The Scholar Athlete
In the most recent MLBlogosphere Latest Leaders, one particular blog jumped out at me. Ross Ohlendorf of the Pittsburgh Pirates is writing a blog based on his experience working at the US Department of Agriculture during the offseason. This started me thinking about which athletes are the most intelligent, at least in the traditional, intellectual sense.
For instance, Ohlendorf went to Princeton and is now doing research with the USDA but when you offset his intelligence with that of Rickey Henderson, well, at best they cancel each other out. Offensive linemen in football, and especially centers, are noted for their intelligence despite the head knocking they do all day long. As for basketball and hockey, I really have no clue and I won’t even hazard a guess.
However, based on zero scientific proof and nothing more than my incredibly suspect intuition, I’m going to say golfers are probably the smartest. Despite Tiger’s recent personal flameout and John Daly’s entire career, golfers are smart enough to play a sport that doesn’t involve getting hit on a regular basis. They walk a lot and exercise like that is good for the mind and body. If that wasn’t enough, they can also continue playing well into their later years, bouncing from circuit to circuit as need be. That seems pretty intelligent to me.
But I also have to say that bowlers might be on to something. I mean, practice involves hitting the lanes and rolling some balls. And everyone knows you can’t go bowling without at least a pitcher or two of whatever happens to be on tap. All I know is that pretty much anything beats the heck out of driving in circles for hours and never knowing when some guy might ram you at 225 miles per hour. Or, for that matter, working at the USDA.