May 13, 2009


Ahhh, the Good Doctor. Always ready to increase the levels of insanity and chaos to 11. The last time we caught up with HST, he was in Houston to cover the Super Bowl and was giving a local Houston psychic reader, Mother Roberts, the "bizness." She was not amused.

It was not until Monday afternoon that I actually spoke with Mother Roberts on the telephone, but the idea of going over to Galveston and dealing with the whole Super Scene story from some rotten motel on the edge of the seawall had been wandering around in my head almost from the first hour after I checked into my coveted press-room at The Hyatt Regency.
And in dull retrospect now, I wish I had done that. Almost anything would have been better than that useless week I spent in Houston waiting for the Big Game. The only place in town where I felt at home was a sort of sporadically violent strip joint called the Blue Fox, far out in the country on South Main ( Houston in those days did not extend to the far reaches of Harris county as it does now - -FUPPETS- ) Nobody I talked to in Houston had ever heard of it and the only two sportswriters who went out there with me got involved in a wild riot that ended up with all of us getting maced by undercover vice-squad cops who just happened to be in the middle of the action when it erupted.
Ah . . . but that is another story, and we don't have time for it here. Maybe next time. There are two untold sagas that will not fit into this story: One has to do with Big Al's Cactus Room in Oakland, and the other concerns the Blue Fox in Houston.
There is also -- at least in the minds of at least two dozen gullible sportswriters at the Super Bowl -- The ugly story of how I spent three or four days prior to Super Week shooting smack in a $7 a night motel room on the seawall in Galveston.
I remember telling that story one night in the press lounge at the Hyatt Regency, just babbling it off the top of my head out of sheer boredom . . . Then I forgot about it completely until one of the local sportswriters approached me a day or so later and said: "Say man, I hear you spent some time in Galveston last week."
"Yeah," he said. "I hear you locked yourself in a motel over there and shot heroin for three days."
I looked around to see who was listening, then grinned kind of stupidly and said, "Shucks, there wasn't much else to do, you know -- so why not get loaded in Galveston?"
He shrugged uncontrollably and looked down at his Old Crow and water. I glanced at my watch and turned to leave. "Time to hit it," I said with a smile. "See you later, when I'm feeling back on my rails."
He nodded glumly as I moved away in the crowd . . . and although I saw him three or four times a day for the rest of that week, he never spoke to me again.
Most sportswriters are so blank on the subject of drugs that you can only talk to them about it at your own risk -- which is easy enough, for me, because I get a boot out of seeing their eyes bulge: but it can be disastrous to a professional football player who makes the casual mistake of assuming that a sportswriter knows what he is talking about when he uses a word like "crank." Any professional athlete who talks to a sportswriter about "drugs" -- even with the best and most constructive intentions -- is taking a very heavy risk. There is a definite element of hysteria about drugs of any kind in pro football today, and a casual remark -- even a meaningless remark -- across the table in a friendly hometown bar can lead, very quickly, to a seat in the witness chair in front of a congressional committee.

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