houston Oilers as a backup to Kenny Stabler, but again he was dropped midway through the season. The old John Reaves would have probably given up, but not the renewed one. It was the new league in town, the USFL, that finally rewarded Reaves' belief in his own abilities. In
The Bandits' championship aspirations rest largely on the right arm of their quarterback.
his first season with Tampa Bay in 1983, John got off to an impressive start, only to fracture his wrist in the Bandits' eighth game. But it was a minor setback for someone who had surmounted much larger obstacles.
passes for 4,092 yards and 28 touchdowns, while only being intercepted 16 times. Though he got off to a slow
start this year, Tampa Bay still believes in Reaves. And, most important, Reaves still believes in himself.
Last year, nothing stood between Reaves and an
It's a special relationship. In John Reaves, Tampa
outstanding season. He led Tampa Bay to a 14-4 record. In the process, Reaves completed 313 of 544
Bay has found a veteran quarterback with the experience and talent around whom they can build a
LOVE OFF THE ROCKS
"My marriage got worse," she reveals. "I didn't want to go to the bars anymore, and John thought I was a big square. We didn't have anything In common. We were going In totally different directions. A couple of years later, I wanted a divorce again. I had tried everything to get John to come around. I threatened him, pleaded and cried. But the more I tried to manipulate him, the worse he got. "Finally, when nothing seemed to work, I decided to leave him. Obviously, God didn't want me staying with a drunkard. At least, that's what I' thought." Through personal Bible study, Patti says she was strongly Impressed that divorce was not the answer. Still, she resisted. "I said, 'I don't want to stay with this man,' because I really didn't have any love for John at all. "Finally, I had to decide whether I was going to serve God or serve myself. I made a decision that I was going to obey God no matter what. And if He wanted me to stay In this marriage, I was going to be the best wife I could possibly be. When I made that decision, I began loving John again." Unfortunately, that love was not reciprocated. Confused and lonely, John left Patti In 1979, and simply disappeared. "John had been missing for 10 days,'' Patti recalls. "It was In the paper, and everyone was looking for him. That night in my room I was praying because I had just learned that he had bought a gun." Though Patti feared that her husband might try to kill himself, John says that he bought the gun for self-defense. Two days later, John came home and told his wife he'd committed his life to Christ. For Patti and John Reaves, life-as well as marriagewas just beginning. "I hear women say, 'If I just had a new husband everything would be fine.' But that's a lie,'' Patti Insists. She has learned from experience, she says, that a marriage based on Christian principles gives her more realistic expectations toward her husband. "I don't put a lot of pressure on John to meet all my needs because he can't. He's just human,'' she says. "I think a lot of women set their husbands up as Idols," Patti says. "Rather than enjoying their husbands, they try to mold them Into someone they're not. I know, because I did It for years.'' Once a skeptic of marriage, Patti Is now one of Its leading advocates. "I adore John," she says sincerely. "I couldn't ask for a better husband or father. We've got a wonderful marriage. I never thought! could be this happy.'' She is a devoted mother and loving wife; he is a devoted father, loving husband and rejuvenated star in the USFL. They are Patti and John Reaves, husband and wife. They're not the perfect couple, but they're working alit.
he was a high school sweetheart and college queen; he was a rising star, a quarterback In the National Football League. They were Patti and John Reaves, the perfect couple. Or were they? At first, It seemed that way. "It was an Immediate attraction," says Patti, who met John on a blind date at the University of Florida. "It was love at first sight for both of us. I knew right away John was the man I wanted to marry." Still, Patti didn't want to rush Into anything. After all, she wasn't looking for Prince Charming; she wanted Daddy Warbucks. "I was raised In a bad home environment so I had a bad picture of marriage," Patti says. "My Idea of the perfect marriage was gelling a husband who could support me and allow me to do the things I wanted to do. I figured If I ever got married and didn't like It, I could always gel a divorce." When the couple decided to get married, Patty says, "It was because John was pressured Into lt. That was right after he had been picked up on a marijuana charge. His attorney told him he'd better get married and settle down or they were going to kick him outofthe NFL. I really dldn'twantto get married either, but my mother was pressuring me." In 1973, John and Patti became husband and wife for better or for worse. But they didn't realize how bad "the worse" would be. "Drugs and alcohol were the two things we had In common," Patti says bluntly. "We would go and get loaded together. We fought all the time. I went through a six-year depression. The only time I was happy was when I was taking something. II got worse and worse." Patti's life was filled with everything she had consldÂˇ ered so crucial to a happy marriage. All It produced was emptiness. But when the emptiness threatened to engulf Patti's marriage, she discovered a friend. "While John was playing for the Bengals, I started going to ,graduate school in broadcasting," Patti explains. "My plan was to become a broadcaster and get a divorce." Claudia Pritchard, whose husband Ron also played for the Bengals, Invited Patti to go to church. "I thought she was some kind of Jesus freak," Patti recalls. "But she was so good to me and seemed so happy all the time. Finally, I started going to church and then to Bible study with her. "One night at Bible study I just said, 'Jesus, If whatthls girl is telling me Is real, II You're really alive, please help me. If You're real, I want You to come Into my life."' Gradually, Patti's life began to change for the better. "I started wanting to go to Bible study. Gradually, I stopped smoking. And I didn't want a divorce." Patti also overcame an acldlctlon to diet pills. But if Patti expected to live happily ever after, she was sadly disappointed.
champion. In Tampa Bay, Reaves has found the success long expected of him along with the peace that long eluded him. "The USFL has really afforded me a great opportunity," he says. "I was basically waived out of the NFL, but I still had a tremendous desire to play football. I really felt I was in better shape in all areas ... physically, mentally and spiritually. And then along came the US FL. I've been given a chance to return to my hometown, play in front of my family and friends at a stadium down the street and to play for a coach [Spurrier] who I've always admired and respected. It's been like a dream come true." And how is Reaves handling success today? Cliff Myers, who first met John at a Bayshore Bible study five years ago and has since become a close friend, says, "John probably handles success better than I would. Being around him, I can see there are a lot of pressures. But John always acknowledges where his talent comes from. Before, I understand, it was always 'me.' But if he's able to give God the glory now, then I think he's handling the success pretty well." Placekicker Zenon Andrusyshyn first met John in 1979 when a group of Christian AU-Stars from the Canadian Football League entertained members of the NFL in a game of flag football. Four years later, Andrusyshyn and Reaves joined the Tampa Bay Ban-
1l doesn't look E
Or SCapegOatS when be plays poorly, and be gives credit tO his teammates when be plays well'
dits and were reacquainted. "I noticed right away that John was a different person," Zenon, the Bandits' second-leading scorer in 1984, says. "For one thing, he didn't seem to have the problems of the world on his shoulders anymore. He seemed to have a lot of peace." That peace, says Zenon, has made Reaves an intemember of the. Bandits. "John has been a very Important part of th1s team, not only as a quarterback, but also as a leader," he says. "John is a hard worker, and he's very disciplined. He spends a lot of time in preparation. He doesn't look for scapegoats when he plays poorly, and he gives credit to his teammates when he plays well." There may be many victories ahead at Tampa but none, says John, as great as the one he won over ills addiction. "I'm not going to say that if you become a Christian you won't have any battles-! probably have more trials now than I had before, but now I have the solution," he says. And the Reaves family-Patti, Layla (age 10), David (6) and Stephen (born in December)-has John back where he belongs. He was seduced and abandoned by the good times, and left to perish in the bad times. And through it all, he came away a better man. He came away a winner. For John Reaves, the best times are still ahead. â€˘
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SPORTS FOCUS 31
For Seattle Alvin Davis is a silver lining in the dismal forecast.
G G IN THE R I s
N SEATTLE, where it's usually either raining or about to, the Mariners have not matched up well against the rest of the American League. They've had about as much success as the sun against the gray clouds of the Pacific Northwest. Since its birth in 1977, the team has never had a winning season, nor ever been close. Players have been shuffled in and out of the Seattle lineup with little success. Mostly, the Mariners have foundered at sea without a compass. Their fans could look forward to watching good teams like the Orioles, Tigers and Royals, but only hope for a respectable score against them. Vntil now. The Seattle farm system is finally producing some talented young players, and there is hope at the Kingdome. Even downright, unabashed enthusiasm. It's a bird, it's a plane, it's Alvin Davis! OK, soAlvindoesn'tchange into his Seattle uniform in a phone
BY GENE SAPAKOFF
0N A CLOUDY DAY IN SEATTLE, ALVIN DAVIS' BAT GIVES THE MARINERS HOPE FOR A BRIGHT FUTURE. SPORTSFOCUS 33
LISTS AMERICAN LEAGUE 1984 Rookie of the Year Alvin Davis not only "rewrote the Mariners' record book," according to one team official but also set some league records as well. Here's a sampling of Alvin's 1984 accomplishments: Major League Rookie Records Most RBI, seventh (116)* Most Intentional walks (16) American League Rookie Records Most game-winning RBI (13) Most walks, fifth (97)
booth. But don't try convincing the M ariners that they don't have a budding Superman in Davis, their 24-year-old firs t baseman. "We're a team of the future," Alvin says, "and I really mean that. I know that people in the organization have been saying that for a wh ile, but if we can just fill some holes and have some people have some good years this year, we can really move up in the division." Such talk may sound like typical preseason optimism. But it's hard to be pessimistic around a guy who began the 1984 season as a minor leaguer in Salt Lake City and finished it as the American League Rookie of the Year. An
DoN'T try convincing the Mariners that they don't have a budding Superman in Davis that I needed to make a commitment to Him. I remember the pastor reading from the Bible something that has become one of my favorite verses: 'I love them that love Me and they that seek Me early shall find Me.'"
Seattle Team Records Most RBI (116) Most game-winning RBI (13)* Most walks (97) Most home runs by a rookie (27)
Behind every good Mariner Is a Mariner fan, such as Alvin Davis' wife Kim .
early-season promotee to the majors, Davis hit 27 home runs, knocked in 11 6 ru ns and hit .284. No Mariner has ever had a better seasbn. Davis finished far ahead of pitcher Mark Langston, a Mariners teammate, in the Rookie of the Year voting. " I think it's a real blessing from the Lord," says Alvin's mother, Mylie, of her son's successful entry into the majors. " He promises that good things come to those who love H im. Alvin is benefitting from the promises that God made to H is faithful servants." Alvin says he welcomed Jesus Christ into his life as a 10-year-old, not long after his fat her died. " My mother and I went to church one Sunday, and the message really struck me," Alvin recalls. "I knew about Jesus Christ, but all that next week it became impor tant to me SPORTS FOCUS 34
Alvin's relationship with his mother also became stronger with every year in his youth. Mylie moved with her son from Riverside, Calif., to Tempe, Ariz., when he went to Arizona State University on a baseball scholarship. Mom followed Alvin's 1984 season box score by box score, saw a Mariners homestand in person on a two-week visit to Seattle and took a trip from Phoenix to Southern California to see a Mariners-Angels series. "There's no thrill like it," Mylie says.
MERICAN LEAGUE P I TCHERS, of course, know the power of the thriller. It didn't take long for them to discover it. Example: In April, soon after Davis had come up from the minors, he ripped the Oakland A's for a home r un and five doubles in three games. T he next time the teams
LVIN DAVIS calls her a "Den Mother." Mylle Davis refers to herself as a "professional mom." By any job title, she has earned a major league assist for her youngest son's success. Alvin and Mylie Davis are as close as a hand and a first baseman's glove. How many mothers would pick up and move to another state to be with their college-bound sons? How many sons would welcome, even enjoy, such an arrangement? "I don't really know how to put it," Alvin, the 1984 American League Rookie of the Year, says. "She made an effort to grow up with me. I think it's obvious to anyone that meets her how much love she has to give. She loves everybody. When you see her, you know that right away." Mylle has two older sons, Mike, 31, and Mel, 29. She didn't give birth to Alvin until she was 40. Mylie's husband died in ,1970 when Alvin was 9. He never lacked support for his flourishIng baseball career, however. met, a month later, Oakland pitchers issued Alvin seven walks in three games. Some teams have tried to take away his left-handed power by deploying a Ted Williams-style infield shift-the shortstop playing on the right side of second base, with the third baseman playing between second and third. "Toward the end of the season, the pitchers started to throw me off-speed stuff and a lot of breaking balls," Alvin says. "I think they saw that fastballs were my best pitch. They started bringing in more relievers, too. For me, last year was learning what baseball was really all about. There's no reason to get mad or frustrated when things aren't going the way you think they should. Instead I would try to improve. Whatever they try to do to me, I'll try to adjust to them. "The only thing that could stop me would be an injury or something like that. But I'm such an optimistic and positive person, I'm not going to dwell on anything negative. I know the Bible says to welcome trials, but I don't go through my life looking for them." Though Alvin has always had confidence in himself, major league stardom came earlier than he expected. After an outstanding sophomore season at Arizona State (10 home runs, .370 batting average) scouts began to take notice. Davis hit .395 as a junior, but he lacked
MRS. MOM "There were a few times I wanted to quit," Alvin says. "She wouldn't let me. It's incredible to me the sacrifices she made to help me be a good man. Not just a good baseball player, a good
man." When Arizona State University baseball coach Jim Brock offered Davis a scholarship alter a productive senior season at Riverside (Calif.) North High, Alvin decided to accept. So did Mylle. "I had been suffering with bronchitis from the smog in Southern California, and with Alvin going down to Arizona, I thought it was the best thing for me to go too," Mylie explained. Alvin says, "She sort of just uprooted herself." "It turned out to be the best thing that ever could have happened lor us," Mylle says. "I really believe In moving when the Spirit says move. I came down with Alvin on a Friday so he could enroll on Monday. We got a nice house home-run power and wasn't selected until the sixth round of the baseball draft. He turned down a $30,000 bonus offer from the A's, thinking he could do better as a senior and therefore command a better contract, and wanting to complete his studies for a degree in finance. Alvin got the degree and 13 home runs. He still lasted however, until the
'JMsuchan optimistic and positive person, I'm not going to dwell on anything negative' sixth round of the draft, and he settled for the Mariners and $10,000. Seattle sent him through his minor league paces: Lynn, Mass. (Eastern League) in 1982 and Chattanooga (Southern League) in 1983. Alvin had planned to spend most ofl984 in Salt Lake City, one promotion away from Seattle. "I was so excited about going to Salt Lake City," Alvin says. "I was happy with my progress and the way the Lord was blessing me. But He had something SPORTS FOCUS 35
to rent on Sunday, and I got a job with the Phoenix school system on Tuesday. It all happened so fast. You just have to listen when the Lord talks, and then act." Alvin has graduated from college baseball, school and Brock's team Bible studies at Arizona State to life In .professional baseball, but Mylle remains a teacher's aide In the agreeable Phoenix climate. And she remains close to the Sun Devil baseball program. Several players have stayed with her while In school, including Oddibe McDowell, a member of the 1984 Olympic baseball team. Mylle Is not likely to turn others away. "I was always at the ballpark, and I kind of got to know the !elias," she says. "They sort of just adopted me, I guess. This is my role. I feel like I'm the luckiest person In the world. Why I was so lucky to have such good kids, I don't know. I guess It's because I gave them back to the Lord when they were born." â€˘ .. -Gene Sapakoff else in store. A long time ago I said, 'Lord, You're got the reins. I'm just along for the ride.'" In Seattle, Davis and his wife, Kim, a former classmate at North High in Riverside, are part of a Mariners Bible study group which includes Spike Owen, Darnell Coles, Phil Bradley, Mike Moore, their wives and other players. The Davises are considering a permanent move to the Seattle area this year. (They currently spend the off-season in Riverside). "People talk about Texas being God's country," Alvin says. "I don't know about that. Kim and I think Seattle is God's country. "When I first came to Seattle, I was so enthusiastic about what was happening to me that I wanted to tell everybody about the Lord and what He had done for me. The newspaper people usually wouldn't write about it, but that doesn't stop me. It just means that the Lord gets His message out in His own time." If the timing is anything like Alvin's baseball career, he'd better hold on tight. After all, the word about Alvin Davis' baseball talent spread pretty quickly. â€˘ Unlike A /vin Davis, Gene Sapakoff is a
veteran-reporler, that is-for the Santa Monica Evening Outlook. He is also a frequent contributor to SportsFocus magazme.
Finally atpeace with himselj; fanner All-Pro tackle Rasey Grier wants everybody to have a healthy perspective on life.
ICTURE THE EFFECTIVE defensive lineman: He's at least 6 feet 4 inches tall, weighs a minimum of265 and is meaner than a Hun with a hangover. This guy wipes his nose with sandpaper, drives a mine sweeper to the field and, for tackling practice, goes one-on-one with a Santa Fe locomotive.
Now, focus on Roosevelt Grier; twotime All-Pro tackle: He's 6-foot-5 and weighs in at 300 plus. End of major similarities. Rosey (Who would dare call a defen-
SARA L. ANDERSON SPORTS FOCUS 36
sive lineman ''Rasey" without first checking his medical coverage?) nearly majored
in music at Penn State, played Daniel Boone's gentle sidekick on television, wrote a book on needlepoint and unsettled teammates by telling them they should love one another. Good-natured Grier also found it diffi-
Before becoming a member of the Fearsome Foursome in Los Angeles, Hosey Grier was a "Giant" problem in New York for runners like Jim Brown.
cult to psych himself up to be savage before a game. Team lore holds that fellow N.Y. Giant Kyle Rote had to distract the nauseated tackle by telling him jokes. But once Rosey got on the field, the butterflies were replaced by formidable play. Drafted by the Giants in 1956, Grier, along with Dick Modzelewski, Andy Robustelli and Jim Katcavage, was part of one of the most intimidating defensive lines in the NFL. In fact, Rosey's rookie year the Giants won their first NFL championship in 18 years. Rasey's career was interrupted by Uncle Sam's version of the draft in 1957, but he returned to the Giants the following year. In the next five seasons he helped his team win four more NFL Eastern Conference championships. On a winning team with solid leadership, Grier relished the role of Giants jester. "I'd throw the football at the coaches. I'd do anything to make the team laugh and get loose,'' he says. Note the emphasis on "team.'' Teamwork, not statistics-building, has been Grier's lifetime motto. When his weight would soar above the barely acceptable 280, the threat of fines from Giants officials didn't help, according to teammate
Robustelli. "We would ... needle him about his extra weight," he says. "That meant more to him than money. He hated to feel he was letting teammates down. " 1 Because of the Giants' success and his own efforts and loyalty, Rosey was shocked at hearing of his trade to the Rams. He was
'Jff"werevery intimidating. We were not dirty; we were just on the ball' disappointed by the "business" side of football, but soon found his niche in Los Angeles. In New York he had been the clown. "But the Rams had enough clowns; they needed leaders," Rosey says. In the early 1960's, he says, "The Rams were a group of ballplayers who had special talent." But, Rasey adds, they were "a mess. The black ballplayers were on one side, the white ballplayers were on the other side, and the SPORTS FOCUS 37
kickers were in the middle-there was no harmony." Besides, Los Angeles had a reputation for folding early and eschewing fourthquarter comebacks. Slowly, that image changed, and Grier credits the beginning of that switch to the Fearsome Foursome. Grier, Lamar Lundy, Deacon Jones and Merlin Olsen are still considered one of the most terrifying defensive lines in football history. As Rasey at the time, "We are so tall that when we stand at the scrimmage line or go running in with our arms up, the quarterback needs a stepladder to see his receivers. We are so heavy we would flatten a car if we climbed on the roof. " 2 Quarterbacks didn'tfear the "Foursome" because of their size alone. "We were very intimidating," Grier says. "We were not dirty; we were just on the ball. To me, what we were all about was putting pressure on the quarterback and always knowing where the ball was." Rosey feels the key to his effectiveness was watching the movement of the ball instead of the footl"ork on the offensive line. All the while, Rosey talked about teamwork. "I wanted to have a team that was harmonious. I didn't want guys grumbling and talking about each other," he says. "I
the fish bowl, heing before the public and the demands on your life," she says. "The wife is really pushed into the background. The only time she's really acknowledged is if she can do something [to help] a person get to her husband." The Griers were divorced in 1978, and Margie took their son, Roosevelt Kennedy Grier, to live with her. At the same time, things weren't peachy in Rasey's organization. "A lot of blacks I was working with wouldn't work with the whites and vice versa," he says. "I was always in the middle." So Rosey, the man who valued harmony so highly, heard nothing but sour notes and strident chords. "I understood for the first time in my life why people commit suicide. I didn't think of doing it myself, but I understood why," he says now.
always speak about love, about caring, not my statistics. What was important was what we were doing as a team." The Rams, who had finished the 1962 season with a 1-12-1 record, rallied around the front four and started playing a little more like a team. By 1966, the Rams posted their first winning record since 1958: 8-6. The following year, Rasey injured his Achilles tendon in pre-season play, but traveled with the team to supply moral support. Under George Allen, the Rams were finally rolling that year, finishing 11-1-2.
OSEY RETIRED from football in 1968 and didn't have trouble finding work in numerous fields: acting (guest television roles, the regular role on TV's "Daniel Boone," several moviesincluding a horror/satire flick called "The Thing With Two Heads"), singing (He cut a record and appeared on TV's "Shindig," "Hullabaloo," "The Andy Williams Show," "Hollywood Palace" and "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour," among others.), writing (the book Needlepoint For Men) and speaking (mainly on the college lecture circuit). Meanwhile, Rosey, in the interests of love and harmony, wanted to change society, and he found someone he thought could expedite that change. Grier aligned himself with Robert Kennedy, not because he was particularly interested in politics, but because "Bobby Kennedy had a lotto offer us as a nation." Rasey offered his support to Kennedy, campaigning for him in the 1968 presidential primaries. He celebrated Kennedy's California primary victory at Los Angeles' Ambassador Hotel and was a few steps behind the candidate when gunshots exploded. As the senator lay wounded on the floor, Rosey wrestled assailant Sirhan Sirhan to the ground while Rafer Johnson wrenched the gun away. "I wanted to keep Sirhan safe for the police," he said later. "The crowd would have torn him apart. Too manY. people had been killed in the country already. I wanted Sirhan to be tried in the proper legal fashion. " 3 Kennedy's assassination hit Grier hard. "It was part of me that got killed," he says. The stress continued to build up over the next few years. Rasey's mother died, an organization he'd set up to help inner-city kids began to experience trouble, and Rasey began to experience disharmony in his home. "I was working with kids in the inner city of Los Angeles," Rosey recalls. "I was telling kids to love one another and to be concerned about what they were doing with their lives-and my own marriage fell apart. "I was bailing kids out of jail and going to
Rosey Grier was preaching love and harmony long before he became an ordained minister.
court. We'd pull out 20 kids, 40 would jump in the same place we'd pulled the 20 out of. It was an unending battle. There was no way to win it." Rosey was losing other battles, too. "I always wanted to love peole, but it never seemed to work," he says. "I'd get into a relationship and that relationship would dry up." Wife Margie felt the pressure of being the non-celebrity of a celebrity marriage. "It was hard for me to cope with being in SPORTS FOCUS 38
OSEY WAS STILL in a state of despair when a stnmge man appeared on his doorstep. "God sent me," the visitor said (Rosey later learned his name was Carl Johnson.). Johnson also told Grier to read the Bible. Rasey thought Carl was a nut. "I was trying to find a stick to hit him with,'' Rosey says with a grin. "Somehow I got him out of there because I didn't want to hear about that." But that wasn't the end of the subject. Later, as Grier was traveling, a stewardess repeated the advice. She suggested he watch a man named Fred Price on television. Soon after, Rosey was awakened by a Sunday morning phone call. It was the stewardess' husband telling Grier to get up and tum on his TV set. Grier groggily obeyed. There was Fred Price, a preacher, talking about the Bible. This was something Rasey decided he wanted little Rosey to hear (Grier hadn't gone to church in 20 years, but he believed in religious instruction.), so he called Margie and urged her to watch with their son. It became a Sunday morning habit. Then one Sunday, following persistent lobbying by little Rasey, Grier and son attended Fred Price's church. Both responded to Price's invitation to begin a personal relationship with God. Little Rosey's next strategy centered on his mother. He wanted Rosey to ask her to come to church with them. Dad was less than enthusiastic. "I'd been before the judge. We had divided the family property. The judge gave her the inside of the house and gave me the outside. I figured, I don't want nothing to do with that lady again," he said. But little Rosey won out, and Margie made a similar commitment to God. In time, 'Rosey began to notice a more harmonious attitude toward the woman he had never wanted to see again. "I saw
something in her that I'd never seen before. I saw a lady who was lovely, who had a tremendous personality and loved my son," Rosey says. They began dating and were remarried in 1980. Both feel they are now better equipped to handle the stress placed on a high-profile marriage. "I always felt Rosey kind of lived in a fantasy world," Margie says of their first seven years of matrimony. "He wanted to do everything for everybody else, but he was involved with other people and not so much at home-he was always out. Now I know Rosey doesn't like to be on the road. He would much rather be at home." Rosey still travels a great deal, usually for speaking engagements and continued political involvement. But time with Margie and little Rosey (now 13 and not so little) is a priority. They rent movies-"lt's hard to go to the movies [anonymously] with Rosey,"Margie says-or the father and son work out and play basketball. His commitment to society was also reenergized. When he's in town, Rosey's office is in a sporting goods store on 30th and Grand in downtown Los Angeles. The store carries name-brand "seconds" in shoes and sportswear that kids in the area can afford. On Saturday mornings, he and co-
workers host meetings for neighborhood kids in the storeroom. Rosey's message to the young people: "Your life is so precious, and it's so valuable-you're worth something. Don't let drugs, booze and all this wild lifestyle into
it,'' Rosey says. "A man needs the love of God in his heart to be able to love others. You can do it for awhile with self-control and self-discipline, but when you have the power of God within you and give Him control, He enables you to do that." That's not just talk. Margie says it's the kind of love that has made their marriage work the second time around. Now she says she respects Rosey most for the compassion that seemed to be lacking in their first marriage. "He will take hours to listen to people, trying to find out who they are and how he can really help them,'' she says. Now an ordained minister, Rosey feels his calling is "to encourage people, to motivate them, to help them, to train them, to feed them, to clothe them, to make them warm-and to involve every person I possibly can. "I want to see the whole world lifted up on a foundation that's so strong that we won't rob and kill and murder and rape and pillage one another." Now THAT would â€˘ take true harmony and teamwork.
LOT of blacks I was working with wouldn't work with whites and vice versa. I was always in the middle' your life. It will lead you to a path that will cause you so much hurt and p;rin." Whether he's on the road or in Los Angeles, his mission is the same. He still talks about harmony, unity and love, but he sees the reason for his failures in previous efforts. "The reason we could never get it together based on our intellectual love was because we didn't have the capacity to do
1. Current Biography, 1975, p. 177. 2. International Library of Afro-American Life and History, 1979, p. 233. 3. Current Biography, p. 178.
CoMING UP IN THE NEXT ISSUE OF Z
GENE MAYER IVIARGO OBERG NEIL LOMAX
talks about the heavy label of "potential" and life on the men's pro tennis tour one of the top surfers of all time discusses women and competitiveness. an off-the-field look at one of pro football's top quarterbacks athletes speak out about the sports media
A POWERHOUSE LINEUP FOR THE JULY I AUGUST ISSUE OF SPORTSFOCUS SPORTSFOCUS 39
Handed the pink slip, canned, laid ofj; cut, waived, put out to pasture, sacked, bounced, forced to resign, retired, terminated, dismissed, given walking papers, discharged, released, asked to leave, kicked out . . . . No matter how gently or harshly you phrase it, it still means . . .
ERHAPS NO WORD in economics stabs like "unemployment." We can endure a "recession." "Depressions" just don't happen anymore. No one knows yet what to make of the word "deficits." But everyone understands the cruel connotations of "unemployment." It's when the abstract theories of economics turn to reality. Athletes are not immune to such cruelties. True, you won't find too many ex-pros in a bread line. But the athlete coping with the prefix "ex-" is under the same pressures as the steel-worker whose factory has closed: the sudden change in career goals, the feeling of not being wanted, the struggle with self-image. And even though his "lower" salary may still be $30,000, there is still an adjustment of lifestyle. What's more, a former athlete experiences unique and more intense pressures. When an athlete or coach loses his job, the sports pages blare the news. To be looked at as an unemployment statistic may be cruel, but to be treated as a headline is worse. Professional sports often perpetuate an artificial means of personal affirmation for its members. Everybody loves a winner. But when the public eye turns away from the athlete, so, often, do his friends. What follows are the stories of four men included on the always-high job casualty list of professional sports. Sam Rutigliano was fired as head coach of the Cleveland Browns midway through the 1984 NFL season. Garry Unger, although not cut, retired in 1983 after 17 years in SPORTSFOCUS 40
GARRY UNGER, SAM RUTIGLIANO, PAUL WESTPHAL AND SKIP JOHNSTON (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT CORNER) HAVE PROVEN THERE IS LIFE AFTER SPORTS.
IT DIDN'T MAKE
HIS BROWN EYES BLUE
the NHL. Punter Skip Johnston has gotten pink slips from six teams in his four-year pro football career. Paul Westphal was released by the Phoenix Suns just prior to the 1984-85 season, much to his (and everyone else's) surpnse. The purpose of this feature is not to focus attention on their problems and generate pity. Rather, these men, through their encounters with occupational uncertainty, have learned how to deal with it. Their experience provides insights for anyone who has to learn, firsthand, what the word "unemployment" really means.
HEN CLEVELAND Browns head coach Sam Rutigliano got "the" call from team owner Art Modell, Sam anticipated bad news. The Browns had just returned from losing to the Cincinnati Bengals, 12-9, giving Cleveland a 1-7 record. "When Mr. Modell called me Sunday night," Sam recalls, "I said, 'I guess you don't want me to bring a pizza over."' Sam was right. Art was not one for small talk that night-all business, no pleasure. The next day, Modell, Rutigliano and Browns defensive coordinator Marty Schottenheimer appeared at a press conference to announce that Sam was fired and Marty was hired. But in an interview several weeks after the firing, Sam sounded unusually upbeat for a recent victim of the ax. "It was my choice not to get involved in bitterness," he said. "I would rather choose to say, 'God, Thy will be done.' What I've done is that I've put my money where my mouth is." His reaction was typically atypical for Sam. As an NFL head coach, Sam's Christian beliefs permeated his coaching demeanor. Sportswriters marvelled at this coach who was always warm, never frozen or boiling. Sam enjoyed a close, non-adversary relationship with his players and team officials. But, as he learned, his relationship with team management had the same common denominator as other coach-owner coalitions: winning. "That's the bottom line," Sam says. " You might win the Super Bowl, but the question the next year is, 'What have you done for me lately?'" As a young coach, Sam had been obsessed with winning, especially as it related to advancing his career. Then, while driving to a summer football camp job in 1963, Sam was involved in a car accident. His 4V2-year-old daughter, SPORTS FOCUS 42
Nancy, was killed instantly. Ultimately, Sam and his wife, Barbara, turned to Jesus Christ, beginning a personal relationship with Him and trusting Christ to remove the pain of their loss. So if Sam seemed less than destroyed by being fired, it was because he had suffered deeper losses in the past. "I coached football because I loved it, not because I was so involved in it," he says. "I believe Christ, through prayer, will direct me from here."
Mr. Modetl called me Sundtly night,' Sam recalls, 'I said, ''I guess you don't want me to bring a pizza over."' Before the press conference announcing his firing, Sam spent a lot of time in preparation. "I prayed about it a lot," he says. "I prayed, 'Lord, don't let me buckle under.'" At the press conference, sportswriters saw that Sam's ex-coaching demeanor was just as warm. "After the press conference," he recalls, "people came up to me and said, 'If we never believed you stood for [your Christian faith) before, we do now.'" Sam's overall record with the Browns was 47-50, with two trips to the playoffs and two near-misses. He was named AFC Coach of the Year in 1979 and 1980. But Sam doesn't want his impact measured in statistics alone. His proudest accomplishment, he insists, is spearheading the development of the Browns' "Inner Circle" drug rehabilitation program. Inner Circle, stressing voluntary,
Might win the Super Bowl, but the question the next year Is, "What have you done for me lately?"'
Sam Rutigliano didn't ask for sympathy cards, but he welcomed the letters of support from his fans In Cleveland.
anonymous involvement, is a model for the rest of the league. "Through the Inner Circle program, I've helped save 11 lives, guys who had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel," Sam says. So, even though Sam may no longer be on the Browns' coaching staff, he feels a degree of satisfaction in knowing that he continues to have a positive impact on the team. Unfortunately, fans get a greater degree of satisfaction from watching their team win. Coaches, more than athletes, tend to suffer continued criticism even after they're replaced. There are implied com-
parisons with past and present coaches' styles. And players feel free to complain about their former coach once the fear of retribution has been removed. "I never read anything about myself," Sam says. "I never thought I was as good as they said I was when I won Coach of the Year in 1979 and 1980. Now, people are going the other way." An easy response to the criticism is to accept the first coaching offer that comes and prove the critics wrong. But Sam isn't in such a hurry. "It's over now," he says. "You don't take the attitude that you're going to go out and re-prove yourself. I believe I did not fail the Browns." Another reason he can relax is that he is taken care of financially-he has a contract with the Browns through 1988. Sam has a quote from Machiavelli for those who would criticize him: "[The question arises] whether it is better to be loved rather than feared .... if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved." Sam adds, "because love makes you vulnerable." He stands by his choice.
OU COULD HAVE forgiven Garry Unger if he had not been ready to retire from hockey. It must have seemed like his career would never end. His NHL stint lasted for 17 years, including an "Ironman Streak" of 914 consecutive games, a league record. Throughout his career, Garry knew he would have to retire someday. "You never really talk about it," he says. "You think you're going to be the first guy who plays forever. No one else has, but you will." But if any sport retires its young early, it's hockey. Players usually start their pro career at a younger age than other sports. Many are forced into retirement in their early 20s-some by injuries, others by weariness of being treated like a volleyball by the NHL and its minor leagues. For most of his career, Garry admits, "I was very scared of retirement." These days, however, Garry is happily fulfilling the role of ex-athlete/business-
PUniNG A CAREER ON ICE
think you're going to be the first guy who plays forever. No one else has, but you will'
man. He works with Wilson International Trade Consultants, getting Canadian industries to establish factories in Third World countries. He also does some color commentary for Edmonton Oilers games with the Canadian Sports Network. However, Garry is quick to point out that an exciting job and continued links to pro hockey are not the keys to his post-NHL contentment. The preparations began, in a way, fi ve years before his retirement, when a Stanley Cuphungry Garry demanded a trade after nine years with the St. Louis Blues. He was traded to the Atlanta (now Calgary) Flames. While with the F lames, Garry was influenced by a strong nucleus of Christian teammates. He had made a commitment to Jesus Christ at age 14, but had "slid away" from that. " I was afraid I was going to have to give up hockey, and I wouldn't be able to play on Sunday," Garry recalls. But in Atlanta, he reaffirmed his commitment to Christ. Now Garry is at peace with the exNHL life, even though he never did win the Stanley Cup. In fact, the Edmonton Oilers (Garry's last team) won the Cup the year after he retired. " I was excited for the other players . I wasn't envious. That's not normal for me!" he says. "Before, I wou ld have been really depressed. Now, it doesn't really matter. Having you r name on the Stanley Cup is basically an ego trip. I knew I had a successful career. Winning the Stanley Cup simply wasn't one of the things I accomplished." Even before his commitment to Christ, Garry wasn't exactly Mr. Flashy Pro Athlete. During his years in St. Louis, he lived 40 miles outside the city on a fa rm. Rather than flying with the jet set, Garry's life consisted of dirt bikes, quarter horses and neighboring farmers who weren't much for pro hockey. Hence, adjustment to life outside the NHL came
UNTER SKIP JOHNSTON has been kicked around pro football quite a bit, pulling duty with six different tea ms in four years. But one of his most recent dismissals may have been the unkindest cut of all. Skip began the 1984 USFL season with the Birmingham Stallions. The Stallions broke fast, winning seven of thei r first eight games. And t hough Johnston was struggling with one of the lowe r averages in the league, his punts were starting to turn over. H e had been named MVP of the Birmingham special teams SPORTS FOCUS
more easily. " I d idn't want to change as a person just because I made a lot of money," he says. " I just did my job in front of 10,000 people. I was never too impressed by the cheering. I knew somebody was going to take my place one day, and they would be cheering fo r him. The guy in the uniform they were cheering for didn't have to be me." Garry wasn't overly impressed by the big-money hockey lifestyle, either. "You can't find a job where you make the money you make in sports," he says. "That's why my relationship with God is so important. I know I don't have to make $200,000 a year; God is going to take care of me. I know that, if I'm following Him, I may not have a Mercedes, but I'll have a vehicle. " I had those things when I was in pro hockey, but I was still searching. When I accepted Christ, I understood why those t hings didn't satisfy me. Christ gave me what I wanted: inner peace." That peace helped Garry handle the d isappointment of his last year in hockey. He was a member of the Oilers team that lost in the Stanley Cup finals to the New York I slanders. Unfortunately, Garry didn't make it as far as his teammates. H e separated his shoulder trying to break up a fight early in the first game of the first playoff se ries. "That was the end of my career, and I knew it," he says. A few years earlier, coming so close to the Stanky C up and not winning it would have destroyed Garry. But now, there is no discouragement, and that amazes Garry: " Even now, I step back from this and say 'This is not you!'" But the truth is, of course, it is him. And who Garry Unger is has determined his successful transition out of hockey .... Even after 17 years in the sport, he doesn't have to introduce himself as " Garry Unger, hockey player," to identify himself.
against Tampa Bay; two of his punts were downed inside t he 5-yard line, leading to a field goal and safety for the Stallions. The team hadn' t been auditioning any other punters, so, by t hat Friday in Apr il, Skip was simply looking forward to sprucing up his average that Sunday against the Michigan Panthers. Thus, it came as so mething of a shock when the Birmingham brass broke the news. They called Skip in after practice to inform him he had been replaced by former NFL punter Bob Parsons. "I was numb, " Skip recalls. The execs tr ied to
buoy Skip's spirits with a post-mortem pep talk, but Skip was not in a mood to chat. " I wanted to get out of there, to get away from the Stallions. Usually you know something's going on, because they bring in another guy for a tryout. But this was a big surprise." It wasn't the first time. Houston, Seattle, Green Bay and Minnesota had released Skip during training camp the previous three years. But, fro m a reaction standpoint, practice made perfect. " I can remember driving off, t hinking 'Why?"' Skip says. "But t hen I started thanking God, because I know God loves me. It's easy to praise God when t hings are going good. But when you praise God while things are going bad, it helps you." Previous pink slips taught Skip t he value of developing a thick skin where his professional competence was concerned. "The key is not to take it personally," he says. "Things just didn't work out for me in Birmingham. Punters get bumped around the league all the time. I have confidence in the abilities God has given me." Not that it's always been so easy for him to handle rejection. For Skip, the first cut was the deepest. H e came to the Seattle Seahawks training camp in 1980 as a rookie free agent with strong credentials. A three-year starter for Auburn University, Skip was rated one of the top punters coming into the N FL . But a lessthan-rehab ilitated leg couldn't handle the demands of two-a-day preseason workouts, and Skip was cut. " It's not like college, where you have a year or two to mature," Skip says. " In a pro football t raining camp, you have a couple of weeks to mature. They decide their punter after the second p reseason game." Unfortunately, though the average pro
football career lasts only 4.2 years, most players are not prepared for t he inevitable. T hrust prematurely into the workforce soon after a damaging blow to the ego, they often have a hard time motivating themselves to find work. Not so for Skip. "My transition is to football rather t han from football," he says. " My first year, I looked at football as a career. Then I got released. A lot of t hings have happened since then." Four weeks after being let go by the Stallions, an offer came through from the Michigan Panthers. Skip accepted the offer, although with some reluctance. He had done some job interviews, finally opting to work in the fam ily business in Auburn. He and his wife, G lenda, had packed up the car and were ready to head for home when t he call came from Michigan. But Skip decided to make the transition back to football, finishing the season up north. His attitude sets Skip apart from most ex- pros, whose taste of the pro sports lifestyle leaves them ill-prepared for the real world. "They see a guy like T ony Dorsett making so much money, and it's so blown up in their minds," Skip says. "But only two or three guys per tea m are fixed up for life. Still, t hese other guys get used to a big-money lifestyle. I even saw guys making $80,000 a year living from paycheck to paycheck." Skip's expe rience in Michigan was, yet again, another end to a story. The Michigan francise merged with Oakland following t he 1984 season. And, since Oakland already had t he league's leading punter .. .
After geHing kicked around the NFL and USFL, punter Skip Johnston finds refuge at home with wife Glenda.
WAS numb. 1
wanted to get out of there, to get away from the Stallions'
Editor's Note: Skip wem to cmmmg camp with the Orlando R enegades but was released in the final cut before the 1985 USFL season.
VERY YEAR in every sport, t he waiver wire has surprises. Fans peruse the papers during preseason training camps in every sport to see who's been cut. They're never disappointed; t here's always a surprise. The 1984-85 NBA preseason cuts had their bombshells, with veterans like Fred Brown, David T hompson and, perhaps the biggest surprise, Paul Wes tphal. The 12-year veteran (and four-time All- NBA selection) was a victim of economics. The NBA imposed a salary cap on all teams prior to the 1984-85 season. A team's total player salaries could not exceed a 1ยง certain limit. Thus, econo mics were as u. much a consideration as talent, with
HOW TO RIDE
SPORTS FOCUS 45
of teams say they're a family, but it's only a family as long as you're there'
Paul Westphal's family, formerly made up of Phoenix Suns, now consists of wife Cindy (along with children VIctoria and Michael Paul).
teams forced to trade or cut highly-paid veterans like Paul to comply with the salary cap. Not that there weren't other factors in the Phoenix Suns' decision. "It was an unusual situation," Paul says . "I didn't think it would happen, but I wasn't surprised when it did." Paul's response was to not respond. "I try not to react to anything too immediately. Then I'm less apt to look stupid," he says. Rather than play out the melodrama in the public eye, Paul says, "I just went home and dealt with it in terms of my day-to-day response." Strong Christian beliefs had given Paul much-needed skepticism toward the deceptive image of pro sports. "I do not derive my identity from who people say I should be," he says. "God is no respecter of persons, so it's hard to be egotistical about yourself. The things I believe about myself were developed through honest self-evaluation rather than through self-aggrandizement." Don't mistake Paul's skepticism for cynicism. Instead, it's an application of a biblical principle: "Do not love the world,
DO NOT derive my
identity from who people say I should be' SPORTSFOCUS 46
nor the things in the world . . .. (For] the world is passing away" ( I John 2:15,16). "You can't put your faith in such things, because they will pass away-even basketball, " Paul says . "Then, the trivial things of the world won't get you down." Paul even includes basketball- his occupation for 12 years-on his trivia list. "When I played, I cared as much as you can care," Paul says. But, from God's perspective, he adds, "Basketball is trivial. You need a perspective of who's really in charge." Paul has seen firsthand that a lot of the images fostered by pro sports are illusions. "In the book North Dallas Forty, a player complains, 'When we say it's a business, you tell us it's a game. When we say it's a game, you say it's a business," ' Paul says. "A lot of teams say they're a family, but it's only family as long as you're there." That viewpoint helped Paul deal with the sudden change in careers. "It minimized the shock," he says. However, he doesn't consider his situation as drastic as others who have lost their jobs. "I don't want to pat myself on the back when there are a lot of factors in my favor," he says. "It's easy to say you' re living by faith when you have everything you want. But, in God's will, everything has to be dealt with differently." Unlike many athletes, Paul was wellprepared for life after the NBA. Prudent investing eased the adjustment from a pro salary. He has also prepared to look for other work, although he allowed himself a "vacation" time for adjustment after being cut by the Suns. "I'm prepared to stay in basketball as a coach or broadcaster," he says, "and I'm prepared to look for a grown-up job." His years in basketball have provided quite an education. "I've been a starter and bench warmer," he says. "I've been a young whippersnapper breaking into the league, and a veteran trying to hang on. I've been injured, and I've been healthy. I've played with all-time greats and against all-time greats." And, from experience, he could help prepare his players for that inevitable day when-surprise-their names appear â€˘ on the waiver wire.
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Published on Jul 16, 2013