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Looking to Pound Home a Message

The Inside Track | MORNING BRIEFING

August 09, 2001|Earl Gustkey

On the subject of recent deaths on football practice fields, two columnists explored the same theme recently: tonnage.

In the Miami Herald, Greg Cote wondered about 300-pound-plus athletes toiling outdoors in summer heat.

"There is something death wish-like about men weighing well over 300 pounds and wearing almost 50 pounds of equipment practicing at length, and very physically, twice a day, day after day, in the heat and humidity of July and August," Cote wrote.

And wrote Bruce Jenkins in the San Francisco Chronicle:

"The league has far too many linemen who are grossly, hideously overweight. In their desperation to have 300-pounders at every turn, teams put up with fat slobs who didn't miss a luau all off-season.

"They get by on their athletic ability and innate football intelligence, but imagine their performance if they were really in shape."

Big players, Cote added, are sometimes victims of stereotypes. He quoted Carolina Panther guard Jamar Nesbit: "If a big guy says he feels he's going to pass out, the first thing coaches might think is he's out of shape."

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Trivia time: Honus Wagner, as a shortstop, remains on many all-time major league teams, nearly a century after his 1897-1917 Pittsburgh career. What was his highest salary?

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Sushi guy: The San Francisco Chronicle's Scott Ostler had this comment on Fred McGriff's remark that his favorite Japanese restaurant was in Chicago, jokingly implying it was a factor in his finally agreeing to leave his family in Tampa, Fla., and join the Chicago Cubs:

"Sometimes a man has to choose between his family and really good sushi."

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An ovation remembered: In a recent tribute to the late Washington Post publisher, Katharine Graham, Post columnist Sally Jenkins recalled the time the WNBA's Washington Mystics invited Graham to a game. She was to be introduced to the MCI Center crowd as a female business pioneer.

Graham was hesitant, Jenkins wrote, because she was uncertain if the young crowd would know who she was.

As Graham walked down the sideline to the halftime ceremony, Mystic executive Susan O'Malley told Jenkins, an ovation began.

"She wasn't even announced before they were on their feet, people were out of hand."

Jenkins: "That's what Susan O'Malley will remember about Mrs. Graham: an arena full of young women, on their feet, applauding a life."

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Looking back: On this day in 1984, Britain's Daley Thompson won his second Olympic decathlon with a record 8,797 points and Valerie Brisco-Hooks set her second Olympic record with a 21.81 time in the 200-meter run at the Coliseum.

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Trivia answer: $10,000, in 1917. But, as he said decades later: "Of course, a glass of beer then was only a nickel."

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And finally: China is about to embark on a massive stadium-building program for the 2008 Summer Olympics, but one might wonder why.

According to Stadia Business magazine, China already has 65,000 stadiums.

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