By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Jockrock: Are You Ready for Some Football?
If your NFL Gameday package, fantasy league, and office betting pool aren't enough to scratch that football itch, you might wanna check out The Football Albums, a pair of new CDs by the California indie-rock band DiskothiQ. The two CDsone for the NFC, one for the AFCfeature one song for each NFL franchise, plus a bonus tune commemorating the league's absence from Los Angeles. Just about all of the tracks are fun, most are insightful, and several border on genius, including those dedicated to the Saints ("You spend half of your life getting off of your knees/It takes a helluva man to wear a fleur-de-lis"), the Browns ("Art Modell, Art Modell/If there is justice you'll burn in hell"), the Packers ("Hey Reggie White/God does not like the Packers/Any more than he likes the Chicago Bears"), and the Bills (sung from the embittered perspective of Super Bowl goat Scott Norwood, who says, "No one will blame Jim Kelly for choking on third down/Next year I'll be selling insurance in a small Virginia town"). For more info, including lyrics and sound-file downloads, check out the band's Web site at www.sonicenemy.com/diskothiq.
Jockschlock: Underwhelming Undercard
"Not only was the feature a great attraction," barked Don King, following Saturday's Lewis-Holyfield II showdown, "but all of the undercard fights were great fights."
The best that can be said about the main event was that the judges didn't gagnot too much, anyway. As for the prelims, true fight fans can only applaud the absence of Christy Martin and Eric "Butterbean" Esch, tired staples of these affairs. Otherwise, patrons who tuned in two-and-a-half hours before TVKO's overpriced main course (prix fixe $49.95) were offered the usual assortment of uninspiring appetizers: an overmuscled Parisian cop (Josue Blocus) in a first-round knockout of a timid former football player (Clarence Goins); a junior welterweight champ (Sharmba Mitchell) in a 12-round snoozer over an awkward Venezuelan (Elio Ortiz); and a cruiserweight title bout that saw a flabby, if capable, Frenchman (Fabrice Tiozzo) pound out a seventh-round TKO against an overmatched journeyman named Ken Murphy. Coannouncer George Foreman poked fun at Murphy's having an 18-year-old son and still claiming to be a mere 30. But the former heavyweight champ might have been better to question how the WBA "contender's" march to a title shot could include five opponents (out of six) with a combined 16-142 record.
As for Vegas undercards, as fight historian Bert Randolph Sugar put it, "The 'under' embodies the established criteria. When I see the odds on these things posted at 8-1, 9-1, I start looking for the nearest bar."
Jocklit: Bloodsport Bestseller
Editor's Note: Have a Nice Day!: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks, by Mick "Mankind" Foley (Regan Books, $25), debuted on The New York Times Bestsellers list at No. 3 recently and moved up to No. 2 last week. As of yet, no media outlet has reviewed the autobiography. As a service to its readers, Jockbeat offers this analysis:
Mick Foley likes to learn things the hard wayhow to take a clothesline to the head, how to wrestle on thumb tacks, the best way to handle barbed wire. Now we can throw in "how to write without an editor."
For while Have a Nice Day is a 503-page account of a WWF superstar's rise to greatness, it probably would have worked better if condensed into a primer on the weaknesses of human anatomy: carotid arteries, latissimus muscles, kidneys, and meniscuses. Of course, the chapter on how he lost his ear during a match against Vader should be left alone. And the details on former injuries and the malleability of cartilage are priceless. In the author's words, "Unless you looked closely behind my ears, at the zippers that decorated my auditory landscape, you wouldn't have known that I'd been the veteran of so many late-night emergency room visits." The same goes for the King of Death Match chapter (300 pages later) and its scar-inducing descriptions of Terry Funk dropping him on a board wired with C4 explosives.
The pages in between, mainly, are more about Foley's making it as a professional wrestlerfrom his teenage fascination with Jimmy "Su per Fly" Snuka to his big break with Ted Turner's World Championship Wrestling. Have a Nice Day isn't exactly the Ball Four of professional wrestling, but it's a much more fascinating look at the sports entertain ment industry than Jesse "the Body" Ventura's recent autobiography, I Ain't Got Time to Bleed.
While that volume offers a few tidbits on Ventura's finding his place behind the microphone and a stab at Hulk Hogan's ratting to manage ment about his attempt to unionize the WWF, Foley's account is a page-turning tale of a Long Island loser's rise through the ranks of small-time arenas and $20 paydays to win the WWF Heavyweight Championship. Don't be daunted by Foley's voluminous memoir, however. Reading about Cortland State in the '80s isn't exactly the collected works of Hegel, though lessons on the value of the yen and its effect on T-shirt profits might put you back a few minutes. If anything, worry about the spattering of uncaptioned random photos throughout the text and the lack of chapter titles.