Arnold Davidov, a Maryland basketball season ticket holder who knows something about pain (he's a druggist), can hardly believe the courage the Terps' Walt Williams showed in trying to play last Saturday against Duke despite a broken bone in his leg.
"What a gutsy kid," said the doctor, who was sitting near me at the game. "He wanted so much to play. In spite of the pain, he was jumping and going for rebounds. It was pitiful watching him limp around in agony."
The pity is what the loss of Williams will mean to the team. In the 10 games this year and last when he has fouled out -- or had to leave early because of injury -- Maryland's record is 2-8. The Terps will need a miracle tomorrow night when No. 14 Virginia comes to Cole.
What's more, you have to wonder how this injury will affect Williams' career. If he's out a month, the team will have six games left when he comes back -- and he won't be at full strength. There will be no ACC tournament or NCAA playoffs for Williams and Maryland. Some say Walt, a junior, came back this year intending to play one season and go into the NBA. What now?
* Why are people questioning the Patriots' hiring of an old man of 60, Dick MacPherson, as their head coach? Miami's Don Shula is 61. Nobody seems to complain about his coaching.
If I know Shula, who broke in as a head coach here, he can't wait to get a shot at Jimmy Johnson and his Dallas Cowboys. Not only has Johnson just stolen Shula's offensive coordinator, Gary Stevens, but to create the opening for Stevens, Johnson also demoted Shula's son, David, to quarterbacks and receivers coach. Don Shula is as proud as they come. He won't take this lightly.
* The highlight of the 38th Tops in Sports banquet to me was the spontaneous chant when Cal Ripken was introduced: "Gold Glove! Gold Glove!" Besides making Cal feel good, the cheer was therapeutic for the crowd. If ever a player was robbed of an award it was Ripken in not getting the Gold Glove after a record-setting year. Instead, Chicago's Ozzie Guillen won it. At least no one can blame the sportswriters for this one. The managers and coaches are the ones who snubbed Cal.
* Cleta Corrigan, one of the great sports mothers ever, was buried here yesterday. Her sons -- Jimmy, Gene, George and Dick -- were star lacrosse players and, later, coaches and athletic administrators. Gene is commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference. A daughter, Mary D'Ambrogi, coached a boys lacrosse team that produced several eventual All-Americans. Yet with her children involved in sports all over the East and at one point in the Midwest (when Gene was athletic director at Notre Dame), Cleta was on top of everything. "She had a good run," said son George, who was a lacrosse All-America at Maryland in the '50s. Cleta Corrigan was 87.
* Everyone knows that the presidency can age a man. So can coaching, especially in the pressure cooker that is college basketball today. On each of the last two Saturdays ex-coaches Terry Holland and Bill Foster were back at Cole Field House to do TV commentary on Maryland games with Clemson and Duke, respectively. Both look five years younger than they did when they were coaching.
* For seven years, the whole time they've been in the pros, I've wondered how I could have been so wrong about two quarterbacks who opposed each other in a game at College Park in 1983. I was convinced then that West Virginia's Jeff Hostetler would become a better pro than Maryland's Boomer Esiason. Reason: Boomer was too erratic and unpredictable, and Jeff was more settled. But Boomer became a great pro and Hostetler sat behind Phil Simms. After Sunday, when Hostetler passed and ran the Giants to a 31-3 playoff rout of the Bears, I feel a little better about my judgment. P.S. -- Hostetler's West Virginia team beat Maryland that night, 31-21.