The Funniest People in Sports, Volume 2: 250 Anecdotes
by David Bruce
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Some samples: 1) Notre Dame football player George Gipp was athletically gifted in more than one sport. In a baseball game, he was ordered to bunt, but instead he hit a home run. Why? He explained that he didn’t want to spend much time standing on the bases because it was too hot. When he was a star football player, he talked to a newcomer to the varsity team, Roger Kiley, giving him a thrill because a star was noticing him. Unfortunately, Mr. Kiley dropped the first forward pass that Mr. Gipp threw to him in a game. Mr. Kiley hung his head, but Mr. Gipp told him, “Forget it. On the next play, I’m going to throw you a pass so soft that you couldn’t drop it if you tried.” Mr. Kiley caught the next pass and soon became a fine Notre Dame receiver. 2) In 1956, American Tenley Albright won the gold medal in ladies’ singles figure skating (the first American to do so) at the Winter Olympics held in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. She won despite an injury suffered during a practice in which she fell and her skate cut through her right boot and reached the bone. Fortunately, her father, a surgeon, flew to Cortina and fixed her up, although for a few days she couldn’t do any real practicing of the hard jumps and spins. Fortunately, on the day the competition was to begin, her ankle felt normal and she could do the hard stuff. In the final part of the skating competition, she started skating to her music, and suddenly she heard what sounded like singing, although her music was instrumental only. She says, “What happened was the thousands watching were humming and singing along with the music. It was wonderful. It made me forget my injury.” Interestingly, Ms. Albright shares the same birthday (month and day) as the first American man to win the gold medal in men’s singles figure skating: Dick Button, who won gold in 1948 and 1952. Each year, they call each other up on July 18 to wish each other a happy birthday. 3) Major-league umpire Eric Gregg was a heavy man, sometimes weighing 360 pounds, and of course he heard a lot of fat jokes while working. Once, he was told that in the fifth inning, his girlfriend would appear. This had him wondering, because he didn’t have a girlfriend—he was very happily married. The mystery was indeed revealed in the fifth inning—when the Goodyear blimp arrived. On another occasion, he couldn’t find the baseball, so the Phillies’ Greg Gross told him, “Eric, if it was two scoops you’d find it in a second.”
- David Bruce, November 2011
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