Just how tough is Pat?

By Dave Arthur

Revelations that Pat Rafter was once challenged to a few fisticuffs behind the cabana by serial tennis bad boy Jeff Tarango stirred the Rave this week.

No surprises with Tarango whose antics were surpassed only by his trouble and strife when she slapped an umpire around the chops when she thought her hubby was getting a raw deal!

But Rafter always struck me as the archetypal nice guy, true blue, fair dinkum, Australian of the year no less, right up there with Cathy, Thorpie and Dawnie in our sporting affection.

Add to that his quiet charitable achievements and it wouldn't have surprised had he made the semi's at last month's ATP Vatican Masters.

Alas it seems he had a latent dark side that only Andrew Denton could prise out of him.

Perhaps we dismissed a few clues as we universally cheered him to US Open glory, but then again I never realised that wearing black, Miami Vice designer stubble and a ridiculous pony tail were an indication of anything other than diabolical fashion sense!

And then there was his busted nose ? forgive me but that was a real Roman schnorker ? roamin' all over his face!

Whether it came from rumbling with Rios, scrapping with Sampras or brawling with his brothers we'll never know ? but bent it most certainly was.

I was under the impression that the old fashioned toe to toe, duke it out stoush was a distant memory (which given I possess the boxing ability of a fallen tree was a bit of a relief) and then out comes 'Pat the Pug' with his admission of fistic fury.

Well all except for the fact that, in the face of Rafter's invitation Tarango turned yellow and was a no show!

Cricketing heaven

TWO ninety-year-old men, Nev and Vic, have been friends all their lives.

It seems that Vic is dying, and so Nev comes to visit him every day.

"Vic," says Nev, "You know how we have both loved cricket all our lives, and how we played together for so many years. Vic, you have to do me one favour.

When you get to Heaven, and I know you will go to Heaven, somehow you've got to let me know if there's cricket up there."

Vic looks up at Nev from his death bed, and says, "Nev, you've been my best friend for many years and if it's at all possible, I'll do for you."

Shortly after that, Vic passes on. It is midnight a couple of nights later.

Nev is sound asleep when he is woken by a blinding flash of white light and a voice that calls out to him, "Nev....Nev....""Who is it?" says Nev sitting up suddenly. "Who is it?"

"Nev, it's me, Vic."

"Come on. You're not Vic. Vic just died."

"I'm telling you," insists the voice. "It's me, Vic!"

"I'm in heaven and I've got to tell you, I've got some really good news and some really bad news.

"So, tell me the good news first," says Nev.

"The good news is that there is cricket in heaven. Better yet, all our old buddies who've gone before us are there and we're all young men again. Even better it's always spring time and it never rains or snows. And best of all, we can play cricket all we want, and we never get tired!"

"Really?" says Nev, "That's fantastic, wonderful beyond my wildest dreams! But, what's the bad news?"You're opening the batting next Tuesday."

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