David Bruce: The Funniest People in Sports: 250 Anecdotes — Problem-Solving, Rodeos, Scores, Travel

Problem-Solving

• In 1913, P.E. Turnball of Lee, Massachusetts, got tired of hunters mistaking his cows for deer and shooting them. Therefore, he had several blankets made up for his cows to wear during hunting season. On the blankets appeared these words: “Don’t shoot me. I am a cow.” The plan worked. Mr. Turnball didn’t lose any cows that year, but souvenir hunters did steal seven blankets.

Rodeos

• On June 11, 1905, Zack Miller and his brothers planned to hold a Western show on their ranch located in Oklahoma’s Cherokee Strip. Unfortunately, a storm headed toward the ranch and Mr. Miller worried that rain would force him and his brothers to refund the spectators’ ticket money, resulting in huge losses. Suddenly, a Ponca medicine man by the name of Sits-on-a-Hill came to him and said, “Big blow. Big rain. No show.” He then offered to turn the storm away from the show in return for five steers. Mr. Miller thought a moment, then he said that they had a deal. The medicine man danced and sang while beating a drum. The storm clouds neared a river, then the medicine man screamed while pointing a shell at the storm clouds. As if they had been ordered to, the storm clouds headed east, away from the Western show. The next day, after he had been paid his five steers, the medicine man told a secret to African-American rodeo star Bill Pickett. The medicine man had studied the local weather for decades, and he knew that storms almost always headed east after arriving at the river.

• Gene Creed earned the title of Saddle Bronc Champion of the World in 1928, 1932, 1936, and 1938. When she was 16, her older sister was pregnant, and she was sent to her home to help out. However, while traveling to her sister’s home, she noticed an advertisement in the Denver Post for a rodeo in Cheyenne. She had always wanted to see that part of the country, so she went to Cheyenne and competed in the rodeo, winning $300 in cash, a $75 Stetson, and a fancy belt bucket. Ms. Creed says, “I never did help my sister with the baby.”

Scores

• On February 19, 1982, Athens (Ohio) High School opened a 7-0 lead over Waverly High School before a Waverly player had even touched the basketball. The Waverly coach made a crucial error before the game began when he incorrectly entered the numbers of his players in the official scorebook. When the game began, the officials called five technical fouls — one for each Waverly player on the court. Athens’ Steve Bruning made all five free throws, and Athens had possession of the ball and promptly scored a field goal. Score 7-0. Athens eventually won, 72-49.

• The Harlem Globetrotters used to play serious basketball, playing against local teams and running up a big lead before beginning their clowning. While on tour in Woodfibre, Canada, in the early 1930s, the Globetrotters were insulted by members of the local team, who called them nasty names as they warmed up. Therefore, the Globetrotters decided to play serious basketball for the entire game. They won, 122-20.

• In the 1940 NFL Championship game, the Chicago Bears defeated the Washington Redskins, 73-0. After the game, a sportswriter asked the Redskins’ quarterback, Sammy Baugh, what the score might have been if a Redskin receiver had caught the football in the end zone in the first period. Mr. Baugh replied, “73 to 7.”

Travel

• Babe Ruth was known as much for his devotion to night life as for his devotion to hitting home runs — a fact that Ping Bodie, his roommate on New York Yankee field trips, well knew. Asked what Babe Ruth was like as a roommate, Mr. Bodie said he didn’t know — he shared a room not with Babe Ruth, but with Babe Ruth’s suitcase.

• Wilt Chamberlain was seven feet tall, and as a Harlem Globetrotter, he traveled to many places where no one had ever seen a person that tall before. While walking down a street in Bologna, Italy, he turned around and saw 300 natives following him.

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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