Let’s start with an easy question: Name three activities in which you have to move backwards to win (answer at end of column).
Do you know how baseball’s seventh-inning stretch started?
It’s disputed but, according to one version, it goes back to 1882. Doesn’t everything? Credit for this brainchild is given to Brother Jasper Brennan, who was the baseball coach at Manhattan College in New York.
In those old days of high-discipline, students attending games were expected to be well-mannered and sit with proper posture, etc. But, during one particular game, Brother Jasper noticed that the students were becoming uncomfortable and squirmy late in the game, so he instructed them to stand up and stretch their muscles.
The students liked the idea and continued the practice at all their baseball games, including the occasion when they travelled to the Polo Grounds to play the New York Giants. The Giant’s fans noticed the “stretch,” liked it and soon they were standing, too, as the visiting team took the field before the bottom of the seventh inning.
Where would you find the longest golf hole in the world? Well, it depends who you ask and how you split hairs.
For example, the longest hole could be a par-3? No, really? Yes, sort of. This is really the most extreme that golf can get. In one sense, the world’s longest golf hole is at the Legend Golf and Safari Resort in South Africa. In keeping with how weird this is, it’s their 19th hole and it has an elevation of 640 yards. Now, officially it’s a 310-yard hole, but with the elevation drop, you’re looking at a 400 yard, par-3. And it’s a millionaires’ golf hole, because they have to helicopter you to the tee box high above the hole. Nice touch.
Closer to ground — er ... fairway level — a more mainstream claim holder would be another “world’s longest golf hole” at the Satsuki Golf Club in Sano, Japan. Their seventh hole, which is a par-7, covers a tiring 964 yards.
Another long one is in North Carolina at the Black Mountain Golf Club. It’s a slightly shorter endurance test of 745 yards and it’s a par-6.
And as you’re probably about to point out, we have a super-long hole right here in our own back yard in Manitoba. Less than an hour’s drive from Winnipeg to the southeast in La Broquerie, you’ll find La Vérendrye Golf Course, which features a hole that seems to go on forever. Hit everything you have and you still won’t be on the green. This monster is a par-6 and measures an exhausting 751 yards as the crow flies and the golfer crawls. If you’re not up to such a long hike, from the short tee, it’s a par-5 of “only” 549 yards.
Here’s a nostalgic test of your sports-memory. What was the most notable thing about Colt Stadium in Texas?
This is one of those little known facts that only a Manitoban can really appreciate. Colt Stadium for a couple of years way back in the 1960s, was home to the Houston Colt 45s, who later became the Astros. The thing that made it infamous was its swarms of ravenous mosquitoes that attacked the fans relentlessly at every game. Colt Stadium was known for selling more mosquito repellent than beer.
Great, if confusing, sportslines of our time. Do you remember these verbal blunders from the past? Wrapping their tongues around these memorable lines, sports people have given us the following logic:
• Bill Peterson, Florida football coach-turned sportscaster, once said, “This is the greatest country in America.”
• Danny Ozark, while the Phillies manager, asserted, “I will not be co-horsed.”
• Harvey Kuenn, manager of the Brewers, was commenting on a very close game and said, “Well, they had us with the walls to our back.”
Of course, this linguistic collection would have to include Yogi Berra, the wordsmith extraordinaire. The famous Yankee catcher said things such as:
• “If people don’t wanna come to the ballpark, nobody’s gonna stop ’em.”
• “We made too many wrong mistakes.”
• “Ninety-nine per cent of life is half mental.”
• “The game ain’t over ’til it’s over.”
• “If you can’t imitate him, don’t copy him.”
• “You can observe a lot by just watching.”
• Someone asked Yogi what time it was and he said, “You mean now?”
• Yogi was once asked why the shadows in left field caused fielders so much trouble, and he replied: “Well, it gets late early out there.”
• When talking about a restaurant, Yogi observed: “You know, nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”
And last, but not least, coming in a close second to Yogi in “mixed-up logic” would be the immortal Casey Stengel of the Yankees.
• Casey was talking to a group of rookies and instructed, “Now, you fellas line up alphabetically ... by height.”
• On another occasion, Casey was referring to a colleague and said, “He’s dead at the present time.”
Three activities where you move backwards to win:
1. The backstroke in swimming.
3. The tug-o’-war.