Todd Hartley: Well, I never (well, maybe once)
To those who have seen me lumber around a field playing flag football or softball, or lag far behind nearly every play in hockey, it may come as some surprise that I am actually rather fleet of foot. Seriously. I can run pretty fast.And so I feel as if it is my duty to protest the recent proclamation of America’s Tim Montgomery as the fastest man on Earth. Sure, he just set a new world record of 9.78 seconds for the 100-meter dash, but what does that really prove anyway?I mean, he only beat the old record by .01 seconds, and that record was set by America’s Maurice Green, who’s like 30 or something and can barely make it 100 meters nowadays. Green took the record from Canada’s Donovan Bailey, and if a Canadian once owned a world record not concerning hockey or lacrosse, how legitimate can that record really be? That’s like calling CFL hero Doug Flutie the best quarterback ever.The point is, none of these men, not Montgomery, not Green and certainly not some hoser from the great white north, has ever beaten me in a race.Now I know what you’re thinking. You think I’ve never run any races, and so my contention is moot. Well, you’re wrong, stupid. The fact is, I participated in track events and/or ran sprints in sports practice all through school. And you know how those sprints work: If you come in last you have to do another one. I never had to do another one. Suck on that, Montgomery.For years, on field day at North Street Elementary School back in Connecticut, David Wilson and I teamed up for the three-legged race ? and mind you, this was an all-ages race, meaning we were competing against adults. Well, guess what? Undefeated, to this day.In fact, as recently as college I was winning races. One day at baseball practice, we were doing head-to-head races from home plate to second base via opposite base paths, and I had just finished beating another outfielder when the second baseman challenged me to a race. Though winded, I accepted his challenge and defeated him too. I nearly puked, but I beat his ass.Sure, he beat me in a 100-yard rematch some time later, but I mean, come on, that was 100 yards. That’s a long way. I’d only have to outrace Montgomery for 100 meters. I don’t know much about the metric system, but if guys can run 100 meters in under 10 seconds, how far can it really be?Likewise, I’m saddened by the recent retirement of former New York Knicks center Patrick Ewing. I haven’t told many people this, but for years it has been my dream to work my way into the NBA and prove that I’m a better low-post player than Ewing. Alas, now it seems I will never have the chance.Yeah, I know, he’s 7 feet tall and athletic with a great jump shot and eons of NBA experience, and he’s among the all-time great basketball players ever, yada, yada, yada. And, yes, I realize that I’m 14 inches shorter than he is, with no vertical leap to speak of, and I’ve never played a game of basketball with actual referees in my life. But that doesn’t mean Ewing could take me.Like I said before, I’m pretty dang fast, and I’m crafty. I once gave Chuck Facas a crazy smooth head fake down in the post that nearly made him trip over himself. I seriously don’t think I’ve ever been so open for a layup.Most importantly, though ? and I imagine some of you may find this hard to believe ? once, when I was about 15 and my little brother was 12, I beat him in a game of 21 shooting and dribbling with just my left hand. That’s right, one-handed. You got what it takes to stop mad skills like that, Patrick? I don’t think so.But getting back to my original point, the bottom line is, I really don’t think Tim Montgomery should be crowing too much about setting any world record and being the fastest man alive until he proves, mano mano, that he can defeat me.And while I’m on the subject, I’d just like to take a moment to point out that Roy Jones Jr., the so-called best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, has never, not once, beaten me in a boxing match. And I’m a pretty nifty pugilist. Why once in kindergarten I … [Todd Hartley admits that Nicky Ballone once beat him in a race in ninth grade, but he was feeling under the weather that day. He writes this column each Friday in The Aspen Times. E-mail at email@example.com]
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