For the Titanic, um, platform of our paper I wrote a column about Clint Billings and the decline of high school wrestling here. He was an unbelievably impressive kid when I talked to him years ago, as he was trying to keep wrestling alive in DC schools.

And he’s an impressive grownup now, after four years of college wrestling, as he’s about to ship out as a U.S. Navy officer.

I’ve always heard there’s no sport anywhere near as tough. I never wrestled. I just know I never met a wrestler who was a pussy.

Can I say that?


Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson and Reese Witherspoon aren’t the only ones filming in DC this week.

A politcal drama called “Under the Beltway,” which has nothing to do with Gene Weingarten, is also being shot. I saw the lead actors, Tate Donovan ( (“The O.C.” and “Damages” and a million other things) and Kip Pardue, sitting outside Ray’s the Steaks last night in Arlington.

I only know Pardue as Ronnie “Sunshine” Bass, the star QB in “Remember the Titans.” He seemed nice. I didn’t have the guts to ruin his night with my standard rant about the complete bogusness of the movie, which despite being a fab football flick has nothing to do with what really took place in 1971 at T.C. Williams, located only  several minutes away from the restaurant.

Sure, that T.C. team was one of the best schoolboy squads this area has ever seen. But, damn, is that film full of crap. Don’t get me started!

They said they loved the burgers, btw.


Sticking with the sports/entertainment realm: I got a PR notice yesterday that pop hypnotist Flip Orley would be coming to town. I don’t “get” hypnotism, but I always wondered why, if it worked anywhere, it wasn’t ubiquitous in sports, where so many tasks come down to focus and concentration — shooting free throws and putting being the obvious examples.

So, what with the U.S. Open teeing off today, I got Orley, who lives in Lafayette, La., on the phone and asked him why every pro athlete doesn’t have a hypnotist.

“I think it’s because there’s baggage” associated with hypnotism, says Orley. “Athletes don’t want to get involved in it.”

But if a guy can make a roomful of adults quack like ducks, could he also make, say, DeShawn “53 % From the Line” Stevenson hit a foul shot?

“I sure think [hypnotism] could help,” he says. “Anything where you’ve spent so many years perfecting your technique and your routine, it’s going to come down to a mental situation. And that’s where hypnotism absolutely should help.”

Orley says he was once hired to help a group of NBA players with free throw shooting, but they backed out before the hypnotism session took place. So he hasn’t yet been able to test his methods.

The closest brush with the big time sports world came when he worked with a high stakes poker player who thought he’d lost the power to concentrate.

“He made the final table at four poker tournaments the next year,” Orley says. “So I took that as at least what I did didn’t hurt.”

So, Flip Saunders, why not call Flip Orley? It can’t hurt!

(Orley appears at the Improv from July15-July 19.)


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