Should UCLA basketball coach Steve Lavin fail to make it through the season, it won't be a total loss.
After all, he'll still have his greasy 'do.
Firings. Resignations. Gut-wrenching defeats. Public humiliations. Through it all, Bad Sports Hair endures. In fact, it may be the one true path to sports immortality -- long after the records are gone, the terrifying coiffure remains.
To put it another way: Mark Gastineau's single-season NFL sack record has been surpassed. His Billy Ray Cyrus-shaming coif, on the other hand, has not.
With that in mind, Page 2 presents its Bad Sports Hair Hall of Shame:
Miami Heat Head Coach
Style: Slicked back and helmet tough
Inspired by: Gordon Gekko
Fellow travelers: Lavin; John Calipari
Resembles: A senior thesis at the Joseph Hazelwood School of Cosmetology
Fashion statement: Complete and utter hair mastery reflects "Winner Within" principles of discipline, self-control.
Practical value: Provides protection from referees hellbent on destroying the Miami Heat.
For best results: Use high-viscosity motor oil. Something in a 10W-30 grade.
Possible complications: Potential war in Iraq could drive up grooming costs.
Style: Flowing, unkempt locks, peeking out from under the helmet.
Inspired by: Thor, the Norse god of thunder
Fellow travelers: Gastineau; Mark Stepnoski; Jeremy Shockey
Resembles: Something you'd see on a Metallica roadie
Fashion statement: Neither hair nor pass rush can be contained.
Practical value: Makes you look faster when running.
For best results: Wash infrequently, if at all.
Possible complications: Can result in second career as professional wrestler.
Style: Finger-in-the-socket, toaster-in-the-tub poof job
Inspired by: Those cute little troll dolls.
Fellow travelers: Those cute little troll dolls; Christopher Lloyd in "Back to the Future" (brushed down).
Resembles: Cotton candy, without the pink coloring.
Fashion statement: Kill a man! Lie and cheat! Get rich! Only in America!
Practical value: In a pinch, can be used to conceal stolen money.
For best results: Avoid hats.
Possible complications: Birds may attempt to nest.
Style: A schizophrenic melange of pointy mutton chops, bushy chin whiskers and a samurai-style top-knot.
Status: Inactive, save the chin whiskers
Inspired by: Steven Segal, with a dash of Hugh Jackman in "X-Men"
Fellow travelers: That dude with the bloodshot eyes who took an hour and a half to deliver your pizza the other night.
Resembles: Your hair ... on drugs
Fashion statement: Know the names of any other NBA backup centers?
Practical value: Jarring mishmash diverts attention from rapidly receding hairline.
For best results: Trim chops with a straight razor ... and a level.
Possible complications: If mistaken for a real-life samurai, you may be attacked by ninjas.
Style: An overgrown orange Afro
Status: Active, we assume
Inspired by: Carrot Top
Fellow travelers: None ... for shame
Resembles: In the proper light, a luminous halo
Fashion statement: Both hair and game are head and shoulders above the competition.
Practical value: Acts as a shock absorber on headers.
For best results: A blow dryer in each hand works wonders.
Possible complications: When wet, looks dangerously like a jheri curl.
Style: The high-top fade
Status: Mercifully inactive
Inspired by: Bobby Brown, Kadeem Harrison, "Hammerman" the cartoon
Fellow travelers: For a brief period in the early 1990s, just about everyone
Resembles: A shoe box, though some variations looked more like a Mesopotamian ziggurat
Fashion statement: Put me in the mix, coach.
Practical value: Adds two-to-four inches to listed height.
For best results: Accessorize with red-denim suspenders, worn backwards.
Possible complications: Encourages wearer to shave designs and/or phrases into the side of the scalp (see Mason, Anthony).
Style: The classic toupee
Inspired by: Hats, skullcaps, helmets, visors and all other artificial means of covering the skull
Fellow travelers: Bud Selig, Sam Donaldson, Jim Traficant, probably Ted Danson
Resembles: A well-groomed mongoose pelt
Fashion statement: If hair is already dead, then what's the big deal?
Practical value: Scares off poisonous cobras.
For best results: Powder regularly.
Possible complications: Can be torn off during sexual peccadilloes.
L.A. Lakers Head Coach
Style: The Soul Patch
Inspired by: Shakespeare, the Blues Brothers, "Chris Gaines"
Fellow travelers: Mike Piazza, Anton Apolo Ohno
Resembles: A benign skin tumor, or possibly melanoma
Fashion statement: Facial secret garden imparts mystery, touch of cool. At least, that's the idea.
Practical value: Extends razor life by, say, a dozen or so swipes per blade.
For best results: Rub constantly with thumb and forefinger, as if you're thinking about something other than a rendezvous with the owner's daughter.
Possible complications: Random strangers may want to punch you in the face.
Inspired by: Allen Iverson, Latrell Sprewell, Snoop Dogg
Fellow travelers: Plenty, all of whom would have been sporting high-top fades in the early 1990s
Resembles: Macramé; ship rope
Fashion statement: As real as the streets -- of your local, high-end gated suburban community, where most pro athletes tend to live
Practical value: Lessens drag during drives to the hoop
For best results: Add tattoos, another indicator of rebellious, streetwise individuality
Possible complications: May look really, really silly
Style: A day-glo mullet
Status: Regrettably inactive
Inspired by: David Bowie
Fellow travelers: Randy Johnson, Billy Ray Cyrus, the National Hockey League
Resembles: A Tang-colored waterfall
Fashion statement: Hello, Cleveland! Are you ready to rock?
Practical value: Helps sell books and T-shirts.
For best results: To avoid thinning, limit steroid use to reasonable level.
Possible complications: Can result in a series of direct-to-video action movies.
Purdue Boilermakers Head Coach
Style: The combover
Status: Active as ever
Inspired by: Anyone and everyone who refuses to go gently into the good night of baldness
Fellow travelers: Rudy Guliani, Joe Lieberman, used car salesman across the nation
Resembles: A half-built skyscraper
Fashion statement: Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain -- I am the great and mighty Oz!
Practical value: Maximizes your hair's work rate. If that's important to you.
For best results: Wear sunscreen during daylight hours.
Possible complications: Has never fooled anyone.
Style: A permed-out, puffed-up, rock 'n' roll tennis top
Status: Condemned to history's dustbin, like Communism and the 8-track
Inspired by: Flock of Seagulls
Fellow travelers: One of a kind
Resembles: A mullet, subjected to a gamma-ray experiment gone horribly wrong
Fashion statement: Gaze upon me, ye Bosworths, ye Pollards, ye Valderramas. And despair.
Practical value: Makes everyone around you look good.
For best results: Take to dog groomers at least twice a month.
Possible complications: May go down as the worst sports 'do of all-time.
Patrick Hruby is a sportswriter for the Washington Times. You can reach him at email@example.com.