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Zambezi River isn't place for a team swim

MORNING BRIEFING

October 16, 2008|Grahame L. Jones | Times Staff Writer

Soccer's next World Cup is in South Africa only 20 months from now. Be prepared for some strange stories, if this one from neighboring Zimbabwe is any indication.

Before a soccer match last week, the players from a local second-division team, Midland Portland Cement, were told by their coaches to take a dip in the Zambezi River near Victoria Falls.

The intent, the coaches said, was to "cleanse the team of bad spirits." Not a great idea, as it turns out.

"The area where the team was swimming is prohibited because the current is strong," local police official Peter Rodzi told the Harare Chronicle. "The river is also infested with crocodiles and hippos."

Sixteen players went in anyway.

Only 15 came out -- the 16th is still missing.

Trivia time

Jack Nicklaus, who won it six times, once described this 104-year-old golf tournament as the fifth major. What is it?

Script writer

Art Thiel of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer took out the sharp knives after the Seahawks' 27-17 home loss to the Packers on Sunday:

Wrote Thiel:

"The game began with an unwanted third-string quarterback throwing his first pass to a recovering alcoholic, recently jobless until his emergency hire by the Seahawks, who once fired him.

"Movies are made of such weeper stories. First downs, however, are not."

Ridiculous

The Miami Herald's Greg Cote says that Evander Holyfield, who turns 46 Sunday, has been offered a WBA fight "because boxing got jealous of MMA getting all the ridicule and felt it had to do something."

Irish ayes

North Carolina's first football victory over Notre Dame in 48 years went down very well with the Chicago Tribune's Steve Rosenbloom.

"As a Southern Cal alum," Rosenbloom wrote, "I'm rooting for the Irish to give Charlie Weis a lifetime contract that also extends to his kids and grandkids."

Swing and a miss

News that Kevin Costner and his band, Modern West, have recorded a song to inspire the Tampa Bay Rays has made its way to the other side of the globe.

Not that the reviews have been favorable.

Wrote one New Zealand Herald columnist:

"It certainly made [us] feel inspired enough to swing a baseball bat, albeit at the stereo."

Clip joint

Dallas losing a game, losing quarterback Tony Romo to injury and losing Adam "Pacman" Jones to suspension were enough to cause the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's David Thomas to lose his hair.

"Things are so serious," Thomas wrote, "that when I went to get a haircut Tuesday, I checked to make sure the stylist didn't have any Cowboys memorabilia around her work station.

"The absolute last thing I needed to see in the mirror was a die-hard Cowboys fan wielding scissors."

Trivia answer

The Australian Open.

And finally

From Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com: "The NHL season opener was Thursday night, which means in the U.S. that hockey television ratings were about the same as they were Wednesday night."

--

grahame.jones@latimes.com

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