Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

So What Were You Doing At Age 17?

Illustration for article titled So What Were You Doing At Age 17?

Zac Sunderland is a 17-year-old California beach bum with shoulder-length locks and fears of conformity. So he's Jimmy Clausen, except he sailed around the world by himself. Winning in Touchdown Jesus' shadow? Try navigating away from pirates, dude.

Sunderland's tale is still the same old story, a fight for love and glory. Not only have the media checked in with intermittent profiles of the boy wonder in the last year, but some French author prophesied Sunderland's circumnavigation back in 1873, we're told. And almost 250 people have sailed the globe's oceans by themselves before! So come on, this isn't impressive or anything. Not at all.

I mean, the year in solitude was like a walk in the park for this so-called "figure of sailing lore." Yeah, he saw pirates and was forced to interrupt his family's Sunday night dinner via satellite phone. And sure, his father told him to "shoot to kill" with his loaded pistol. He went sleepless for 60 hours tinkering with the boat's rigging, he only ate canned food and drank desalinated water, a 30-foot wave cave engulfed his 36-foot boat.


La-dee-da. Kid had nothing to do but play Grand Theft Auto and Guitar Hero, and when he docked for a few days, he could order six scoops of ice cream, no questions asked. Booty.

Now, as time goes by, he returns to a hum-drum, landlocked life of jealousy and hate as a younger sailor figures to usurp Sunderland's title in a few months, and a 15-year-old Australian plans to steal the spotlight from both next summer. What's a young buck to do as an encore? I'm sure there are a few girls looking for a prom date. Maybe he can star in an MTV reality show. Or he can suit up for Charlie Weis. He may be a legend, but after all, he's still got four years of eligibility.

Zac Sunderland completes solo sail around the world [LA Times]
Do Hard Things [ESPN The Mag]

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