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Original Issue


We have barely scratched the surface of this man's talents

I report today on the operation. Bo successfully delivered a seven-pound, three-ounce baby girl this morning at a hospital in a small town in Alabama. Mother and daughter are doing fine.

"Bo knows obstetrics," I tell the home office.

"Delivering a baby isn't very hard," I am told. "Even taxi drivers sometimes do it."

"This was by cesarean section," I reply.

Let's see. Yesterday I reported on Bo's first novel. Tomorrow I'm scheduled to report on Bo's first solo flight. The novel has the thoughtful-ness of John Updike and the dialogue of David Mamet, combined with the best-seller appeal of Stephen King. It also was written in French. The first flight, Bo says, will be in a jumbo jet. A major airline will allow him to take the controls from New York to Los Angeles.

"I will file my story from an exclusive Beverly Hills restaurant," I tell the home office. "Bo is going to cook a seven-course dinner for a number of Hollywood stars after he lands. He will also select the wines. Bo knows wines."

"Bo knows wines?" I am asked.

"Both imported and domestic," I reply.

I began this assignment on Christmas, the day after Bo finished his season with the Los Angeles Raiders by carrying the football 10 times for 35 yards in a 34-17 loss to the New York Giants. There would be roughly 60 days before this Renaissance man of athletics would report to the Kansas City Royals on Feb. 23 for the start of baseball spring training. What would Bo do in those 60 days? A television commercial for sneakers says that Bo knows how to lift weights and play football, baseball, basketball, tennis, hockey and lead guitar. What more does he know?

Well, in my short time with Bo, I have learned more than the wisest professors ever could teach. I have seen this power-hitting running back leave a Las Vegas audience weak with laughter after delivering a flawless comedy routine. I have climbed Everest with him (Bo knows shortcuts). I have helped save a child from a burning building—Bo stood on the roof with the kid and told me exactly where to position the net. I have cheered as Bo shattered the record for swimming the English Channel.

On a night in Fargo, N.Dak., I watched him walk a high wire at the top of a circus tent. In a car hurtling along the back roads of New Hampshire, I finally had the theory of relativity explained in terms that I could understand. I saw Bo juggle a chain saw, a bowling ball and a carrot. I saw him park a tractor trailer in a space seemingly large enough to hold only an average compact, and I saw him hold a roomful of scientists spellbound with his theories on acid rain.

There was a time, during the negotiations to have Manuel Noriega leave the Vatican embassy in Panama—no, I am not supposed to mention that. The State Department swore me to secrecy. I can report that I saw Bo stop a charging herd of elephants on an African plain. He only had to point a finger at the beasts and say some strange word in an authoritative voice. I saw him shoot a hole in one on a par-4, dogleg right, by cutting over the trees and putting a lot of backspin on the ball. I saw him slap a sagging big-money musical into shape two nights before its opening on Broadway. I saw him paint an entire window frame without allowing one drip to fall onto the glass.

Every day has brought a different experience, a different lesson. No, every day has brought a dozen different lessons, two dozen, even more. I have tried to keep track of them all, down to the smallest detail ("This is the way Bo ties a necktie," I reported one day. "Read carefully, because Bo knows knots"), but I am beginning to falter. There are only so many words, so many notebooks.

"After the dinner in Beverly Hills, we are going surfing," I report now to the home office. "Then we go to San Francisco for the dedication of a building that Bo designed. It is very much in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright. Then there's the reggae concert. Bo is supposed to sing with Bob Marley's widow. Then he's supposed to have some laboratory time. Bo thinks he has discovered a salve that halts acne, but he wants to run a final test. Then—oh, I don't know—then there is something else, I'm sure."

"You sound tired," I am told.

"I am tired," I reply. "I'm as tired as I've ever been. Even the time I spent in the Caribbean was exhausting, watching Bo take the pictures for the swimsuit issue. He was a little worried about the backlighting."

What am I to do? The 60 days of Bo's vacation continue. Right now, he is working toward his degree in family and child development at Auburn. He is also whittling a bust of Napoleon from a piece of wood he found in the street. We just watched Jeopardy! on television. Bo didn't miss a single answer. Bo knows everything.

Except how to sleep.