Michigan State's whipping of Iowa on the gridiron a week ago brought back memories of a 1953 game against then number one rated Notre Dame, at South Bend. Coached by the legendary Frank Leahy, undefeated Notre Dame was led by Heisman Trophy winner to be, Johnny Lattner, and were ranked second nationally in total offense, and fourth in both scoring and rushing. They had the only backfield in the history of college football to have all four starters drafted by the NFL in the first round.
Coached by Forrest Evashevski, the Hawkeyes had a record of five and three entering this, their last game of the season. Although those were good years for the Hawks, they were quite an underdog. Irish QB Ralph Guglielmi was sacked at the Iowa 12 yard line with only two seconds remaining in the first half and they were out of time outs.
Lineman Frank Varrichione fainted, forcing the referee to stop the clock. That gave the Irish time to run one more play, and they scored on a touchdown pass to Dan Shannon, the half ending tied at seven. Later, with just 6 seconds left in the game, Varrichione fainted again! The stalling tactic gave the Irish time for one more play and they again scored and the game ended tied at 14. Faking injuries was not unusual in that era, but rarely had the ploy caused such a dramatic effect on a game, and a season. The Fighting Irish went on to finish second in the nation, and Iowa, unranked until the eighth game, moved all the way up to ninth.
Although the NCAA doesn't have a rule against faking an injury, it does call it unethical. Who could be sure a player is faking? Sitting out for at least three plays, as suggested by some, would help but most teams have at least one position with a strong backup.
This year against the Hawkeyes, several Michigan State players were injured, or professed to be. That prompted TV play-by-play commentator Beth Mowins (who was excellent in a job usually reserved for men) to mention that Iowa was concerned when the "injured" recovered so quickly. The Des Moines Register has quoted one Michigan State player as "not denying what happened." This time, though, the cheating had nothing to do with the outcome of the game.
I like to watch horse races, paying special attention to which nag in the middle of the pack starts to make a move about two thirds through the race. When my ship was docked in at Treasure Island at San Francisco my buddies and I frequently went to the three tracks in the Bay area. In 1956, though, I was alone at Bay Meadows and having a losing day. Sitting in a nearby box were WW2 pinup girl actress Betty Grable and her bandleader husband, Harry James. They owned a horse running in the feature race of the day.
I spoke to them, asked about their horse, and garnered autographs. Ms. Grable, a lifelong conservative Republican, had seen her better days but she still had great legs. Their horse didn't, on that day, adding to my losing day.
The Republican candidate contest for the presidential nomination is like a horse race, with onetime laggers moving up while front runners fade like autumn leaves. Although it is nearly a year until the finish line, we are well down the backstretch and some will be weeded out soon.
We should have a candidate we would be proud to send to a meeting of world leaders, one who is in tune with mainstream America, thinks fast, and speaks well on important issues without a teleprompter. One who sounds and looks presidential. Of course I want to agree with the candidate on most, but not necessarily all, issues, too.
I have doubts about Libertarian Paul (who would immediately bring US troops home, including from Korea and Germany); Perry (Can't remember his own plan); Cain (Duh, Libya?); Santorum (who has said that John McCain, the former POW, doesn't understand the effectiveness of waterboarding and other tough interrogation techniques!), and MS. MSpeak Bachmann?
Don Paulin, email@example.com, 7557 30th Av, Norwalk, IA 50211 - 515-201-7236