Sports and Beards

Nov 112003
Authors: John Teten

Ah November, a time of year that promotes fantasies of stuffed

turkeys and gravy-smothered mashed potatoes. And as the cool autumn

air makes class tougher to attend, I propose a solution-beards.

Yes, this month I am participating in “No Shave November,” a

fast from razors. My beard, also known as eight soft hairs above my

lip and under my chin, is in full force and it got me thinking,

“Why is the beard so underrated?” Slowly beards have fallen from

the graces of public attention. Once, everyone from Jesus to Jim

Morrison had one.

Today, this age-old display of facial testosterone is far too

underrepresented in our society.

Businessmen now think twice before allowing their five o’clock

shadow to develop into a 72-hour grizzly bear. This dilemma is no

more evident than in our world of athletic competition. The

athletes are few but brave who have displayed the Honest Abe,

which, again, got me thinking, “Who has the best beard in


For starters, oft-injured St. Louis Ram Kurt Warner, with his

gridiron sandpaper face has won two MVP awards. There must be magic

in the hair. Fellow pigskin immortal Brett Favre has also adorned

the scruff and faired well, winning three consecutive MVPs from

1995 to 1997.

Another example of football facial hair is the great Franco

Harris. Franco had hair curling around his chinstrap for years.

Obviously, this worked. Harris ran for over 12,000 yards for the

Pittsburgh Stealers and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of


Basketball is nearly devoid of the wondrous chin slinky.

Zen-master Phil Jackson displayed his gray wizard through seven NBA

titles, coaching the Lakers and Bulls.

“Phil Jackson has the best beard in sports,” said Matt Brunk, a

sophomore philosophy major. “It’s stylish yet masculine. Who

wouldn’t love him?”

Vlade Divac tries, but the best hardwood Chia Pet goes to Walt

Frazier and his afro-like chops. He won two NBA championships with

the New York Knicks and was a seven-time All-Star — not bad for

being weighed down by his hair.

The award for best Amish impersonator in other sports is Craig

Stadler in golf. The walrus always has some fluff on his face.

Baseball, tough, but my vote goes to Mike Piazza. He goes the

creative route and has had some interesting designs shaved into


And finally, the ZZ Top champion is hockey’s “playoff beard.”

Nowhere else can you find so much testosterone in so little space.

Forsberg, deVries, Giguere. You name it and most any man on skates

during crunch time is bearing the chin mullet.

All in all, the beard remains an underappreciated piece of world

history. Used to be that anyone who was anyone grew it long and


More people need the attitude of Danny Doerkson, a junior speech

communication major.

“If I were in sports, I would have a beard,” he said. “It would

set me apart.”

I agree, Danny. Rock on, bearded wonders. Rock on.




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