It was a scary moment after a concert two years ago near Lancaster, Pa. when a man accosted Amy Grant backstage, professed love for the gospel singer and tried to grab her. Fortunately Grant’s bodyguard was there in an instant, cooling the assailant’s ardor with a knee to the groin.
What made this scene unusual is the fact that the bodyguard in question was no beefy Mr. T type but a relatively fragile (5’6″, 119 pounds) 20-year-old woman named Sherry McGregor. McGregor, who won the women’s 1982-83 lightweight U.S. Open karate championship, has also been with the security forces of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and Pat Boone.
McGregor became interested in self-defense when, as a child, she saw her mother being abused by a man. Vowing this would never happen to her, she started learning karate at 8. During 12 years of training, she has broken her nose four times, smashed four ribs and suffered a dozen concussions, including one gained when she earned her black belt at 16.
Sherry lives in Rockledge, Fla. with her mother and stepfather but plans to move to Nashville soon in order to teach self-defense to performers. Despite the occasional violence of her work, McGregor is a devout Christian who sees no conflict between self-defense and her religious views. “I feel closest to the Lord when I’m in the ring,” says Sherry, who has formed her own bodyguard company, Kick Associates—Kick Ass for short.
He may not be quite ready to go on the pro tour, but when he does, 16-year-old golfer Bob May will be well prepared in one respect: He knows how to pack. May spent only two weeks at home last summer because he played in so many tournaments. In 1984 he was named the PGA Jr. player of the year and in January he became the youngest person ever to qualify for the L.A. Open.
A high school sophomore from La Habra, Calif., Bob first stepped onto the links with his father, Jerry, an oil dealer, at the age of 6. What sets him apart from other young players, says his coach Eddie Merrins, is “his insatiable appetite for practice and competition,” as exemplified by his reaction to missing the cut (by five strokes) in the L.A. Open. Instead of being disappointed or going off to watch the pros with his friends, he went to the practice tee for three hours and later hit shots for two more hours. Next morning he was back on the course at 8 a.m.
Not that May, who plans to major in business administration in college, is a golf drone. He finds time to tool around town in a new Camaro his parents gave him, and he admits to a crush on Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton. And oh, yes, his mother, Muriel, points out that like any self-respecting teenager, May specializes in talking on the phone. But he simply cannot envision a time when he will not be playing golf. “I think if I were ever going to get tired of it,” he says, “I’d be starting now.”