NEW PALTZ, NY – Last weekend the tri-state area was reminded yet again by Mother Nature that she is the Queen biatch, as snowfall measured two feet in my neck of the woods. After shoveling the walk and soaking in a 10-year-old Single Malt Scotch, the idea for this post came to me: Famous Sports Feet.
Starting where snow is made pretty much year round, Buffalo is linked to more than a few famous feet… and two of sports more infamous endings in championship settings. Super Bowl XXV is Scott Norwood’s albatross and a Bills fan base’s agony to this day as “wide right” off of the placekicker’s foot clinched a Giants victory. Almost ten years later in Buffalo, Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals ended in triple overtime as the foot (skate) of Dallas Stars forward Brett Hull entered the crease while netting the Cup-clinching goal. At the time, a rule no longer in effect today should have nullified the score as Buffalo fans were once again snake-bitten.
Research provided no answer to the shoe sizes of Johnny Holmes and Ron Jeremy, but for an average-looking white guy Louie Kelcher had a size 17-EEE. Playing for the San Diego Chargers, travel to the California hills movie sets for “acting” work was certainly feasible. What is widely known are the hoofs belonging to basketball HOFer and Buffalo-native, Bob Lanier. Women are said to first observe a man’s shoes, ahem, for obvious reasons and with a size twenty-two (22), what gal wouldn’t be nervous putting a wet shine on those bad boys.
On the other hand… I mean foot… is a small fella named Laffit Pincay. A thoroughbred jockey who rode many a winner, Laffit had no trouble putting his boots in the stirrups as riders are asked to keep girlish figures and “purge” as much as French models in order to stay employed.
Another diminutive athlete with maybe the greatest feet of all time is Pele. No one can question his ability on the pitch as a NY Cosmos after a legendary Brazilian World Cup team career but his acting life began and ended with Victory as he used those famous feet to escape at game’s end.
Any football fan of my age is sure to remember Tom Dempsey who had a stint in western NY prior to retiring as the NFL’s field goal distance record holder. Whether known for the record or his foosball-looking right foot or stump of a right arm one sure thing is half a foot can’t smell as bad as a whole one considering the lack of toe-jam.
Lastly, there’s what you put on your feet for protection, fashion or playing roundball; sneakers. Chuck Taylor may have been the first name on a sneaker but who outside of city hipsters wear these today let alone on the court? Air Jordan’s are still the rage long after incarnation and Mike’s retirement. Stephon Marbury tried to market his way less, “Payless, Starbury” skips. Ask any inner-city kid their preference and they’d rather a pair of ‘fugazy’ Jordan’s over these if they still even make them.
But if you really want to see a Feat of Feets, check out Leonid Stadnyk.
DJ Eberle brings size and spunk – and a mean game of footsie – tomorrow.