By Jim Caple
Page 2

A recent Harris poll determined that half of the American public believes Iraq had weapons of mass destruction even though the Pentagon and U.S. weapons inspectors strongly deny such claims. A recent Scripps Howard/Ohio University survey determined that one-third of Americans believe the federal government either had a role in the 9/11 attacks or took no action to stop them in order to get the U.S. into a war in the Middle East.

Should we be surprised by these survey results? Not really. Just consider the bizarre beliefs we stubbornly cling to in sports.

We believe 150-pound Floyd Landis was on the juice but 260-pound NFL players with 33-inch waists who can bench-press 350 pounds and run 4.5 40s are completely clean.

We believe we can have six-pack abs with a 12-minute workout just three days a week.

We believe all women basketball players and golfers are lesbians but that no male baseball, football, hockey or basketball players are gay.

We believe the 40-yard dash times in the scouting combines and the radar gun readings on the scoreboard are accurate measurements. We also believe our speed pitch booth readings were 20 mph too slow and that the state patrol officer's radar gun was 15 mph too fast.

We believe we could beat Diana Taurasi one-on-one.

We believe LeBron James is only 21 and Julio Franco is only 47.

We believe more children could watch the World Series if the games were played during the day when they're in school.

We believe 5.9 billion people watched the World Cup even though the world population is 6.6 billion. We also believe that 1 billion people watched the Super Bowl even though the U.S. audience for this year's game was less than 90 million.

We believe racehorses really understand what's going on when they're running around the track.

We believe that cute cheerleader who turned her head toward section 323 during a dance routine was staring at us.

We believe Shoeless Joe Jackson was innocent.

We believe Pete Rose cheated on his taxes, was a lousy husband and father, bet on baseball and hung out with known criminals but that he never bet against the Reds.

We believe that if we wear our lucky T-shirt from college and sit in the exact same spot of the living room we did during last week's victory, it will help our favorite team playing in a city 2,000 miles away.

We believe the autograph we paid $100 for on eBay actually is Vince Young's signature.

We believe drinking a particular brand of cheap beer makes us very attractive to members of the opposite sex. Similarly, we also believe we will run faster and jump higher if our shoes have swooshes on them.

We believe even though Alex Rodriguez averages 125 RBI a season, none of them helps his team win.

We believe other people are interested in how our fantasy teams are faring.

We believe that league commissioners represent our interests even though they are hired and paid by the owners.

We believe Barry Bonds got so big by taking steroids, HGH and testosterone but our team's players got big and strong by eating cans of spinach and working out more. Similarly, we believe all U.S. Olympians are clean but that all European and Chinese athletes are dirty. And that our school's players are students in good standing but every other college's players never attend class and receive cash payments from boosters.

We believe that postseason baseball games start too late at 8:20 ET but that Monday Night Football games starting at 9:10 are just right.

We believe 130-pound Takeru Kobayashi can eat 53 hot dogs in 12 minutes but a 38-year-old outfielder's 15-pound weight gain can only be explained by steroids.

We believe NBA players are the best athletes in the world, but they don't try until the final two minutes.

We believe that performance enhancers such as steroids and HGH will kill you but that performance enhancers that can cause four-hour erections, headaches and loss of vision are healthy.

We believe Muhammad Ali is the most recognizable athlete in the world. And that Michael Jordan is the most recognizable athlete in the world. And that Ronaldo is the most recognizable athlete in the world. And that David Beckham is the most recognizable athlete in the world. And that Tiger Woods is the most recognizable athlete in the world. And that Anna Kournikova is the most recognizable athlete in the world …

We believe we could get a hit off a big league pitcher, that we could win a gold medal in the luge and that we'll walk away from a casino's poker table with more money than we sit down with.

We also believe Anna Benson would sleep with us, too.

We believe that "next year'' finally will be the Cubs' year.

And oddest of all, we believe the results of a national poll of 1,100 people accurately reflects the beliefs of a nation of nearly 300 million citizens.

Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com. You can reach Jim at jimcaple.com. Sound off to Page 2 here.


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WHAT WE BELIEVE