- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 2, 2001

All I want for Christmas is a Dominican birth certificate.

Five centuries after Ponce de Leon, we've finally found the Fountain of Youth. It's located in the official records office in Danny Almonte's hometown.

I hear Danny is actually 16, but he plea-bargained down to 14.

On the plus side, his mother is almost young enough (29) to play Junior League Softball.

Don't get any ideas, lady.

Trivia question: What do Hall of Fame football coach Marv Levy, former middleweight champ Marvin Hagler, celebrated golf-club thrower Tommy Bolt and baseball prospect Andy Morales have in common?
Answer: All fibbed about their age. Late in his career with the Buffalo Bills, Levy was discovered to be three years older than he had been admitting to 71 instead of 68. "To me, chronological age is just approximate," he said. "I honestly feel that I can do things and am physically better off than many people 15 years younger."
Morales, a Cuban defector who recently had his four-year, $4.5 million contract with the Yankees declared invalid, reportedly fudged his age by three years. Hagler and Bolt, winner of the 1958 U.S. Open, made themselves younger by two years.
"I lied to the PGA when I joined the tour," Bolt told the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, "because I didn't want to look like an old man out there. I was on the tour at 34, and they had my age in the PGA record book as 32. To me, 34 sounded like you were ancient. You know how the movie stars knock a couple of years off their age? I thought I'd knock a couple of years off mine."

Funny story: After the first round of the '58 Open, one of the local papers said Bolt was 49 instead of "39." Tommy was none too pleased. So he confronted the reporter the next day and said, "Hey, what do you mean quoting my age as 49?"
Reporter: "Tommy, I'm sorry. That was a typographical error."
Bolt: "Typographical error my ass. It was a perfect 4 and a perfect 9."

Speaking of golf, Bubba Dickerson's victory in the U.S. Amateur got me to thinking: Who are the top five Bubbas in sports history? One man's list:
1. Bubba Smith, defensive end, Baltimore Colts Ogden Nash put it best:
He's like a hoodoo, like a hex,
He's like Tyrannosaurus Rex.
(FYI: Smith played at Michigan State with Jimmy Raye, the Redskins' new offensive coordinator.)
2. Bubba Wells, basketball player, Austin Peay: Averaged 31.7 points as a senior in '96-97, more than any Division I player in the country. (Alas, he didn't play in enough games to qualify for the scoring title.) Played briefly in the NBA.
3. Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Spectacularly successful business founded by ex-college football star Forrest Gump in the movie of the same name.
4. Bubba Thornton, track coach, Texas Teams have produced three top-five NCAA finishes and 51 All-Americans in the past six years. Also helped coach the U.S. track men in the 2000 Olympics.
5. Gamma's Big Bubba Tour XL tennis racket So light and lethal it's made of carbon it was declared illegal when it first came out.
Honorable mention: Bubba Tyer, trainer, Redskins. Nobody can tape an ankle like Bubba and he's been doing it for more than three decades.

Congratulations to Ralph Friedgen. Not only did he win his first game as Maryland football coach, he did it against an ACC team and not one of those cupcakes his predecessors liked to schedule early.

It's a shame LaMont Jordan never got to play for Friedgen.

News item: Redskins employees asked to sign code-of-conduct agreement.
Comment: What's next, loyalty oaths to be recited after the national anthem at every home game? (And after that, maybe random polygraphs?)

If such a code had existed in the '90s, Mark Rypien's marriage to a Redskins cheerleader probably would have been annulled.

I'd love to see how the agreement is phrased. I mean, do the words "Thou shalt not commit a turnover" appear anywhere?

How about: "Remember to keep holy Fan Appreciation Day"?

Guess Marty Schottenheimer is going to have to find another 41-year-old to return punts. Darrell Green is hanging 'em up after this season.

Anybody got a phone number for Mike Nelms? He must be 50 by now.

In boxing we've got Hasim Rahman calling Lennox Lewis "gay," and in baseball we've got Omar Vizquel asking Arthur Rhodes to remove his earrings. I'm not sure what to make of this.

Baseball Stat of the Week: C.C. Sabathia is the first Indians rookie to win 14 games since Geronimo.

Brent Schwarzrock (currently in the running at the Air Canada Classic). Sounds like Fred Flintstone's club pro.

Memo to sportswriters and sportscasters: Now that the Mystics' Tamara Stocks is going to appear nude in Playboy, be careful in the future when you use the expression "the defender stripped Stocks."

Mike Barrett, the new general manager of the Phoenix Coyotes, isn't the first agent to go into management, in case you were wondering. Back in the '80s, Jerry Argovitz, who represented a number of big-name football players, became the owner of the USFL's Houston Gamblers.

And finally …
So now men's college basketball coaches want to be referred to as teacher-coaches? Just what the sports world needs another hyphen. Let's hope the women don't get wind of this. Then we'd have to deal with such tongue twisters as "teacher-coach Rae Rippetoe-Blair of Texas-San Antonio."

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