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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

They're Playing Games of 21 and No One Is Invited

September 11, 2000|MAL FLORENCE

Not everyone in Australia is consumed by the Olympics. The citizens of Walhalla--population 21--have declared their old gold-mining town an "Olympics-Free Zone."

Visitors overheard gossiping about track times, sailing conditions, sports injuries or doping scandals will be fined on the spot.

Unpatriotic? Not at all, said Rhonda Acquilina, who with husband Norm runs Walhalla's only general store in the outback town of western Victoria. "We're offering a haven for people who have had enough."

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Trivia time: Joe Paterno has had only one losing season since he became Penn State's football coach in 1966. What year was it?

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Try swimming: Ron Rapoport in the Chicago Sun-Times: "Be careful out there. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has released its list of the summer's most dangerous sports.

"Basketball was the leader with 1.6 million injuries requiring medical treatment, while bicycle riding was second at 1.5 million and baseball third at 490,000. Next were soccer, softball, trampolines, inline skating, horseback riding, weightlifting and volleyball."

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Ugh! Woody Paige in the Denver Post: "My favorite new [Colorado University] player is defensive lineman Sam Taulealea, who doesn't hit teammates with his helmet and says the most exotic food he tried was 'boiled bat in coconut oil milk with onions.' Yum."

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Fickle: While he still owned the Texas Rangers, George W. Bush had a golf cart that he dubbed "Perot" because, he said, "Sometimes it runs and sometimes it doesn't."

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Come again? Spike Dykes, former Texas Tech coach, on his retirement: "It's like eating pie a la mode. It's great and all. But after two or three pies and a couple of gallons of ice cream, well, you've got to quit.

"And my tank was full. Or it was empty, or whatever it was supposed to be."

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Stengel-isms: Some wisdom from the late Casey Stengel: "Some people say they have trouble understanding me. I don't know why. I understand myself."

When asked if Mexico City's altitude bothered his players after the Mexico City Red Devils beat his New York Mets, 6-4: "Not a bit; we lose at any altitude."

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Looking back: On this day in 1995, Green Bay quarterback Bret Favre completed an NFL record-tying 99-yard touchdown pass to Robert Brooks, who ran 70 yards after making the catch.

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Trivia answer: 1988, when he had a 5-6 record.

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And finally: Jay Greenberg in the New York Post on the Sept. 3 electrical storm that held up the Giant-Cardinal game at the Meadowlands: "Lord, there hasn't been that much electricity around Giants Stadium since Mark Gastineau combed his hair."

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