David Bruce: 250 Anecdotes About Religion, Volume 2 — Yom Kippur, Zen; 250 Anecdotes About Religion, Volume 2 — Activism, Alcohol

Yom Kippur

• Ed Asner, who played Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, says that the worst mistake he ever made in his life was to play football on Yom Kippur when he was 17. Although the coach said the team needed him, the team would have won without him. Mr. Asner says, “I certainly would have been closer to a man had I obeyed God rather than Caesar.”

Zen

• Zen Master Tung-shan knew that he was dying, so he prepared himself for death by having his head shaved, taking a bath, putting on a ceremonial robe, and saying goodbye to the other monks. He then appeared to have died, so the other monks began to cry. Suddenly Tung-shan opened his eyes and said, “We monks are supposed to be detached from all things transitory. In this consists true spiritual life. To live is to work; to die is to rest. What is the use of groaning and moaning?” After his speech, he ordered a “stupidity-purifying” meal for the other monks. Once the meal had been eaten, he said, “Please make no fuss over me! Be calm as befits a family of monks! Generally speaking, when one is at the point of going, he has no use for noise and commotion.” Then he meditated for a short time before dying.

• Two Zen masters, Gudo and Daigu, once visited a high-ranking official who wished to learn Zen. Gudo flattered the official. However, Daigu told Gudo, “Nonsense! Even though this person is a high-ranking official, he knows nothing about Zen.” After listening to the two Zen masters, the high-ranking official built Daigu a temple and studied Zen with him.

Activism

• In 1966, women were not allowed to run in the Boston Marathon. Fortunately, an “uppity” woman did not let that stop her. Roberta Gibb (Bingay) (a rather apt last name) traveled to Boston by bus from California to compete. Of course, she was not allowed to stand at the starting line, so she hid in some bushes near the starting line, and when the male runners raced by, she joined them. At first, she wore a hooded sweatshirt to help disguise her gender, but soon she got too warm and took off the sweatshirt. Ms. Bingay ran the marathon in three hours and twenty-one minutes, finishing 124th in a race in which 415 men competed. Ms. Bingay’s running the Boston Marathon had positive results. The following year, another woman ran the marathon unofficially, and in 1972, women were finally allowed to compete officially in the Boston Marathon.

• Tennis star Billie Jean King led a boycott of the United States Lawn Tennis Association by women tennis players. The boycott occurred for a very good reason: the inequality of prize money won by male and by female tennis players. For example, in the 1970 Pacific Southwest Championships, the male champion won $12,500, while the female champion won only $1,500! The boycott worked. Billie Jean King and the other women tennis players competed in a new tennis tournament sponsored by Virginia Slims cigarettes, and they forced the USLTA to recognize the Virginia Slims Invitational.

• In 1971, an unusual raffle was held — the winner got to send 5,000 dead fish to the polluter of his or her choice. The dead fish came from Escambia Bay, and they died in a giant fish kill caused by pollution. Holding the raffle for the huge bottle of dead fish at the Pensacola (Florida) Interstate Fair was the Bream Fisherman Association.

• In 1973, African-American tennis star Arthur Ashe played in a tournament in South Africa, which then practiced a form of segregation known as apartheid. Before he would play in the tournament, Mr. Ashe demanded that the audiences watching it be integrated.

Alcohol

• While Bo Jackson attended Auburn University, he played both baseball and football. During a baseball game at the University of Alabama, a beer truck was parked just beyond the fence around the outfield. Several people, including the driver, were standing by the truck, drinking beer and yelling insults at Mr. Jackson throughout the early innings of the game. Mr. Jackson stopped the insults by hitting a home run that bounced off the side of the truck.

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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The Funniest People in Sports: 250 Anecdotes — Buy

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