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Clinton's athleticism is unbelievable

| Saturday, March 22, 2003

Bill Clinton says he dunked in high school.

Yeah, that Bill Clinton.

And he wasn't talking about doughnuts. He was talking about dunking a basketball. In a real game. And he told it to Sports Illustrated. You can read it on page 103 of this week's issue.

He says he did it while playing on a church basketball team when he was 16. The two best players were out of the lineup and he got his big chance to play.

He tells SI, "I was heavy...I had to play the whole game. I scored 16 points. I got a fast break and I got a clear run at the basket from mid-court. Unbelievably, by the skin of my teeth, I dunked the ball."

Pardon me Mr. President, but I went to high school in the sixties. Fat, white kids didn't dunk in the sixties. The only kid I knew (under 6'5") who could dunk a basketball was Hank South. And you're no Hank South. I'm going to need to see some film on that.

Former President Clinton made the claim to Don Van Natta Jr., the author of the SI piece, which is an excerpt from his book about U.S. Presidents and their golf games. His description of the round of golf that he played with Clinton is eye-opening, funny and maybe a little disturbing.

You can learn a lot about a guy on the golf course. Sometimes, a little more than you want to know.

If you take golf seriously at all, and maybe even if you don't, Van Natta's description of Clinton's fifth hole at The Golf Club of Purchase on Long island should tell you all you need to know:

"Clinton hits a drive into the trees and takes a second, practice tee shot. He hits this one short. He hits another tee shot; this one goes long and far. He drives a cart over to the trees and takes a drop but hits that ball short. He then plays three more practice shots from the fringe and ends up playing the second of his practice shots. He is on the green in 4 but picks up without putting. On his scorecard he takes a 4 on the hole. It's a no-putt 4."

Why would anyone who plays "golf" like that bother to keep score• The former president finished with an 82. The only thing missing from the story was Bill playing the back nine without his shirt.

And, oh, by the way, early in Van Natta's story we learn that Mr. Clinton seriously considered, "Taking six months and seeing if I could get down to scratch, which I think I could, and then go on the Senior tour."

Scary.

  • Apparently, the chances are not good that the NFL will not change its overtime format.

    There are more than a few owners, including Dan Rooney of the Steelers, who would like a change that would allow both teams to touch the ball at least once. The owners made the mistake of putting coaches on the competition committee. Why would anybody be surprised that several of these guys are against making a change•

    It might open them up for a little more second-guessing. These are the same guys, who, in December, with their teams out of the playoff race and the ball on their opponent's 35 yard-line in the fourth quarter, have been known to punt. The change would make the game more appealing to the fans. Coaches who care about pleasing the fans don't punt from the 35. They can't afford to worry about how exciting the game is.

    That's why coaches should be consulted about rules changes but neither they nor the players should be allowed to vote on them.

  • Through Thursday's games, the combined record of number 15 and 16 seeds in the NCAA men's basketball tournament was 4-157. That's a winning percentage of .025. Pardon me if I have a little trouble finding the romance in that. I know. I know. Think about what a thrill it was for Vermont to lose to Arizona by 29. Let's give the Altoona Curve a big thrill and let them play the New York Yankees in the first round of the baseball playoffs.

  • Tom Donahoe keeps paying dividends on Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson's investment in him. When Donahoe took over the Bills two years ago, the team was in salary cap hell. Today, there are eight players left from that team, the Bills are $7 million under the salary cap and nobody would laugh if you would suggest that they have a chance to compete for the AFC Championship.

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