He Celebrated With Conner, but Stadler Tossed Him Around

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Today’s column is written by Terry C. Towel, who cost golfer Craig Stadler $37,333.33 Saturday ... but inspired a Socker victory Sunday night.

It’s not easy being a Towel. It’s not too interesting and not too glamorous.

Basically, a Towel is like a quarterback who gets into nothing but 46-10 games or a relief pitcher who pitches the ninth inning of 10-0 games or a basketball player who plays in the first quarter if his team is ahead (or behind) 40-4.

I’m talking mop-up roles.

I’ve been at this business for a while now. I don’t have many tales that aren’t horror stories.


Another assignment sent me to Las Vegas, which didn’t seem at all bad, except this basketball coach spent a whole evening chewing on me. I hoped he had had his rabies shots.

Towels just don’t get plum assignments.

I was sent to the Super Bowl this year. Folks paid a fortune to get there, and here I was in on a pass on the New York Giant bench. What happens? I end up wiping juice off some guy.

A Towel does have a semi-majestic moment if he is assigned to championship boxing matches. He comes into the ring wrapped around this warrior’s neck, usually tucked neatly into a gold-braided robe.

Unfortunately, the moment does not last. A Towel ends up covered with blood, sweat and, sometimes, tears before one of these boxing matches is very far along. They used me once to wipe off a mouthpiece, of all things.

With these tales of woe, you can understand why I was a little apprehensive about being assigned to Craig Stadler for the third round of the Shearson Lehman Brothers Andy Williams Open at Torrey Pines Saturday.

It seemed as if it might be pleasant duty. I might be subjected to a little grass stain, but it seemed harmless on the whole. I had heard that Stadler has been known to throw a club or two, but he had no reputation for chewing on Towels.


Things were going quite nicely until the 14th hole, when my man Stadler hit a ball under a low-hanging tree off the fairway. This was not exactly Position A. He had no swing, unless . . .

Ah, he realized, he could kneel next to the tree and get at least a reasonable swipe at the ball. This would normally have been accomplished without inconvenience, except the ground was damp and covered with pine sap. He likely would have ruined his pants.

Enter me.

Stadler spread me under the tree, and took his stance in the kneeling position. He hacked at the ball, and chopped it into play.

It disturbed me that he tossed me aside with so little respect after my chore was done, but Towels are not destined to go through life being treated with kindness and respect.

That was the highlight of my Saturday, such as it was.

Lo and behold, I am watching television Sunday and there was a replay of Stadler’s shot from under the tree. There I was, sacrificing my neatness for the sake of his pants. And there I was, being tossed unceremoniously away.

You all know by now that Stadler was disqualified from the tournament for using me. He did not know he could not use a Towel to “build his stance” without declaring a two-stroke penalty on himself. I didn’t know either, not that it would have made any difference. Who would have thought to ask me ?

It bothered me that using me had cost Stadler $37,333.33, his share of second place, but Towels don’t get a chance at such notoriety very often. My job was to keep his knees clean, and I did that.


I had to go back to work Sunday night. I was assigned to the Sockers’ game with the New York Express in the Sports Arena.

Generally, I don’t relish such duty. If you get stuck in the locker room, you’re talking steam and sweat and grime . . . and usually ending up on the floor.

What a comedown, I thought, after my moment on national television.

I was rather gloomy at halftime, because I was still just part of the stack in the locker room. Nothing good could possibly come from such an occasion.

What happened, however, is that this fellow Dennis Conner came in. I recognized this character right away from some forgettable occasions when I was used to swab decks at the San Diego Yacht Club.

Anyway, Conner comes in with this pep talk. I don’t remember the specifics, but I think he said something about New York taking some Cup back to Manhattan if the Sockers did not come from behind and win.

When it was time for the second half to start, Conner grabbed me and headed out onto the field. The ovation was thunderous, the crowd obviously having seen me on television during the golf tournament.


It was a marvelous evening. Every time Conner waved me, the crowd cheered. Thus inspired, the Sockers won, 6-2.

What a moment.

It disturbed me later to learn that the Sockers could be fined $5,000 because Conner had carried me onto the bench. I was starting to become a rather expensive Terry Cloth. However, I swelled with pride when it was ruled that the Sockers would not be fined because celebrities such as me were good for the game.

Naturally, my glory did not last. Towels just don’t have perfect days. One of those clowns used me to dry his shoulders . . . and then dumped me into a rather distasteful basket of dripping debris.

How soon they forget.