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Original Issue

Wanna Bet?

As Fred Funk and others found out, losing a wager can be a drag

GAMBLING ON their own sport is taboo for athletes, but there's no harm in a little side action among friends now and again. Which explains why Fred Funk played most of a hole in last week's Skins Game in drag. He told Annika Sorenstam that if she outdrove him, he'd wear a skirt for the rest of the hole. She did on number 3, and Funk kept his promise--even rolling up his pant legs to show off his gams. (Tiger Woods said, "I don't know if he had a thong on underneath there.") Here are some other strange sporting propositions.

THE PARTICIPANTS: TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith

THE WAGER: On a broadcast in November 2002, Sir Charles told Smith that if Rockets center Yao Ming scored 19 points in a game, he'd "kiss [Smith's] ass right here on TV."

THE RESULT: Two weeks later Yao scored 20. Saying, "I'm a man of my word," Barkley kissed Shorty, a rented donkey that was wearing a sign that read KENNY'S. As for Shorty, according to his handler, "He got a little excited when Charles kissed him."

THE PARTICIPANTS: Dodgers pitcher Brad Penny and 19-year-old Marlins bat boy Nick Cirillo

THE WAGER: Penny promised Cirillo $500 if he could drink a gallon of milk in an hour without throwing up.

THE RESULT: The kid got the milk down--but couldn't keep it there. When word of the bet got out, the Marlins suspended the batboy for six games. Penny vowed to cover his lost wages, noting, "It's kind of ridiculous that you get a 10-game suspension for steroids and a six-game suspension for milk."

THE PARTICIPANTS: The Devil Rays and manager Lou Piniella

THE WAGER: In 2003 Sweet Lou told his struggling team if they won three in a row, he'd dye his hair a color of their choosing.

THE RESULT: In early July the Rays took three straight. Piniella paid up--he got platinum highlights in the clubhouse--but didn't seem keen on finding out if blonds have more fun. "One good thing is, it'll be gone in a month," he said.

THE PARTICIPANTS: Eagles coach Andy Reid and receiver Terrell Owens

THE WAGER: In happier times Reid vowed to wear tights like the ones Owens wore to training camp if the receiver caught 15 TDs in 2004.

THE RESULT: Owens was on pace, with 14 in the first 14 games. Then he broke his leg and missed the end of the season, sparing everyone the sight of Reid crammed into spandex.