Put me in, coach: I aced the Wonderlic

April 22, 2006|By GREGORY KANE

To: Ozzie Newsome, general manager of the Baltimore Ravens, and Brian Billick, head coach

From: G. Kane, your future dream quarterback

This memo is to inform you guys that I just got a perfect score on a sample Wonderlic test. You know what that means.

Suit me up, boys. Suit me up.

Vince Young, quarterback for the University of Texas Longhorns football team who ran over, around and under the University of Southern California Trojans while leading his team to a national championship, reportedly only scored a 6 out of a possible 50 the first time he took the Wonderlic, a mental agility test given to NFL recruits. We wacky guys and gals in the news media couldn't get enough of this news when it was first reported. He took it again, and reportedly scored 15, still low for a quarterback.

There were Vince Young/Wonderlic jokes in abundance. Some wags speculated that Young's value in next Saturday's draft might drop as a result of his score on the Wonderlic. And here dopey me has been going around thinking that athletic ability, not Wonderlic scores, made for great National Football League players.

Well, I stand corrected. On the basis of my - ahem! - perfect score on the sample Wonderlic test, I say: Suit me up, guys.

But before you do, allow me to offer my athletic resume.

I entered City College as a sophomore in the fall of 1966. I soon distinguished myself as a student of uncommon athletic disability.

I tried out for the football team. As a waterboy.

Got cut.

I tried out for the basketball squad for a position that can best be described as court jester.

Got cut.

Then I found a home on the wrestling team. I had no strength. I had no speed. I was bereft of agility, balance or any of the other things that make for even an adequate wrestler, much less a good one. But I was ample whompin' fodder for wrestlers who did possess all those things.

Had I known then what I know now - that a Wonderlic test was going to be used in the field of athletics - I'd have just told the coach to put me on the team based on my getting an A in geometry. I can imagine his response.

"Son, I need guys who can run an arm bar into a half-nelson and get a pin. Can you do that for me? Because until there's a wrestling hold called `hypotenuse,' you can't help me, kid."

Heck, what did he know? He was a wrestling coach.

Anyway, back to my resume. While on the wrestling team, I - with abject terror that pierced my very soul - led the City College Black Knights into a scrimmage against Gilman. We racked up 25 points and held the Greyhounds to a paltry 106. I spent most of my six-minute match flailing helplessly under some geeky kid who looked like a Quaker.

I stumbled along with similar ineptness the rest of the season, losing most matches, winning a couple but not quite knowing what I did to win. That latter dubious attribute was most manifest when I wrestled Dickie Hall from Edmondson.

Hall is a real athlete. He not only wrestled for Edmondson. He played lacrosse. Hall went on to play lacrosse in college at what is now called Morgan State University. He's featured prominently in the Chip Silverman and Miles Harrison book Ten Bears, about the Morgan lacrosse teams of the early 1970s. (The book will become a movie, if there's any justice in this world.)

Hall began our match by tossing me from one side of the mat into the wrestling room wall. Then he did it again. And a third time. I think.

I say "I think" because somehow I managed to score some points in this match. At one point the referee, one of Edmondson's varsity wrestlers, told Hall I was leading.

"Leading?" I said to myself. "How?"

Our match ended in a 5-5 draw. To this day, I have no idea how I scored my points. I'm hoping Dickie Hall does.

All that happened during my junior varsity season. I spent my junior year on the varsity squad, where several fine wrestlers had to sit out all or part of the season because of poor grades. I'll bet they couldn't pass a Wonderlic test either.

Apparently, neither can most of Young's Longhorn teammates. An article in the Los Angeles Times last year listed the average Wonderlic scores of 39 college football teams. Ohio State, Texas A&M and USC all scored higher than Texas, which whomped them all in 2005. This would seem to indicate that things like - oh, I don't know - speed and agility better serve athletes than test skills.

But that can't be true, not with the fuss made about Young's Wonderlic test score. So you folks must be looking for guys who are good at the Wonderlic test. I'm here to tell you I'm your huckleberry.

Suit me up, guys. Suit me up.


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