When USF coach Jim Leavitt broke down on the field after the Bulls upset West Virginia on Saturday, two things came to mind: One, we didn't know the guy even owned workable tear ducts. And, two, he's hardly the first crier in sports. Here are some of our favorites:
"I told Mess I wasn't going to do this,'' Wayne Gretzky said, dabbing his eyes. Mess was Mark Messier, Gretzky's teammate until Aug. 9, 1988, when Gretzky was traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings. And a mess is what Gretzky became when he boo-hooed his way through two news conferences. Yeah, he had it rough, all right. Had to leave blustery Edmonton for sunny Los Angeles to play house with actress Janet Jones. Poor guy.
One heck of a third baseman, but the guy turned into a dork whenever he turned emotional. When he hit his 500th homer, he jumped around like a toddler with a spider on his hand. When he announced his retirement in May of 1989 while standing at his locker, he looked like the fire hydrant that has its top knocked off in one of those Dirty Harry movies.
The Tigers manager once reportedly said, "I would not trust a man who is unable to cry.'' Few, then, are more trustworthy than Leyland, who cries after wins, losses, rainouts, rain delays, you name it. Legend has it that he cried when he had to send utility player John Cangelosi to the minors. Heck, we're not sure even Mrs. Cangelosi cried over that, but Leyland did, thus earning his nickname in Pittsburgh as The Ol' Bawler.
Okay, she got whacked on the leg pretty good. Right on the shin. Anyone would tear up a little. But the whole, "Whyyyyy? Whyyyyy? Whyyyy'?'' Come on, tape an aspirin to it and get back out there ... Baby!
Michael Jordan/Tiger Woods
We could, but we won't pick on these guys too much because both had crying moments when winning their first championships after the deaths of their fathers. We do have a little taste.
When Novotna lost the 1993 Wimbledon final (actually, to be more accurate, she choked like a dog), she crumbled into the arms of the Duchess of Kent. You know what she was thinking: Oh, I've worked so hard and come so close to my dream and what if this was my only chance to win Wimbledon? You know what the Duchess was thinking: Somebody ... get ... this ... GIRL OFF OF ME!'
When the Red Sox lost the 1986 World Series, Boggs sat on the bench watching the Mets celebrate and turned on the waterworks. So many Americans, we're sure, thought about how much winning and losing and the game itself means to these multimillionaires. Us? Actually, we kind of giggled. Sorry. We did.
Steelers fans were waiting for a reason to turn on Stewart, and he gave them the ammo they needed when he was seen blubbering on the sideline after being pulled from a game at Tampa Stadium in 1998. It's one thing to cry when you're 11 and get taken out for the coach's son. It's another when you've been in the NFL for four years and are supposed to be leading the blue-collar Steelers.
Even hippies cry. When Gonzaga lost in the NCAA Tournament last season, Morrison lay on the floor like a 3-year-old who was told to "Shut off Dora and get in the bath right now!''
Who's she? Come on, you know her. She was the rightfielder for the Rockford Peaches who consistently missed the cutoff! She proved there IS crying in baseball. Well, actually, Wade Boggs proved it. Evelyn perfected it.
The Hall of Fame Squirter. When he retires, when he unretires. Before games. After games. This guy cries at brunch. "Could you (sniffle) ... pl-pl-ease (ahem) ... pass me (sniffle, whew) ... the ... m-m-maple (ahhh) ... syrup (waaaaaaaaaaaaah)."