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Michael Phelps vs. Todd Reesing
The other day, I got into a big-time water-cooler sports debate with colleague Eric Sorrentino. It was one of those grind-it-out, no-surrender arguments that gets everybody worked up.
Let me say, first of all, that these kinds of arguments are about as common in a sports department as fart jokes and references to 'The Office'. The way it usually happens is, you're leaning back in your desk chair on a Monday afternoon, tossing a Nerf football to yourself while waiting for someone to call you back (which, let's be honest, they probably won't), and your co-worker, who is battling a severe case of writer's block or procrastination, comes over to chat. So you start talking about your weekend or your fantasy football team, until the conversation eventually and invariably turns to some ridiculous and asinine sports debate question, and, before you really know what's happened, you're taking a stance, and he is taking the opposite stance, and then you're sitting there in your chair, arguing that of course you, your sister and your 8-year-old next-door neighbor could beat Brandon Rush three-on-one if given a five-point lead going to 11 - even though you know in your heart that it's probably not true. But it's too late to turn back now and so you start to rationalize your argument in any way possible ("Dude, you just don't get it, bro! I'd draw Brandon over to the corner. He'd have to respect my 'J', because everyone knows I'm cash from the corner. Then I'd give him a little pump-fake, he'd leave his feet, and I'd dish off to my sis for an easy two! You don't even know, bro!").
Anyway, on this particular day, the question was: Which state produces better high school football players - Texas or Florida?
Having lived and worked in Florida for a year and a half, however, and having once driven through the state of Texas, I know that comparing Texas to Florida is like comparing something really lame and horrible to something really awesome and not horrible. It's always been my belief that, besides cowboy hats and Tex-Mex, the state of Texas doesn't really contribute much to American society.
A better question, I thought, was this: If Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing and Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps both went out in downtown Lawrence on a Saturday night, to enjoy a couple drinks and bask in the glory of their athletic prowess, who would receive more female attention?
At first glance, it does not seem like a very difficult question. Michael Phelps just won eight gold medals. He broke (or helped break) seven world records. He's pictured - topless - on the cover of this week's issue of Sports Illustrated. But Michael Phelps is also a swimmer, meaning that, for three years and 10 months of every four-year period, he is completely irrelevant to the majority of the world's population.
Also, this is Lawrence, Kansas. And if there's one place on earth that being Todd Reesing holds a significant amount of weight, it's here.
We debated this question for some time. We sought outside help. We added wrinkles to see if that would provide some clarity (while out on the town, each athlete is wearing his respective uniform). We couldn't really decide on an answer.
And so it was decided that this would be the first edition of "Answer the Question, Dummy", a new bi-weekly "Dugan' A., Man" feature aimed at examining really serious issues in today's sports world. It's kind of like a poll, except you don't just vote; you have to rationalize your response. And it's a contest. Whoever makes the best argument by the end of the week is deemed the winner of the contest.
As is the case with any good contest, winners will have their pick from an excellent assortment of prizes, including a granola bar, one week of free and unlimited access to KUSports.com, an expired coupon for a free McChicken sandwich, a 2005 Kansas football magnet schedule, clearance to become my friend on Facebook (on a limited-profile basis, of course) or a donut.
Now, there are some things you need to know before answering this week's question.
In this particular scenario, both Reesing and Phelps are at 'The Hawk'. They are dressed identically, wearing T-shirts and jeans, meaning that face recognition will play a key role. Both are traveling in small groups (3-4 people), and this supposed outing takes place on the night of this Saturday's Kansas-Florida International game - meaning Reesing's (projected) thrashing of the Golden Panthers is still fresh in the minds of fans. But so, too, are Phelps' eight gold medals.
Other variables to weigh before making a decision: looks, personality, wealth, world-wide fame, local fame, straightness of teeth, popularity of each athlete's respective sport, number of Olympic gold medals in each athlete's closet, sense of humor, knowledge of local terrain, height, quality of potential pick-up lines ("Hey, did you see the game on Saturday?" vs. "Hey, did you see me win eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics this summer - a feat that's never before been accomplished in the history of mankind?") and who can hold their breath under water the longest.
With all of that in mind, it's up to you guys to make the call. Get after it.