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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.


Rubbadonga 9 years, 6 months ago

Uhh as a frequent visitor of the local watering holes and having a few drinks with Reesing myself, there's absolutely no question that Phelps would get more attention. Reesing doesn't even receive all that much attention.. most of it coming from guys wanting to take their picture with them.KU football is still not that big of a deal to students other than having a reason to get wasted on a Saturday.

kujayhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

"KU football is still not that big of a deal to students other than having a reason to get wasted on a Saturday."But Olympic swimming is a huge deal to the students, right? The Olympics are unique because they make a bunch of sports that people don't care about important for about two weeks every four years.

umpinaslump 9 years, 6 months ago

It's all a matter of timing. However Madison Avenue is keeping the Phelps legacy alive. He is supposed to make about $5 million annually in endorsements. So from a money security standpoint Phelps would be the main squeeze. He has already chosen 2-3 numerous products for which he will be spokesman in commercials. Not only will the commercials keep him int the public eye but also some network has contracted to televise the next 4 years of swimming world championships. This is not to say that I think Phelps is the best athlete. The American capitaliastic system is based on competition. It's just not there in swimming. Much to the chagrin of football players like Reesing, if you can play baseball you will! Basically every American kid has played ball. T-ball, little league etc. Whereas swimming has always been an eliist sport. A very small percentage of American children ever swimm competitively. Facilities are just not nearly as available. Compare the number of swimming pools to the number of ball diamonds. Accessible eaven more to these kids is their backyards or on neighborhood streets. ornieghborrhood parks. Cream always rises. Approximately .005 percent of baseball players make it to the pros. HOwever a much higher percentage of team swimmers actually make it to the Olympics. I will say this at least, Phelps hasn't been taking steroids as evidenced by the stringent Olympic testing. Another reason that the attractive females might choose the Phepls over the Reesing. After all, the anabolic steroid does decrease the size of male testes.

davidsmom 9 years, 6 months ago

I can't believe Reesing doesn't get that much attention. In the looks department, Phelps doesn't hold a candle to Reesing. In fact, Reesing is 100% the sole reason I became interested in football last year for the first time in my life...and that's a really long time, since I have children older than him. I'm learning and just having a lot of fun watching now. As for the comments about the state of Texas, watch it, Dugan! My husband is a native Texan, I have spent a lot of time in that state including living there for 15 months, and I have nothing negative to say about it. Texas is too huge to drive through it once and think you know enough to form an opinion. Reesing hands down.

wildcat86 9 years, 6 months ago

I'm going to have to go with Phelps on this one for obvious reasons.....Go Cats!

dpfeuffer 9 years, 5 months ago

6'4'' with 5 million with an overbite or 5'8'' with a brain that will make 5 million

woxy 9 years, 5 months ago

I'd ignore them both for Ryan Lochte or Kerry Meier.

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