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Morning Briefing

A Theismann Missing From Theismann Book

September 03, 1987

In Joe Theismann's recently released autobiography, cleverly titled, "Theismann," you can find no mention of Theismann's first wife, Cheryl. There are, however, numerous mentions, including a chapter called "A Gift From Heaven," of his current wife, Cathy Lee Crosby.

Theismann, who is listed as an author along with Dave Kindred, Atlanta Journal and Constitution columnist, did mention the birth of each of his three children, almost as if they were born without benefit of a woman.

Theismann has also made it clear that he will answer no questions regarding his first wife. A check of an early unpublished version of the book does mention her, though.

You can speculate about which current member of the Theismann family wielded the editing pencil before the final version was published.

Now-it-can-be-told Dept.: As any boxing promoter will tell you, a key to successful promotion is a juicy rivalry to stir up interest.

Even in the genteel world of tennis that axiom is recognized. Thus, it is good for the gate if John McEnroe doesn't get along with Boris Becker. Heats things up.

So, imagine our surprise this week when, on the eve of the U.S. Open, a strange thing happened at the National Tennis Center. Four-time champion McEnroe walked onto the Stadium Court, folded up his peach-colored headband and stretched out while waiting for his practice partner to show up.

Nothing unusual about that.

Five minutes later, in walks Becker.

Publicly, they have been at each other's throat, both on and off the court. But here they were, helping one another out.

No, Becker didn't give Mac any serving tips, and McEnroe didn't tell Becker to spare his knees by staying on his feet. This was simply a case of fourth-seeded Becker and eighth-seeded McEnroe tuning up together.

The 600 or so fans who saw it erupted into applause when they realized that the two were taking the same court. Who said you can't get anything for nothing in New York? Two of the most charismatic players in the game were going at it--and the viewing was free.

During change-overs, the two chatted quietly. But when a photographer tried to get a shot of them together, Becker flung a towel over the man's head as if he were a hook on the wall.

Maybe they don't want it to get out that they are more friends than rivals. As one West German newspaper reporter put it, "They come along very well privately."

Becker won the first set, 6-3. They were tied at 2-2 in the second when they had to turn the court over to Stefan Edberg and Anders Jarryd.

Afterward, Becker said that the workout was nothing unusual, that they had been practicing together regularly for two years.

In secret?

McEnroe refused comment on Becker or any other topic. "I don't want to talk now," he said.

Their last official meeting was during the Davis Cup in July, when Becker won a 6 1/2-hour marathon match. Should they advance in the U.S. Open as expected, they will meet next week in the semifinals.

Quotebook

William Roberts of the New York Giants, on switching from the left side of the offensive line to replace Karl Nelson, who contracted Hodgkin's disease: "It's as if you took a pen out of one hand and put it in the other and wrote. It's uncomfortable. You can do it, but it's sloppy."

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