Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Classic card of the week
Okay, let me explain.
When I was a youngster, I subscribed to Sports Illustrated for Kids. I remember being so excited when that first issue arrived, because for whatever reason I knew Michael Jordan was going to be on the cover -- he was, holding two kids in the air with basketballs -- and I had already planned on keeping that issue forever and ever and ever until it was worth a million dollars, at which point I would symbolically pass it on to my NBA-playing son on my death bed. Well, it was raining the day that my first SI for Kids finally arrived in the mail, and our idiot mailman allowed it to get all wet. Nevertheless, I really do still have it somewhere. Also, like pretty much everything else I own, it is worth nothing.
Anyhoo, SI for Kids was full of cartoon pictures and silly anecdotes that had nothing to do with anything. It was sort of like what regular Sports Illustrated is today. (Oh, snap! No he didn’t!) Even as a child I was mildly insulted by its content. Whatever. Near the beginning of each issue was a page full of nine perforated sports cards that any kid could easily add to his or her collection, if they wanted to drammatically reduce the value of their collection by 20%. Of course, in vintage SI fashion – in which they attempt to jam irrelevant sports down our throats – most of these cards featured bass fisherwomen, log-cutting champions, Los Angeles Raiders, or, in this case, what SI describes as a “roller speed skater.”
You can’t possibly imagine the joy I felt in my heart when I found this beauty mixed amongst some awfully terrible 1990 Topps baseball cards. Of all the cards I had ripped out of that stupid magazine, only one Dante Muse has managed to stand the test of time. And speaking of time, the timing couldn’t be better, as the Olympics are right around the corner, and the U.S. of A. is attempting to regain its rightful place -- third place -- in the Roller Speed Skating events that have since been dominated by the Lithuanians.
Dante Muse himself was often referred to as “the Tom Henke of Roller Speed Skating.” Woe to the fool who accidentally stepped in front of this spandex-wearing, prescription glasses-boasting, regulation helmet-having burst of blazing speed. Muse earned the gold medal in the "Couples skate" event of the 1988 Olympics, where he and his then girlfriend Daisy Bickerford danced hand-in-hand to Patrick Swayze's "She's Like the Wind." Muse's career was thwarted by the introduction of roller blades, which he believed "were gay," a comment that earned him scorn from the SSAA (Speed Skating Association of America).
One of my favorite things about this card -- besides everything -- is the symbol in the top left hand corner, which signifies to the layman that what you are about to view is a roller speed skating card. This is enjoyable to me because it implies that SI for Kids had several other roller speed skating cards in their repertoire, as if Dante Muse wasn't enough. Also:
At top speed, Dante can go 20 miles per hour!
I know that's fast on roller skates. But still. That is stupid. And thanks for the math question while I'm trying to learn more about my roller speed skating heroes, SI:
At his top speed, how long would it take Dante to roller skate 10 miles?
Geez, I don't freakin' know. I did my homework already. False? Also, this is a trick question because roosters don't lay eggs.
Did you know?
Dante Muse officially retired on the day he son Vladimir rolled into the living room wearing these.
UPDATE: Loyal reader/friend/Yankee fan/central Jersey alum/water polo referee Bill has provided adequate proof that I am not a liar. (Notice the rain-soakedness!)