This month, after five years of legal wrangling, the NCAA finally finds itself facing off in court against basketball legends Ed O'Bannon, Oscar Robertson, Bill Russell and more than a dozen other former college athletes, some long since graduated and even retired from professional sports.
Younger sports fans may have been shocked to see players from the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat wearing their warmup jerseys inside-out in silent protest against Clippers owner Donald Sterling, after a recording surfaced of a telephone call in which Sterling allegedly told his then-girlfriend not to bring African-American guests to the team's games. Sterling subsequently was banned for life by NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
If you love golf as dearly as I do, you surely remember Tom Watson, at the tender age of 59, coming within a whisper of winning the British Open in 2009. Playing masterfully over four days at Turnberry's Ailsa Course in Ayshire, Scotland, Watson would have tied the record with a sixth Open victory but for a bogey on the last hole of regulation play. Instead, he lost to Stewart Cink in a four-hole playoff.
One reason that golf is a great lifetime sport is that you don't have to finish first in a tournament or even finish with the best score in your regular foursome to be a winner.
Looking every inch a champion, the great South African golfer Gary Player is in the news, as ESPN The Magazine releases photos from its upcoming "Body Issue." The magazine will have eight different covers on news stands; the 77-year-old Player graces one of them, a pair of golf clubs his lone accessory.
You don't have to watch a recent controversial cable TV documentary about mermaids to see convincing visual evidence that the mythical creatures might actually exist. Just rent a few of Esther Williams' classic Hollywood aquatic musicals - Bathing Beauty, Neptune's Daughter and Million-Dollar Mermaid, to name a few - in which the teenage national swimming champion turned glamorous actress thrilled 1940s and 1950s moviegoers with her graceful underwater maneuvers and lithe, shapely figure.
Back in 1960, a DC-6 airliner took off from an airport in Pittsburgh with the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team aboard, and 30 seconds into the takeoff, one of the plane's prop engines abruptly failed. As an article in Time magazine recounted the incident, the ballplayers, understandably, became anxious - all except for the team's best player, the great hitter Stan Musial, then in his 19th year in the majors. "I can see the headline now," he joked to a teammate. "CARDINAL PLANE CRASHES - MUSIAL LONE SURVIVOR."
Felice Shapiro is a writer, entrepreneur, and publisher as well as the founder of Better After 50, a weekly online magazine. In addition to being a teacher and avid runner, hiker, and yogi, she is an AARP contributor.
Helen Johns Carroll, now 97, was only 17 years old when she represented the United States in swimming at the 1932 Summer Olympics. That makes the gold medal she won 80 years old--and Carroll the product of a much different Olympic era.
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