The "Old Quarterback" Sails One

All right, I planned to put up the next installment in the Mitch Ceasar series today and still might do it, but in the meantime, and in honor of the baseball playoffs, and as a comment cleaner, here's something that maybe three or four of you haven't yet seen.

   

Crist's blown pitch set a sickly tone for Game Two of the Texas-Tampa Bay series. Can't put the loss on him, though. The Rays really just weren't very good in that one.

There have been a lot of jokes -- the Washington Post weighed in with several lame ones, and the Juice called it a "giant metaphor of his campaign" -- but what hasn't been mentioned is that Crist often refers to himself as an "old quarterback," and it's true. He played quarterback at St. Petersburg High School in the early '70s and blew out his knee in his junior year. His father, who was the team doctor and a School Board member, recalled in one published report that Crist could "pass a mile." The Tampa Tribune once said he was an "all-city quarterback," the only reference to that achievement, which makes it dubious in my eyes.

Though he had almost no chance to get any playing time, Crist loved football so much he tried out for Wake Forest. He was put on the practice squad, where he would mimic the next opponent's QB. "I got pounded," Crist told a newspaper in 2006. "But if you're part of a team, you do

whatever you can to win."

Crist wound up leaving Wake Forest and going to Florida State University, where he apparently decided not to go out for the team. Then he had a brief and doomed marriage and attended the Cumberland School of Law in Alabama. If he had a hard time passing the football, it was nothing compared to the Florida Bar. Crist, a B- student, took three tries at the Florida Bar test before finally passing it.

Here's the weirdest part of the whole story: One Tampa Trib story claimed that Crist weighed 215 pounds in high school. Understand this is a guy who barely eats -- his lone meal each day is dinner -- and swims and does sit-ups religiously today. His weight today is about 165 pounds on his six-foot frame.

Crist enjoys the company of jocks and has a penchant for sports analogies in his political rhetoric. Little-known fact: He was good buddies with UF All-American linebacker Scot Brantley, the uncle of current Florida quarterback John Brantley.

But here's the thing about that pitch: Crist gave it a college try. Most politicians get up there and just baby it over the plate. Charlie was going for a fastball. He wanted to impress people with his arm, live up to his own talk around the state about being an old jock. You can tell by his reaction, he's truly upset, smacking his glove with his other hand.

Yeah, he sailed the pitch. But you got to give him an A for effort.


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