Smaaly stays on track in Nagano
Defenseman Rob “Smaaly” Smaal demonstrated his “only women and girly-boys use the brake” approach to bobsledding, while attempting to set a new land-speed record in Nagano. Amazingly, Smaaly managed to stay on the 4-wheeled cart and keep it upright for the entire run down the aluminum trough, although his cap, legs, and arms were all seen flying in different directions. A hush came over the spectators as Smaaly banked around the final suicide bend on only two wheels. This was the same banked turn that flipped Eddie Takaya last year, for a spectacular crash and burn ending to his run down the course.
The team’s athletic talents were further challenged in Nagano, as the boys proceeded down the hill to play miniature golf. The natural grass course, picturesquely nestled amongst beautiful wooded hills, offered true tranquility. Well, …tranquil until about a dozen Canadian boys from Tokyo showed up. Smaaly offered a challenge to teammate, and roommate, Mark “Diddler” Didcott, and quickly “The Odd Couple” entered into their world of trash-talk, name-calling, and one-upmanship, much to the entertainment of the rest of the team. No one is really too sure as to what the numerous elderly Japanese couples, in their bonnets and plaid-panted golf attire, thought about the verbal display.
The boys ignored the local course rules with regard to going out-of-bounds, and proceeded to attempt to launch the ball across just about every potential short-cut imaginable.
The turning point in the round was on the tricky par-4 third hole, with an extremely difficult pin placement at the crest of a hill. It is still being debated today as to whether Smaaly ran his ball up, and then back down, the hill 2-times or 3-times, before finally sinking a putt. With several hundred yen on the line, Smaaly somehow managed to negotiate a score of 6 for the hole, however the debate still goes on.