(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


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Monday, October 24, 2005

Name Game

The proverbial they say that you're really only four or five phone calls away from almost anyone in the world. Avid moviegoers have played the game "Six Degrees of Separation from Kevin Bacon" owing to the fact that were you to name an actor or actress, you can say that he or she acted in a movie with someone who acted alongside Kevin Bacon in a movie. And I've once or twice wondered while driving along crowded highways as to how many people are in the public eye or close to someone who is (on the flip side, I always wonder how many convicted felons are breezing by me, too).

I am not that concerned about touching celebrity, because it's not always what it's cracked up to be. Meeting celebrities has its limits, because they seldom prove to be the same person as the image you created in your mind about them. After all, they're about as human as the rest of us.

Instead, I prefer to get amused by links to the famous, at least when the purported link gives rise to a certain level of humor. Now, the link I'm about to mention didn't arise in a humorous context, but picture a well-mannered, very bright suburban lawyer, super guy, hits a golf ball a country mile and has a handicap under ten. Works at a very good firm, earns a nice living.

He picks up a guitar recently for relaxation. Not an acoustic guitar, mind you, but an electric guitar, because he used to jam with some guys in high school and he finds it relaxing. We got to talking over the weekend, and I asked him what style he preferred.

"Springsteen?" I asked. I figured the Boss was a good place to start.

"No. Much louder than that. Bolder too." Now I can't recollect the conversation precisely, but I figured I'd step out there and take a bolder guess.

"Motley Crue?" I suggested, dating myself somewhat, but as those readers of this column know, I don't make many heavy metal references in my posts.

"Harder and louder than that."

Now I probably know the names of about a half dozen heavy metal bands, because to me they all have names like "Warlock's Butt", "Sister Slashed Me With a Machete" and the types of things that you don't typically discuss after dinner with children running around in a suburban house with a nice family room and good back yard. I was about to get stumped.

So I pulled a name out of the fire, so to speak.


"You got it," he replied with a relaxed smile. "I grew up with those guys."

Now, I really know nothing about Anthrax, don't know whether its members are members of Mensa, preach at Pentecostal churches or drive sight-impaired people to the polling places on Election Day. All I had thought in the deep recesses of my mind is that naming a band after a poison that has something to do with cows was an odd way to brand oneself for life.

Not only did he grow up with them, but he jammed with them every now and then too. And he knows this guy rather well. Which is amusing, because when you Google that guy, you get this guy too. The former is a 42 year-old stocky guitar player who is engaged to Meatloaf's daughter, while the latter is a 300-pound tight end. And how many times have you been in a situation where you had to give your last name first? So, Scott Ian, meet Ian Scott.

And my guess is that the two of you will not be photographed together at any time in the near future, unless the former is a big Chicago Bears fan or the latter is a huge heavy metal aficionado. Next thing you know, my friend will tell me that a partner in his law firm represents several of the Bears, which, if true, could help arrange perhaps the first-ever meeting between Scott Ian and Ian Scott.

Heavy metal meets Heavy man.

Rock star meets Rock solid.

What all this means I cannot say, except that I look forward to potentially interesting links with friends occasionally in the future. Please, don't get me wrong at all, I cherish my family and friends a great deal. But you have to remember this, that beneath the great neighbor, solid citizen, church deacon, member of the Board of Supervisors, parent of your kid's schoolmates, are, among others, the guy who Barry Bonds hit most of his Little League home runs off of, the kid who caught Sandy Koufax in high school, the Orange County sorority girls who Venus and Serena Williams used to blast endless amounts of tennis balls by in junior tournaments, the girl who sat behind Tom Brady in home room and the woman who sold shoes to Michael Jordan when he was a pre-schooler.


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