There are people walking this Earth who are not world-class athletes like LeBron James. They are traveling through various walks of life. Some may have been athletes earlier in their lives, some not. Some may have wanted to be but failed. Some we can't be sure about. To wrap our heads around this eclectic group, I offer a random salute to a few of these noteworthy people. Brace yourself.
Being a short and stocky guy, George Costanza was probably a pedestrian varsity high school wrestler. My guess is he cheated and played dirty tricks to win those matches and often got caught. In all, he earned three suspensions in a row from the county tournament for conduct detrimental to the other wrestlers.
By contrast, George's sidekick, Jerry Seinfeld, emitted non-athleticism. He was too much of a pretty boy who needed to keep his hair in place. He walked and talked like a lamb. Picture him at a University of Alabama football practice as a player doing his Seinfeld act, cracking sarcastic jokes. Tyrannical coach Nick Saban would tear into his soul for a few minutes, dress him down, and then have the entire team run full speed at him, one by one in single file separated by five seconds. The players would pulverize him until his hair fell out and that annoying smile got permanently erased from his face. This would give new meaning to the Alabama Crimson Tide motto "Roll, Tide, Roll."
Meanwhile, Puddy, the tall, beefy guy who dated Elaine in the Seinfeld series and didn't use long sentences when he spoke, had to have been a back-up offensive lineman for some college football team probably in the Midwest. Have you seen the man? Doesn't he strike you as a prototypical offensive tackle from the Big Ten Conference? Even if he wasn't especially good, his teammates hung around him a lot to hear him crack jokes that were remarkable in their brevity.
Dr. Marcus Welby MD, that doctor character who starred on the family show in the late 1960s, was one of those poindexter type high school and college kids. Nice guy and everything, but not an athlete. He spent his high school afternoons doing extra biology laboratory reports. Or maybe something else. At this point it doesn't matter at all though, does it?
The president of Yahoo, knockout Marissa Mayer, may or may not have played any sports while growing up. Yet I couldn't care less and you shouldn't either. She's a blonde with all kinds of IQ points gushing out of her blue eyes, a computer, techno-type. In my mind, that is true athleticism.
Although he may have been a decent grade school second baseman, it all came undone in high school for Jon Bon Jovi when he got cut because of a weak arm and powder puff swing. After crying on his Mom's shoulder that evening, the next day he bought a guitar and became a world famous rock star. Technically this was not athleticism. But in many ways he won the game of life. He captured something more meaningful than championship trophies: wine, women and song.
Was Elton John an athlete? You do the math.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie probably had a brief athletic career starting his senior year of high school at center and nose tackle. His junior year he pestered the coach so much that the coach made up his mind he would never put him in the game that season as a spiteful counter-attack against the obnoxious kid.
In grade school Christie couldn't make weight for any of the tackle football teams. When he got his chance senior year, he became known for his ferocious-even disturbing-hitting. A non-stop trash talker with a booming voice, he would do anything to his opponent to win the one-on-one battle. Once he entered college, he drank beer and sat around a lot talking about how he would become President of the United States one day.
Marvin Gaye, the famous rock singer of the 1970s, probably played high school basketball, starting at shooting guard. Quickness was his forte. He quit after his junior varsity season and started singing to make several hit records. The only time he played hoops again was in a men's Tuesday night league in his early 20s.
Pinocchio, that lying cartoon character from yesteryear wasn't an athlete. Sporting that tremendous snout pointing out, he was especially poor at bobbing for apples.
John Cameron Swayze wasn't an athlete either. He was the guy on that commercial for H and R Block, the tax company, in the early 1970s. In grade school he probably got higher grades in algebra than Tiny Tim, Boy George, and Phyllis Diller.
Dr. Phil was a decent middle school wrestler but nothing more than that.
If you consider dancing a sport, Madonna was a great athlete. She had no time for sports in high school, however, because she was fixing to become a world famous diva rock woman crazy lady.
You don't have to guess whether Bill O'Reilly was a high school athlete. He brags about his high school hockey glory days on TV. With an ego his size and an in-your- face combative style, he had to have played sports and learned how to beat the other guy.
Alan Combs tried to be a golfer as a kid but found out that his game and personality turned off other golfers, most of who didn't agree with his views. So he tried out for baseball in high school. He got cut, however, with the first round of kids. The persistent Combs then formed a new club at his high school called the Democrats. He ran for senior class president but lost in a landslide to the starting quarterback of the football team.
Chris Matthews was the anti-athlete through grade, high school, and college, and remains this way to this day. Since he started reading Newsweek Magazine at the age of seven, he embraced the notion that all athletes are not as smart as he is. He didn't want to spend any of his time around people with IQs under 145. Politics engulfed him. Sports were, to him, petty and meaningless, inane activities, not lofty living. The one thing he didn't want anyone to find out, but it has come out today, is he played freshman football at his elite private high school and got psyched out by the other players, all of whom were tougher and didn't like his attitude. They scared him off the field forever.
Danny Zuko, the character John Travolta played in the movie "Grease," wasn't much of an athlete although could have been mediocre had he applied himself. He didn't play on any teams in grade school and high school mostly because he thought athletes we're cool. His preoccupation through those years was ensuring people thought he was cool and getting in fights on Saturday as leader of his gang, The Scorpions.