• Being an ice dancer is tougher than you think, although it looks effortless on TV. Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean once performed in an old circus tent in Tasmania. The weather was rough, the tent was leaky, and the audience was forced to use umbrellas while watching the performance. Meanwhile, a half-inch of water collected on the surface of the ice, and Ms. Torvill and Mr. Dean wondered what would happen if the wind blew a live electrical wire down onto the ice.
• When world-class gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi defected from Romania to the United States, he worked like a dog to earn whatever money — usually very little — he could. Often, he and his wife, Marta, ate a pretzel as their food for the entire day. By the way, they did have a dog. The dog ate better than they did, as Mr. Karolyi would feed him table scraps he had gotten from the restaurant where he worked as a cleaner.
• As President, John F. Kennedy appointed his younger brother Robert Kennedy as Attorney General of the United States — a decision for which he was much criticized, in part because Bobby Kennedy was so young and inexperienced. President Kennedy explained his decision in this way: “Bobby wants to practice law, and I thought he ought to get a little experience first.”
• In 1997, because President Bill Clinton had injured his foot and couldn’t walk to the Orioles’ pitcher’s mound, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was given the privilege of throwing the first baseball of Baltimore’s season. However, the baseball traveled only 15 feet, and she joked later that she had better not give up her day job
• Like everyone else, early in his life world-renowned women’s gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi had to decide which career to pursue. Once, his mother gave him an appliance to repair. He did his best, but the appliance blew up in his face. Therefore, he decided not to be an engineer, but instead to pursue his interest in gymnastics.
• In the early 20th century, Mr. Fyfe, the Caddie Superintendent at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St. Andrews in Scotland, had an interesting way of dealing with disputes between caddies. He simply told them, “Go to the bandstand and fight as long as you can stand, then come back and I’ll find you work.”
• World-class gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi believes in working his gymnasts hard. When Mary Lou Retton was training with him, she quickly realized that when Mr. Karolyi said, “Just one more,” they were really in the middle, not at the end, of the workout.
• Gymnastics coach Steve Nunno can be demanding. When he thinks a gymnast is not working as hard as she should, he kicks her out of practice for a while. Mr. Nunno has been known to kick as many as 10 of 11 total gymnasts out at one practice.
• Pitcher Lefty Gomez retired from major league baseball, then sought employment elsewhere. A job application form asked for the reason why he had left his previous job, so Lefty wrote, “I couldn’t get the side out.”
• At one time, newspaper reporters used to drink — a lot. During one drinking session, Paul Galloway, reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, became perturbed — make that very perturbed — about something that editor Jim Hoge had perpetrated. Mr. Galloway became so perturbed that he decided to do something about his perturbation, so he went back to the Sun-Times offices, picked up a chair, and threw it as hard as he could at the window of Mr. Hoge’s office. Big mistake. Mr. Galloway recounted later, “Something I had not foreseen was that the window was made of Plexiglas. The chair bounced back and almost hit me.” Mr. Hoge was not present at the time, and he need not ever have become aware of the event, but Mr. Galloway was still perturbed, so he insisted that the City Desk log the event, although the City Desk assistant advised him, “Forget it, Paul.” The next morning, Mr. Hoge was at his desk, and he perused the log, as was his custom. He also called Mr. Galloway, who now regretted having insisted that his action of the previous night be logged, into his office. Mr. Hoge said to Mr. Galloway, “So, Paul, I understand you have a problem with our interior decoration.” Mr. Galloway replied, “No, sir! I find it excellent! Nothing whatsoever wrong with it! Enviable, in fact!” Mr. Galloway was a very good writer, and Mr. Hoge was a very good editor, and very good editors realize that very good writers can occasionally disagree with very good editors, and so Mr. Hoge said, “I’m relieved. Now get back to work.”
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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