After the abrupt death of my mother, Jane, on Sept. 5, 1991, of a disease called amyloidosis, my dad took up golf at 57. He and my mother had always played tennis - a couples' game of mixed doubles and tennis bracelets and Love-Love. But in mourning, Dad turned Job-like to golf, a game of frustration and golf widows and solitary hours on the range.
Football, played at its highest level, is catastrophic. Even relatively minor afflictions are grotesque and bookworthy.
With each new pair of shoes, each new wrist-watch, each new Walkman or moisture-wicking wonder-material that runners put on, the sport became more alluring to me and to millions of others.
Compassion and empathy are anathema to sports.
I'd watch the news with my dad, and he'd quietly mock the anchors. An anchorman might say, 'Police are searching for...' and my dad would say in the anchorman's voice, 'the man who gave me this haircut.' This was in the real Ron Burgundy '70s. And I would laugh and start doing it myself.
Because I'm a bald, dim-witted writer, people think I couldn't possibly be her husband, so they occasionally confuse me for someone more glamorous. At O'Hare airport, a man asked if he could take Rebecca's photo. When I reflexively stepped away, he said, 'No, no, no. I want your picture too, Andre Agassi.'
Broadcasters calling a big game are often reminded to let the action breathe. A great moment of a televised game doesn't need any narration, which is why the announcers - the good ones, anyway - shut up at the celebration and let the pictures do the talking.
The Metrodome was built for football. Fans seated down the third-base line at a baseball game faced centerfield, so that they had to turn and look over their right shoulders to see home plate.
Sam Snead had perhaps the most stylish solution to the balding golfer: A snappy fedora that became his signature style, so much so that many never knew he was tonsorially bereft.
In 1984, as a college freshman, I spent a fall weekend at a friend's house in suburban Chicago. His father worked for Beatrice Foods, a sponsor of the Chicago Marathon, and we watched that race from the finish line as a Welshman named Steve Jones set a new world marathon record. I was bewitched by the race and, especially, the clock.
I'd happily cover the British Open every year until St. Andrews slides into the sea or Scotland runs out of beer, whichever happens first.
If you own face paint and a bulb horn and you're not a circus clown, you might be uncool.
I turned 7 in 1973 and remember Bobby Riggs arriving at the Astrodome on a chariot pulled by showgirls before his 'battle of the sexes' tennis match against Billie Jean King.
If Charlie Sheen is the 21st century figure most closely associated with 'Winning,' it is perhaps time to consider an alternative to victory.
Cinderella is older than she lets on. She's ancient. She's had work done. The Disney film was based on Charles Perreault's French story 'Cendrillon,' published in 1697.
With the exception of undertakers, athletes are the only professionals obliged to feign sorrow on a daily basis, pretending that every June baseball loss is a tragedy requiring library silence in the clubhouse.
Anyone who thinks sports are ruled by athletes need only think of American sports' most enduring tradition: Immediately after a championship, as the champagne sprays and the confetti falls, the trophy is passed not to the team captain but most often to the team owner, handed to him by his highest-ranking employee, the league commissioner.
I spent a year slaving over a hot rollergrill in a Metrodome concession stand and watched the World Series there - and a Super Bowl and a Final Four. I can honestly say - regardless of outcome - that I left every game floating on air.
My wife's name, Rebecca Lobo, is on sandwiches and street signs in New England. It adorns the arena rafters at the University of Connecticut, where she first became a basketball star. Her high school in Massachusetts is on Rebecca Lobo Way, a nice trump card to play at reunions.
I've been to all seven continents on assignment for 'SI.'