Skip to main content
Original Issue

Putting It In Writing

After we gave up atouchdown in our first Touch Football/Pulled Groinathon of the year, the guyson the other team sneered and said, "Suckers walk."

"Sayswho?" asked our left tackle, Cementhead.

"It's anunwritten rule," explained the other side's captain. "Oh, yeah?"said Cementhead. "Show me where." Which is exactly my point. Why aresport's unwritten rules unwritten? Get a Xerox machine under these puppies andhave a copy on everybody's desk in the morning.

The coach alwayssits in the first row on the team bus. If he is out sick or dead, the seatremains empty.

Apologize for apoint won on a net cord.

Take two or threepitches if your pitcher just made the second out of the inning.

Never, ever putyour finger in someone else's bowling ball.

The startinggoalie is always the first player on the ice.

If a line judgemakes a bad call in your favor, purposely double-fault the next point.

A manager neverdrinks at the same bar as his players.

Never knock in thetying run in the ninth inning of an exhibition game. Far better to lose than goextra innings in spring training.

No NBA playerattempting a layup in the fourth quarter of a tight game should gounfouled.

In a losingclubhouse you must act as if there has been a death in the family.

Hand the managerthe ball when he comes to the mound to take you out.

Never shoot thepuck into the net after a whistle blows.

Do not talk to orsit near a pitcher with a no-hitter going. And never bunt to break one up.

A first base coachnever stands in the first base coaching box.

Never blow yournose before a fight. (It makes the eyes swell easier later on.)

Stand as far awayas possible from a skeet shooter with a perfect score going.

Never walk on aplayer's putting line, including the two feet on the other side of the cup.

Always clear theinside lane for faster runners.

Never stand behindthe pool table pocket your opponent is shooting for.

Never let theinterviewee hold the mike.

A catcher maycomplain to the ump all he wants about balls and strikes, as long as he doesn'tturn around and do it face-to-face.

Never hit thequarterback during practice.

Never start the100 meters in a decathlon into a wind. Trade false starts until the breeze isfavorable.

When a soccerplayer is hurt, the opponents must kick the ball out of play.

Except for RockyMarciano, the challenger always enters the ring first--and always will.

Throw a handful ofsalt into the air before your sumo wrestling match begins.

It's true: Suckerswalk.

The bus may bedelayed by superstars only.

When the coachfinally wraps up a long meeting with "Any questions?" nobody better askone.

Rookies shagballs, whether they are millionaires or not.

Never shoot highon the goalie during warmups.

The back nine isalways pressed.

You must admit itwhen you hit a forehand on the second bounce.

On the playground,offense calls the fouls.

Never write downthe score of a bowler who is on a run of strikes.

Never admit youtrapped the ball while trying to make a catch.

No overheadsmashes at women in mixed doubles.

The caddie of thelast player to putt plants the flag.

NBA refs will takesome trash from head coaches but not a word from an assistant.

Never steal with afive-run lead after the seventh inning.

You must alteryour course to help a boat in distress.

Boxers never blinkduring a ref's prefight instructions.

When a receiverdrops a pass, go back to him on the next play.

Card games areplayed in the back of the plane.

Scrubs standduring NBA timeouts.

Winners buy.

Got it,Cementhead?

> Rick Reillyis on vacation this week. This column first appeared in the Jan. 16, 1995,issue.

> If you havea comment for Rick Reilly, send it to

Why are sports' unwritten rules unwritten? Get a Xeroxmachine under these puppies and have a copy on everybody's desk in themorning.