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The Woman who Never Was
Wednesday, January 16, 2013 • Posted January 18, 2013 • Updated January 24, 2013 10:04 AM

What’s next? What bizarre development will envelop our (once?) prized athletes like Bonds, Armstrong, Woods, and now this young onlinebacker from Notre Dame, Manti Te’o?

There are those who believe someone other than Shakespeare wrote, well, wrote Shakespeare.

I am proud to say, that in the last five years, other than myself, no one has ever claimed to write sports for The Llano News. Uh, proud? Why?

The good news in all this is the alleged online girlfriend of Te’o did not have leukemia—as we think he thought—and she didn’t die from it or anything else. I guess, if Manti fell for a sinister plot, that’s some consolation—but gosh darn, all those faked emails! Well, let’s confuse the issue more: if you loved someone—and they never existed—you’d be happy to learn they did not die. Right?

Wouldn’t it have been a great story—a Harlequin Romance to beat all—if the girl, or a girl, had been in on the hoax, and, along the way fell in love with Manti? Like in all those black and white movies I grew up watching on The Late Show where the bad guys’ gal starts liking the duped good guy. “You’re not falling for that college bloke, are you sister?” “Well, no,” she replied, as the crimson spread from one gorgeous eye to the other. “Whatever gave you that idea, Big Bob?”

Back to the present, maybe someone real could have flown out of cyberspace, and she could have been shown on TV in the stands in the football championship game like the girlfriend of Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron’s was. I know it would have been double trouble for Brent Musberger, but it couldn’t have hurt Te’o any. He had a lousy game. Hey, I’d rather be Brent than Manti right now.

You know what got buried—ooh, bad choice of words; well, no, since no one was. Did this non-relationship go on—not go on—for three years, and they never met? She, of course, never met anyone. But Manti is, I guess, telling us, “they” never could arrange for her to travel to South Bend for one lousy game and meet his friends? What a bummer. He had to take an iPad to the victory dances.

I never played football and didn’t date very much in high school or college, so an online relationship might have been the answer—if the internet weren’t 20-30 years from being born.

But a Notre Dame player wins more awards than Lincoln gets Oscar nominations, and he needed to go online? A handsome guy who played in the shadow of the Golden Dome couldn’t meet a woman face to face who “reluctantly” agreed to get coffee at the student center where there might be nine photos of Te’o in action??

“Oh, okay,” she replied, “but let’s make it fast. I’ve got an Egyptian History study group soon.”

What pickup line didn’t work? “I’m not from around here,” or, “Next year, I’ll have to work Sundays.”

Death follows the Fighting Irish. “The Gipper,” George Gipp, was plenty real and a great offensive back; he died of a throat infection at 25 in 1920. The legendary Knute Rockne died at age 43 in a 1931 plane crash. Now this.

My parting advice for Manti. If you are proven guilty, don’t apologize. These days, Americans are not big on apologies.

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