David Bruce: The Funniest People in Sports, Volume 2: 250 Anecdotes — Fishing, Food, Football

Fishing

• Fishing enthusiast Bill Barich and his friend Paul Deeds were having no luck catching trout at Hot Creek Ranch, although other fishermen were telling them about all the fish they had caught. Bill said, “They must have a secret.” Paul agreed, “Sure, they do. It’s called lying.” Actually, the two discovered the secret. By allowing a dry fly to become water-soaked and sink below the surface of the water, they could make it behave like an underwater lure known as a nymph—something forbidden at Dry Creek Ranch at that time of the season, but which was exactly the right lure needed to catch trout at Dry Creek Ranch at that time of the season. Dry Creek Ranch had no rules about allowing a dry lure to become water-soaked, so Bill and Paul enjoyed some very good fishing, indeed.

• Mark Anthony wanted to impress Cleopatra with his fishing ability, but unfortunately the fish weren’t biting, so he secretly ordered some fishermen to dive underwater and attach fish to his hook. With this aid, he was able to catch fish after fish in the presence of Cleopatra. However, Cleopatra understood what was going on, so she secretly ordered a fisherman to attach a salted fish to Mark Anthony’s hook.

• The ancient Chinese scholar and teacher Confucius took ethics seriously. He greatly enjoyed fishing, but when he fished, he declined to use a net, reasoning that its use gave him an unfair advantage over the fish.

Food

• Bill Veeck, owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, was very good at thinking up promotions and publicity stunts. He once gave a woman fan 10,000 cupcakes and delivered them to her kitchen. Another time, he gave a dignified man six live baby pigeons. The dignified man managed to hold on to only three during the course of the game—one was in each hand, and the other was between his knees. To show appreciation for the man’s being a good sport, Mr. Veeck sent him a gift of 12 game birds, all ready for the oven. For one game, he let the fans call the plays. For that game, he held up cards suggesting various plays, and whatever sign the fans clapped loudest for was the play the manager called—the Brewers won the game!

• Softball player Dorothy “Dot” Richardson was fiercely competitive. In 1983, as a member of the UCLA softball team, she and the other members of the team hoped to defend their national championship title, but they came down with food poisoning. They lost the title game, but they played hard. Suffering from food poisoning, Dot hit a double, and then she vomited while standing on second base. Her coach, Sue Enquist, said about her, “She would not come out of the game. When you see someone with that kind of courage, it raises the entire team’s game.” In 1996 and 2000, Dot won Olympic gold as a member of the United States softball team.

• While touring the United States following her gold-medal-winning performance in the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, Soviet gymnast Olga Korbut’s favorite food was ketchup. She smothered hamburgers and eggs with entire bottles of ketchup and once ate pancakes and ketchup instead of pancakes and maple syrup.

Football

• 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.

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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