A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from June 18, 2012
“Rowing is the only sport you can win sitting on your butt going backwards”

"Rowing is the only sport you can win sitting on your butt going backwards” is a jocular saying about rowing; one can also “win by going backwards” in backstroke swimming and tug-of-war. Feg Murray (1894-1973) wrote in 1926 that “the reason more men don’t go out for crew is that the human being was never intended to get his exercise sitting down and going backwards.” Herman Hickman (1911-1958), the Yale football coach, said in 1948, “Besides, rowing is the only sport I know where the boys can sit on their back porches and win going backwards!”

South Carolina’s Hartwell Dam (opened in in 1962) created a lake near Clemson University and someone suggested that the school should field a rowing team. Athletic director Frank Howard opposed the idea and is supposed to have said, “Clemson will never subsidize a sport where a man sits on his rump and goes backward.”

[This entry was prepared with the assistance of the Quote Investigator.]


Wikipedia: Herman Hickman
Herman M. Hickman (October 1, 1911 - April 25, 1958) was a Hall of Fame college football player for the University of Tennessee and later a head football coach for Yale University. He played pro football for the NFL’s Brooklyn Dodgers. He later was a TV and radio analyst and broadcaster, a writer and a professional wrestler.
(...)
Coaching career
Hickman was an assistant at Wake Forest, North Carolina State and West Point before earning the head coaching position at Yale in 1948. He led the Bulldogs to a 16-17-2 record before resigning in 1951.

Other activities
Hickman had a reputation as a great dinner speaker. He also participated in television broadcasts of football and radio and television panel shows.

Hickman was a writer, who came to be known as “Poet Laureate of the Little Smokies.” He was also a staff writer for Sports Illustrated.

7 May 1926, Springfield (MA) Daily Republican, “So I Took the $50,000” by Feg Murray, pg. 10, col. 5:
Feg Murray says—As my old pal Sandy Hamilton said, the reason more men don’t go out for crew is that the human being was never intended to get his exercise sitting down and going backwards.

25 May 1935, Lowell (MA) Sun, “Sport Shots” by Cecil P. Dodge, pg. 15, col. 7:
Did you ever stop to think that the one sport which can be won going backwards is the rowing race.

Google News Archive
7 December 1948, Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette, “Sidelights on Sports” by Al Abrams, pg. 16, col. 1:
“Besides, rowing is the only sport I know where the boys can sit on their back porches and win going backwards!”
(Herman Hickman, Yale football coach—ed.)

5 June 1949, Nevada State Journal (Reno, NV), “In the Huddle” with Deke Houlgate, pg. 13, col. 1:
HERRMAN HICKMAN, Yale’s 300 pound coach, rapidly is acquiring a reputation as football’s funniest philosopher.
(...)
Other Hickmanisms: “Football at Yale is slave labor that supports other sports...” and “crew is the only sport where you sit on your pants and win going backwards.”

29 September 1964, Humboldt Standard (Eureka, CA), “Sideline Slants” by Don Terbush, pg. 17, col. 1:
BACK ROAD TO SUCCESS...After observing his first rowing race, the football coach remarked: “That’s for me. It’s the only sport I ever saw where you could sit on your fanny and win going backward.”

26 May 1966, San Diego (CA) Union, Jack Murphy column (sports editor), pg. B9, col. 1:
Rowing is the only sport where a man can sit on the back of his stomach, go backward, and win a medal.

24 August 1967, Amarillo (TX) Globe-Times, pg. 16, col. 1:
There are three sports where the winners cross the finish lines going backwards. They are rowing, backstroke swimming and tug of war.

Google News Archive
14 October 1967, Miami (FL) News, “John Wayne Kicks Gator Extra Points” by John Crittenden, pg. 1B, col. 1:
Questioned about the possibility of athletic department aid for a rowing team at Clemson, Frank Howard declared himself opposed.

Said Howard: “Clemson will never subsidize a sport where a man sits on his rump and goes backward.”

Google News Archive
11 December 1969, The News and Courier (Charleston, SC), “...Tiger Coach,” pg. 3D:
When the Hartwell power dam project backed up a 60,000-acre lake right in Clemson’s back yard, someone suggested a rowing team.

“Look, fella,” the Baron of Barlow Bend bellowed, “I ain’t in favor of no sport where you sit down to play and have to go backwards to win.”
(Clemson athletic director Frank Howard—ed.)

1 April 1977, San Diego (CA) Union, Jack Murphy column (sports editor), pg. C1, col. 1:
I believe it was Jimmy Cannon who jeered that rowing is the only sport where a man can sit on his fanny, go backward, and win a medal.

15 April 1979, Sunday Republican (Springfield, MA) “The Flairless Sport: Rowers concentrate on conditioning” by Mike Bogen, pg. C9, col. 1:
“Nothing can be a sport where you sit on your butt and go backward.”—Former Clemson athletic director Frank Howard.

The sport drawing the not-so-flattering comment is rowing. The occasion was the response to a request for funds to start a crew team at Clemson.

GoErie.com
College Connection: Bethany Brun, Mercyhurst College
Posted by Matt Martin on October 10, 2008 12:15 PM
Mercyhurst College sophomore rower Bethany Brun blogs occasionally as part of the College Connection project. Her fifth entry:

“Rowing is the only sport you can win sitting on your rear end going backwards.”
“Rowers do more before 8:00 am than most people do all day.”
“Rowing is the only sport that originated as a form of capital punishment.”

IhAv.NET
what are some funny and appropriate rowing sayings for a shirt?
Guest
08-30-2010, 03:29 PM
rowing-the only sport you can win sitting on your butt going backwards

Lucie on 365 Project
26th May 2012
Day 146 - “rowing-the only sport you can win sitting on your butt going backwards”
Spent the day at Fladbury Regatta helping on the BBQ. I say helping, i mean eating hot dogs and burgers and sunbathing! 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • (1) Comments • Monday, June 18, 2012 • Permalink


what are some funny and appropriate rowing sayings for a shirt?

Posted by Funny SMS  on  09/24  at  03:08 AM

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