Easy question: In promo photos, what have you seen more often around the neck of Houston Comets superstar Sheryl Swoopes--her infant or her WNBA championship medal? Parading husbands and babies goes such a long way toward counteracting the old amazon stereotypes the league just can't abide.
But material reality rarely matches the hype. The WNBA provides no child care during the season, and thus had little institutional defense to offer Los Angeles Sparks forward Pamela McGee last week when Michigan judge Peter J. Maceroni awarded temporary custody of her three-year-old daughter to her ex-husband while the court investigates whether the lifestyle of a professional basketball player is conducive to the child's well-being. Never mind that the season is only three months long and extends over the summer, when school is not in session. The ex-husband's case seems based on the presumption that being a professional athlete is itself contradictory to motherhood.
What's worse, Judge Maceroni is not the most sensitive of refs. He's best known for imposing a gag rule on court officials in 1996 when questions surfaced about the environmental safety of the district's courthouses, and for ordering the eviction of a troubled 74-year-old woman because she didn't bring her home of more than 40 years up to code in 30 days; the house just happened to occupy prime real estate property. Last year, citing a pattern of autocratic management as chief administrator, six of the nine circuit court judges in Maceroni's county sent a letter to Michigan's supreme court justice requesting that Maceroni not be reappointed to another two-year term. Liberty coach Nancy Darsch was dumped for less.
Manning, Manning, Manning
Rookie QB Peyton Manning certainly got a better deal, a record six years and $42.7 million, from the Indianapolis Colts than Archie Manning got to join the cellar-dwelling New Orleans Saints three decades ago, but in all other respects he is following in his father's ill-fated footsteps. For the Colts, like the past and present Saints, success is a dim memory, and they are off to an 0-3 start with Peyton at the helm. In his first three games, Peyton has lost one fumble that resulted in a score, been sacked six times, and has thrown eight interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns. Waiting in the wings of superstardom, however, is the youngest of Archie and Olivia Manning's three sons, for whom things are going a little better. Eli Manning, a high school senior, is the starting QB at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans, a position he was handed in his freshman year. His team is ranked No. 2 in the state in its division. In his first game this year, he completed six of seven passes for 127 yards and three touchdowns before retiring at half-time, as the Greenies went on to victory, 48-3. In the second game, he tossed three more touchdown passes in a 35-7 win. Already Eli has on file two oversized boxes filled with letters of interest from practically every college that suits up a football team. The only bad weather to come his way was Tropical Storm Frances, which caused flooding in New Orleans and forced the cancellation of Newman's second scheduled game.
Flying past slow-moving garbage barges, tourists packed the Circle Line and the Staten Island Ferry in New York Harbor this past Saturday where more than 20 classic sailboats competed for the annual Mayor's Cup.
The 32nd year of this event saw no break in tradition--Mayor Giuliani, like his predecessors mayors Wagner, Lindsay, Beame, Koch, and Dinkins--failed to grace the event with his presence. Despite the snub, three Americas Cup yachts competed, including the Intrepid, winner of the Americas Cup in '67 and '70, and built in Long Island City. Last year senator/skipper Ted Kennedy won the cup, hauling it to the lobby of Congress to show off to Capitol Hill cronies. This year the 1926 yellow-pine schooner Adventurer took home the Mayor's vessel.
The race was conceived by Peter Stanford in 1966 in an effort to return sailboat racing to New York Harbor. He dubbed the competition the Mayor's Cup, thinking the compliment would draw the city's head honcho, as well as lend the race prestige. You win a few, you lose a few; today, the harbor hosts about six races a year but, as yet, no mayors.
contributors: Alisa Solomon, Michael Swindle, Deirdre Hussey
sports editor: Katherine Pushkar
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