Post written by Anne Charles, pinch-hitting for Angry Absentee Ward…
NEW YORK, NY – Shotgun murder trials and organ-eating aside (let’s not get too grim!), the high-strung, high-pressure, high-paid world of modern sports can cause some pretty weird behavior. Here are some of the most head-scratchingly odd, bizarre, and (sometimes) tragic moments to come out of the world of modern sports.
Boxing Gets The Wrong Kind Of Physical
Boxing likes to present itself as a gentleman’s game. After all, what could be more gentlemanly than strapping a pair of plastic puffs to your hands and punching the shit out of someone? But there are rules. While smashing your opponent’s face in is widely approved of, biting them is considered rather more dubious, and kissing them is definitely out. We all remember the furor when Mike Tyson chowed down on Evander Holyfield’s ear. What many people don’t remember is that, having already gnawed off and spat out a piece of his opponent’s (admittedly prominent) ear, Tyson bared his jaws for a second helping of Holyfield. It was only after this second attempt that Tyson was disqualified from the fight. However, the reaction when Trenton Titsworth kissed Jessie Vargas was rather more immediate. Apparently overcome with passion while battling Vargas (who is, in all fairness, a very pretty man), Titsworth plopped a kiss behind Vargas’s ear. Vargas duly lost his sh!t and punched Titsworth during the break, Titsworth lost two points for ‘Unsportsmanlike conduct’, while Vargas lost one.
Tennis Renders Female Star Infertile
In a potentially rather tragic tale, fiery-tempered tennis star Gigi Fernandez announced to the world that tennis was responsible for her inability to have children. In fairness, there may be something to this. Women who suffer from exercise addiction disorders and over-training syndrome do experience significant problems conceiving due to their body weight. Which isn’t very nice for them. Fernandez claimed to have put her body through so much athletically rigorous stress that she’d given herself ovulation dysfunction – a revelation which caused a bit of a panic in the female tennis community. Those wishing to calm the mood pointed out that Fernandez was 35 when she began trying to conceive, and that female fertility drops from about 32 onward. Furthermore, playing sports like tennis can actually make it easier to conceive due to the general health benefits of exercise. But this hasn’t stopped a great many promising lady players from hanging up their tennis rackets and reaching for the chocolate.
Manti Te’o Gets Catfished
Back in 2012, linebacker Manti Te’o (who currently plays for the San Diego Chargers) told the world that his girlfriend and her mother had died. Lennay Kekua, a Stanford University student battling leukemia, had been killed along with her mother in a car crash. Te’o announced that he had promised Kekua that he would play on if anything happened to her. He subsequently enjoyed a great season for his then team (Notre Dame), with sympathetic media outlets periodically stating that he must be performing so well in his dead girlfriend’s memory. However, before long, something started to smell fishy. Catfishy, to be precise. Journalists from the sports blog Deadspin uncovered evidence that ‘Kekua’ was actually a man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. Pictures of ‘Kekua’ were actually pictures of Tuiasosopo’s classmate Diane O’Meara. Notre Dame looked into it. In what must have been a distinctly uncomfortable interview, they established that Te’o and ‘Kekua’ had enjoyed an “exclusively online” relationship, although Te’o’s accounts over the next few days were pretty erratic. He said that he’d met Kekua, then he said that he had not, then he said that he knew she was not dead, before going on to reference her death in at least four other interviews. All very confusing. Finally, Te’o was cleared of being in on the hoax when Tuiasosopo admitted to having perpetrated the entire thing. He was, he said, in love with Te’o and had fabricated a female identity in order to forge a sham relationship with him. So Te’o was no hoaxer. He was just very, very stupid. Which is possibly worse.
The Curious Case Of The Vanishing Ball
We have to go back to 1984 for this one. In the Hubert H Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Oakland batter Dave Kingman hit a ball way up into the air. Teams and fans waited for the ball to come down. And waited. And waited. Apparently defying the laws of physics, the ball never returned to earth. The umpires reacted in the only way they knew how – by awarding Kingman a double for losing the ball. Everyone else reacted with abject confusion. It ultimately turned out that the ball had, by sheer freakish fluke, wedged itself in a drainage hole in the roof. But the mystery perturbed many in the stadium that day!
That’s it for now. I hope you enjoyed my column and have some thoughts to leave below.