Thursday, September 10, 2015


Lots of sibling­esque chatter this week about Venus and Serena Williams, in
the aftermath of Serena beating her sister in three sets in the quarterfinals of
the U.S. Open.

Most of it revolved around whether or not any pair of athletic siblings have
ever approached their combined excellence, and the consensus was, no, not
really. A combined 28 grand slam singles titles and 13 grand slam doubles
titles pretty much silences all dissent, except for people who just want to be
silly about it.

What was notably missing in the discussion, however, was any mention of
the only siblings who really come closest to the Williamses.

That would be the Unsers, Bobby and Al.

Look. We can argue all day the legitimacy of race drivers as actual athletes,
although I will win because I’ve heard all the arguments to the contrary, and
they don’t amount to spit in a hurricane. All I can say is, having driven a late-
model stocker myself some 30 years ago, it’s far more physically and
athletically demanding than it looks.

I was 28 when I drove in a 10­lap charity event – a charity event, not even an
out­for­blood deal – and I was an avid runner and playground hoops player
at the time. Yet those 10 laps reduced everything else to a Sunday school
picnic. I could barely crawl out of the car when I was done, having finished
dead last.

So don’t try to tell me the Unsers weren’t athletes. And that as such, they’re
the only siblings who approach the Williams sisters’ dominance.

Between them, they won seven Indianapolis 500s and 74 IndyCar races in
total. The Manning brothers’ three Super Bowls pale in comparison. So do
the numbers of every other pair of siblings.

Except, of course, for Venus and Serena. Who rule all.

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