What's happening in sex and sports?
By Jeff Merron
Page 2 staff

When I was about four or five years old, my dad took me swimming at one of those old-fashioned health clubs in New York. Kind of what I imagine Russian steam baths are like -- lots of old and older men waddling around in the buff, with flaps of skin in all kinds of places you'd never think possible.

I remember we went in the pool sans suits -- and that's all I remember, besides a vague sense of unease. Not about seeing my father naked. Just about the possibility of one of those unknown lumps of flesh coming near. That was fear. We never went back. I guess my dad caught on that this wasn't my idea of fun.

Think the Super Bowl is all about football? Think again.

But old guys still dig it. The Milwaukee Athletic Club's ban on nude swimming went into effect on Jan. 2, even though there are separate pools for men and women. "Some of our older members really enjoy this benefit," Bob Bellin, president of the club, told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "But we felt that, in an effort to appeal to younger members, we had to change with the times."

Tradition won't die easy, though. The old men like to swim and then gather poolside, eating. It's bacchanalian, with lots of flesh, and a few big towels. "It's like a giant toga party," one former member told the Journal-Sentinal.

But really, what's the big deal? "It's a burden to carry a suit," said 78-year-old Al Horn.

More news to come, possibly. One geezer is considering a protest that's likely to scare the youngsters.

Hmmm. Wonder how Sergeant Joe Friday would handle this one

Has anyone seen Maradona's missing penis? If so, please call Argentina's police, who, the (U.K.) Daily Star reported a few weeks back, are searching for it. No, this isn't another John Wayne Bobbitt episode. They're looking for a plastic model of unknown length and girth, that the soccer star filled with clean urine to pass his drug tests when he played in Italy.

The "piece" is owned by a Buenos Aires museum and disappeared on a traveling exhibition throughout Argentina.

David & Victoria Beckham
All we want for Christmas is ... Victoria Beckham.
That country's cops won't fail. "We're confident we can sniff it out," said one. "It's quite an unusual theft but I suppose it is valuable because of its former owner."

No word on whether there will be a lineup in which it's identified.

Or maybe I'll let him watch me brush my teeth in my PJs

Victoria Beckham couldn't figure out what to give the hubby who has everything for Christmas, so she was considering a piece of performance art -- namely, herself. "I might just stick myself in a box with a bow on it this year and leap out naked," she said.

Oh, boy!

Then again, what do you expect from a woman who can't get along with Jon Stewart?

Getting wet with Franziska

I've recently become a huge fan of Franziska van Almsick. News of the Olympic multiple-medalist reached these burning ears via a report that a chap (well, we think it's a chap, but who knows?) bid $4,158 on eBay to spend a day in a pool with the stunning freestyle specialist. We hope, for the winning bidder's sake, that a) she gives good swim lessons, or b) the day isn't spent at the Milwaukee Athletic Club.

But why do I dig her so much already, besides imagining myself poolside with Franziska? Sure, she's sexy. And she does lots of things for charity, including that day-in-the-pool auction. But what makes her lovable is that you can send off and get a collectible, signed card of her, for free. And her website's FAQ page is refreshingly blunt about why you need to send a snail-mail SASE:

Franziska Van Almsick
Franziska would make for a great Christmas present, too. Here's a reason to watch more swimming.
Q. Why can autograph cards not be requested by e-mail?
A. This would involve too much work for Franziska's management.

Attention Tigers marketing department!

Beer wenches returned to international cricket matches in Sydney on Jan. 11, even though their presence last summer spawned some hearty debate. The Sex Bomb Promotions employees served up plenty of skin and pints of ale, getting $65 an hour for their work, reported the Sydney Morning Herald. And, for an extra fee, cricket fans could break up those hours-long innings with a private striptease.

Is it worth the money? One fan, quoted by the Daily Telegraph, said absolutely. "We were surrounded by the Barmy Army and wanted to have a couple of glamours in our group," he said. "That was the main reason we [hired the waitresses]."

According to Aussie reports, the service has been very popular at both auto races and cricket matches, and looks like a keeper.

The world's worst Best?

Former British soccer great George Best continues to amaze the Fleet Street tabloids with his sexual shenanigans. The Daily Mirror reported early in January that Best, who is married but is rumored to be a serial adulterer, had a quickie in a West London pub with a woman even younger than his 31-year-old wife, Alex.

One witness told the story to the Mirror: "He was drinking in the bar and looked the worse for wear but you could tell he was waiting for someone. Then after a while this young, gorgeous, dark-haired girl walked in and made a beeline for him. They snogged each other on the lips and didn't care who saw them. And, after a few minutes, they left the bar area and sloped into the ladies toilets together."

Best, who in his younger days was Britain's sports hero/sex legend equivalent to Wilt Chamberlain, publicly admitted being impotent, reported the Mirror. But that doesn't seem to be slowing him down. Maybe he's doing a stealth advertising campaign for Levitra or Viagra.

Well, they're good, so they don't have to "reflect"

It's not just their national pastime. It's so big in China it's called "national ball." That it is, of course, table tennis, and the Chinese national team took a hit recently when four potential Olympians were suspended for "dating." One male player and three female players were sent back home to "carry out deep reflection."

But what's up with that one male and three females? Our beating hearts first suspected some kind of L-word action, but the unbalanced numbers have only to do with double standards. Seems that some of the daters actually had long-term relationships, and, as a matter of practicality, an official said, "We let the more important person (in the couples) stay because they have the heavier burdens and responsibilities."

I feel numb ...

According to the BBC, Arsenal winger and Calvin Klein underwear model Freddie Ljunberg won't be indulging in pre-match sex any more. "I noticed my feet got numb and I wasn't as aggressive on the pitch if I'd had sex," explained Ljunberg.

The hubcap? The goons? The jail time? They were nothing, compared to ...

Hey -- mark your calendar! It's now been ten years since Skategate I, when former Olympian Tonya Harding's best backers whacked rival Nancy Kerrigan in the knee prior to the nationals.

To celebrate the occasion, the publicity-shy Harding, who still claims she had no part in the scheme, allowed herself to be interviewed by Robert Chalmers of the London Independent.

Tonya Harding
This is what Tonya Harding has had to resort to.
They talked about old times and new, and of course the subject of the famous wedding video came up. "I didn't know that tape existed," Harding said, "until after it was done. And then I was like, 'Oh, my God.' It was terrible, the most embarrassing thing that ever happened in my life."

Chalmers understandably went for the bait, writing, "That's an accolade, some would argue, not easily gained."

Anna II?

So Anna K's been knocked off what seemed to be her permanent throne as the sportsbabe of the world, replaced by Jennie Finch. But the obvious question is, who's next? Could it be ... USC golf star Anna Rawson? She's certainly trying.

Rawson, who's from Australia and wants to go pro after graduation, recently posed for that country's Inside Sport magazine in some ... well, eye-popping apparel.

"I want golf to be sexy and focus on the body, as well as the importance of looking after yourself," she told Australia's Sunday Telegraph. "I'd love to play golf in Chanel and Dior, which looks beautiful and elegant as well as smart and sexy."

Stay tuned. Rawson finished 11th as an individual in the 2003 NCAA Women's Golf Championships, so we could be seeing a lot more of her soon ... no pun intended.

Manna for George Carlin ...

The game program for the Oakland Catholic High School basketball team included an ad for a company that provides (gulp) exotic dancers, male or female, for your next party.

The ad, reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, was on page 50 of the program, put together by parents to raise money for the team.

"Oh, my," Father Lengwin, a spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, said when reporter Ron Cook explained all the details in an almost-fruitless effort to get an official response. "That kind of ad is contrary to everything we stand for. It goes against our academic mission and educational purpose."


And finally ...

If you've been meditating on a mountain top in Tibet the past month, you'll want to read up on the upcoming Lingerie Bowl, the short-shorts in women's soccer proposal, and the newly infamous Dr. J. sex tape.

Look for more naughty notes in this space soon.



Jeff Merron Archive

Page 2: Sex and the Super Bowl

Part I: Sex & Sports, 2003

Part II: Sex & Sports, 2003

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