Planning a Halloween party? Probably not, I know. They're so old school. As a kid my house held a bobbing-for-apples Halloween party for the neighborhood kids. Our faces would get wet. It wasn't much fun. We wanted to eat candy.
But let's pretend you are having a Halloween party and you want to invite 10 athletes. There are 10 who deserve automatic invites that should right now be emailed to their smartphones. They are:
This guy has been missing eight-to-ten of his front teeth since he played linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970s. Since then you have got to figure he's had dentures installed, but he could easily take them out for one Halloween gig. Jack wouldn't have to wear any kind of costume, although he's a mean guy so if he wanted to I wouldn't try to stop him. All he would need to do is arrive without his teeth and the crowd would be frightened and confused, two core Halloween objectives.
Dennis would arrive with the ultimate reverse Halloween costume. As you may know, for the past 20 years or so the former pro basketball player dressed like it was Halloween. He sported countless tattoos, orange and green hair, nose rings and whatever else. To dazzle the party-goers, Dennis would arrive looking completely mainstream with brown hair, no rings, and
covered up tats. He would look like an average guy. But there would be a twist. He would be wearing a white wedding dress as he did some 15-20 years ago. Woman at the party would find this odd but, let's be honest, millions of guys have dressed up as women for Halloween. But Dennis wouldn't care what anyone thought and get his head shaved in front of the crowd.
The indelible image this Jets defensive lineman of the 1980s left us with was his perfectly combed wavy brown hair that protruded well below the back of his helmet. He would show up at the party wearing his Jets helmet, a full cage, and that same hair configuration. He would then tackle somebody and stand up and do the hip-jigging dance he used to love performing after sacking a quarterback in an NFL game. Everybody in attendance would feel as if they were back in the 1980s. The D.J. would rummage through his collection to find the greatest hits by Madonna, Billy Idol, and the Clash and play those. Gastineau would dance with no one but himself while combing his hair.
This guy is an absolute necessity at this party. No one in the world has more neck tattoos than he does. But that's not all. Unlike the typical ones which are black, his are different fluorescent colors. His hair looks like frozen-grease, stick-figure soldiers shooting to the moon. No one would be dazzled by his outfit because they've seen it before on TV in his games as a power forward for the Denver Nuggets. It is not a costume; it's who he. But Rodman would be psyched to see his soul mate, thereby creating party energy.
It's a long story but suffice it to say I have a college friend who arrived at our college Halloween party dressed up as Marcus Dupree, the superstar high school and college running back in the 1980s whose career got cut short because he quit playing for Oklahoma after his sophomore season. My friend, wearing a black curly wig and white jersey with the number 22 in red letters (Oklahoma colors), revolutionized the concept of being for Halloween someone who has been in the news leading up to Halloween. Others have been presidential candidates during election years, but no one had the creative genius to be a former college football player that almost no one at the party could ever guess who he was except me and a few friends who follow sports more closely than everything else in our lives. My friend, by the way, played high school football in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and in recent years has run marathons. So he's an athlete.
You have got to invite this guy. He would bring mobility and energy to the party. He would arrive, no doubt, on his bike and attempt to ride around inside the party. This would irritate some of the domesticated attendees and spark party tension. Lance would start arguing with Mark Gastineau. They would end up fighting and everyone would enjoy the spectacle. Lance's presence would bring out the Halloween Hecklers: "Hey Lance, how many lies are you going to tell us tonight? Hey Lance, we're serving juice at this party. You might like some."
Every party, regardless of whether it's Halloween or someother reason to celebrate, benefits when gorgeous, blue-eyed blondes from Sweden attend. This professional women's tennis player would not disappoint anyone if she showed up in her every day attire, rather than a costume.
With good old Tiger in the house, this party would be sent into the stratosphere. Never mind what he wears. The sizzle would be driven by all the attendees that show up with fire hydrants and taunt him the whole night by waving them in his face as he walks through the crowd. "Hey
Tiger, hit this," the Halloween Hecklers would shout at him.
It would be cool if Tiger's girlfriend, Lindsey Vonn, showed up. Another blond bombshell at a party is always a welcome addition. And she qualifies: she's an Olympic skier. She's not from Sweden but looks like she is.
I was an athlete at one stage of my life roughly 100 years ago. I would wear a costume that the crowd would dig. Well, not really the women but the men who care about the greatest basketball player who ever lived, Larry Legend Bird. Sporting Celtic green high-top Converse All-Stars and a Celtic jersey with the number 33--I have one in my dresser at home--I would strut around the party saying "I'm the hick from French Lick." I would bring a Wilson leather ball and say to anyone in my way: "What's the scoring record at this Halloween party?"