Greatest Athlete Of The Twentieth Century? ...People say Babe Ruth...Michael Jordan...Ali...Jesse Owens...Jackie Robinson...Jim Thorpe. Like the sixty- something cat who Frank knows, and who does the handstands at Freedom Hall, this guy wasn't too bad either. Walking over Niagara Falls, the mist far below, cool as a cuke...or traversing the slack tight rope high above the cold Wall Street canyons...or gloriously tip-toeing like an undeiscovered Americana icon, seemingly sneaking over the wire to the other side of the Grand Canyon. Near the end, most of his walks were for charity; and he did it to the very end, well into his seventies. And he did it wearing his bedroom slippers. Mercy. A lot of people say that he "fell" that day in Puerto Rico, his body hurtling through the San Juan air and crashing into the roof of that 1972 Plymouth Roadrunner far below. But his balance was never in doubt and what really happened was that some windy gusts blew a frail old man to his death. It's interesting, when "Best Of" lists are compiled just what has weight, just what MATTERS, to those compiling them. I'm just saying that Karl Wallenda never seemed to be anywhere on any of thos lists. Another total non sequitur on the Chronicle board? Maybe. But as the Edward Norton character in "Rounders" quoted him as he felt the ache to get back to cards and gambling after a stay in the slammer: "I live for being up on the wire...everything else is just waiting." --Just like Cardinal basketball. Anyone for handstands?