Teed Off (27-11-2011)
with Robert Bicknell
Athletes and their habits, few things are more amusing.
One local golfer casually mentioned that she sprays her entire body with SPF100 sunscreen before getting dressed for every round of golf. While amusing, I must be fair and agree she has the most blemish-free face I have ever seen. Her face is magazine cover quality.
Maybe I should follow this advice as my face looks like an old golf shoe.
When she mentioned her custom, I immediately thought of one that Terry Bollea (aka "Hulk Hogan") related once about a preliminary card wrestler named Mike Sharpe. He would hit the shower after his match, swab his armpit with an entire Right Guard deodorant stick, grab a new stick and do the other arm. While that was taking personal hygiene to new levels, it got worse. After swabbing himself, he would take another shower, then start the process all over again and again and again. Hogan says the guy was one of the first guys into the building and the last one to leave because he couldn't stop showering and swabbing. His gym bag was loaded with deodorant sticks.
Other athletes have equally "unique" habits which have made them notorious.
While leading the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships during his legendary career, Michael Jordan, the five-time MVP wore his University of North Carolina shorts under his uniform in every game.
But what is under a uniform can sometimes be disconcerting.
For example, Colorado Rockies' power hitter Jason Giambi would wear a golden thong. Yes, you read that right. Whenever the 6-foot-3 first baseman found himself in a slump, he'd slip his 240-pound frame into a tiny pair of butt floss before playing and apparently it worked because some of his team-mates would borrow the thong whenever they hit the skids too. Hopefully, they washed it often.
Legendary tennis player Bjorn Borg used to grow a beard before Wimbledon and would wear the same Fila shirt. I guess it worked as Borg won an amazing five straight Wimbledon titles from 1976 through 1980.
MLB Hall of Famer Wade Boggs combined superstition with obsessive compulsiveness. Eating chicken before each game (earning him the nickname "Chicken Man"), always taking batting practice at 5:17 PM and running sprints at 7:17 PM and drawing the word "Chai"(Hebrew for "life") in the dirt before coming up to bat.
Don't think that golfers are immune to this nonsense either.
The most obvious one is, of course, Tiger Woods' wearing a red shirt on Sundays. His mother told him that red is his "power colour" and everyone knows that you don't argue with your mother.
Jack Nicklaus and I share the same superstition in that we always tee off with three white wooden tees in our pockets. But I seem to take it a bit further in that I absolutely refuse to use plastic or coloured tees. When looking on the ground for a short tee when on a par 3 hole, I will never pick up a pink tee and would rather break a full size white tee instead.
On the other hand, golf's legendary fashion plate Doug Sanders would never use a white tee as he believed they were unlucky.
Paul Azinger always marks his golf ball with a US penny, which features the head of Abraham Lincoln. He also makes certain to turn the penny so Lincoln is looking at the hole, while John Cook marks his golf ball only with US quarters.
Arnold Palmer's wife used to kiss each one of his golf balls before the round.
Christina Kim believes stepping on the edge where the fairway meets the green is bad luck, while Natalie Gulbis eats a McDonalds Egg McMuffin and hash browns before every round.
But my favourite of all time involves MLB player Mark Rhomberg.
According to a long list of pros who played with him, Rhomberg had the compulsion to touch someone if they touched him. Word of this tic quickly spread through the major league, making life a living hell for Rhomberg. Players would touch him and run, sending him into panic.
In fact, an umpire once had to halt a game between New York and Cleveland, because Yankees players refused to stop touching Rhomberg.
Yep, we're all nuts. — VNS