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Monday, June 4, 2007
ESPNsoccernet: June 5, 12:40 PM UK
Interrogating the Wizards

Jimmy Conrad

Apologists,

Define "late."

Does turning this piece of prose in to my editor over a month after my deadline fall into that category? After two sentences are you ready to forgive me? Haven't I done everything you have ever asked me to do? Like being a handsome, charming, take-elbows-in-the-face-for-the-team kind of person? What else can I do to win back your affection? Answer your messages on MySpace? Make you part of my posse? Call your house and wish your kids a happy birthday? Mow your lawn? Bake you some cookies? Score against Mexico? Massage your feet?

Answer me.

(Long pause)

I see how it is.

Well, I didn't want to do it, but I'm afraid I have no choice. I think I have to steal an idea from me. An idea I haven't used in awhile, but a go-to when I'm busy or have writer's block or when my readers won't answer my questions. An idea that has been a staple of my repertoire ever since I started putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard for all the voyeurs of the World Wide Web. An idea known simply as "duping my teammates into spending time with me by asking them semi-serious questions about life and the game that they love while nodding constantly with a wry look of contention on my face."

Suckers.

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1. Do you ever look at yourself in the mirror and think, "How does Jimmy Conrad make himself look so incredibly sexy day in and day out?"

Jose Luis Burciaga, Jr.: Noooo.

Eric Kronberg: No, do you?

Will John: I figure you're just born with it.

Matt Groenwald: Yes, of course I do. I mean, who doesn't in the greater Kansas City metro area?

Lance Watson: Almost every day.

Sasha Victorine: Who's Jimmy Conrad?

Ryan Pore: I've never done that. I'm sorry.

Scott Sealy: Yes, all the time. It's always on my mind.

Jack Jewsbury: That's usually the first thing I think of.

Tyson Wahl: What?

The Rookies: No. The absolute last thing we as rookies think about while looking in the mirror is Jimmy Conrad's sex appeal.

Kevin Hartman: I always wonder if it's the lack of hair that makes it look so easy or if it's your DNA.

Ryan McMahen: The only thing I remember being sexy on you was your breath when your jaw was wired shut.

Davy Arnaud: I used to, but with that thing on your lip I don't any more (FYI: I had a pimple go horribly wrong a few weeks ago, but I'm happy to report I'm back to full sexiness).

2. With all the changes that have happened to Major League Soccer over the last six months, which one stands out as the best overall?

Nick Garcia: The signing of Danny Dichio in Toronto.

Eddie Johnson: After playing in Toronto, I think that is by far the best decision the league could have made. It's a professional environment.

Groenwald: The commitment from the league to get individual ownership groups for each team.

Sealy: The impact of the Beckham rule will give the league more exposure and force the rest of the world to pay attention.

Burciaga: The Superliga. Because it will be more games against good teams, and it gives us a chance to play in the Copa Libertadores.

Ryan Raybould: Toronto coming into the league. The environment at BFO Field is similar to Europe.

The Rookies: The added attention the sport is getting, attention, and yet more attention.

Hartman: The Superliga is the best because it introduces MLS into an international competition at a high level and offers legitimate bonus money to the winner.

McMahen: I think bringing David Beckham into the league will have the biggest impact. It will be exciting when he plays and it should create an atmosphere that most players, especially if they don't get to play on the national team, have never experienced before.

Kerry Zavagnin: The decision to create soccer-specific stadiums and to renew my contract.

Arnaud: The new playoff format [which gives automatic playoff berths to the two top teams from each conference and then the next four best teams regardless of conference] because now there will be the possibility of playing a rival from your own conference in the final.

3. If you could have one trait from any player in MLS to make yours, who would it be and what would that trait be? (For example, I would choose Pat Noonan's hair because, well, have you seen it? White guy + Afro = Rarity)

Garcia: Nick Rimando's lips.

Kronberg: Kevin Hartman's physique.

Burciaga: Juan Toja's hair.

John: Tim Ward's dashing good looks.

Johnson: How Landon Donovan sees the game.

Groenwald: Nick Garcia's hair and facial hair designs.

Watson: Ezra Hendrickson's height.

Victorine: Jeff Agoos' calves.

Pore: Ryan Raybould's bubble butt.

Sealy: Jaime Moreno's touch on the ball.

Jewsbury: Brad Davis' ears.

Raybould: Ryan Pore's chest and biceps.

Wahl: Calen Carr's Sanjaya looks.

Hartman: Matt Reis' back hair.

McMahen: Jack Jewsbury's teeth.

Yura Movsisiyan: Landon Donovan's quickness.

Zavagnin: I would want Chris Klein's tight shorts.

Arnaud: Beckham's voice. I would love to sound that manly.

4. How long will it take David Beckham to realize he has a sore hamstring before games on sports turf?

Garcia: Not long.

John: 10 minutes.

Johnson: Depends on what's happening in Hollywood. If he could play on a red carpet instead of a green one, I'm sure he'd do that.

Groenwald: Two weeks.

Victorine: Whenever he flies to the East Coast.

Pore: Two days.

The Rookies: The very second he finds out professional soccer games are actually played on sports turf.

Jewsbury: You might want to check his contract for stipulations because he might already get those games off.

Raybould: The over/under will be 2½ games, and I'll guess the under. He'll go to New York and that'll be it.

Hartman: It will be instantaneous. The moment he sees it his brain will tell his mouth and his mouth will tell the trainer he's not playing.

Zavagnin: It will be during the warm-up of the first game on turf.

Arnaud: If he's never played on it, probably one game.

5. Once MLS blows up (big TV contract, each team has its own stadium, on "SportsCenter" every night, attracts top players from all over the world), do you think anyone will believe you played in the league?

Garcia: I might be in a wheelchair, but they'll remember. We will be the guys the new generation of players point at and say under their breath, "Those guys flew Southwest Airlines."

Kronberg: I think my mom will.

Johnson: Absolutely.

Pore: Absolutely not.

John: Oh yeah, definitely.

Watson: Probably not.

Victorine: No chance. By the time MLS blows up, we will be long gone and nobody will remember who we are.

Sealy: Probably not, because it won't happen for another 15 years.

Jewsbury: I do have a picture of you hugging me after I scored a goal a few years back, and you're the face of the league, so I would I think that solidifies my position.

Raybould: No chance. I'm pretty much the quintessential average white guy, which means I'm more likely to be confused with a mailman than a professional athlete.

The Rookies: Yes, because someone has to write the history books.

Hartman: Luckily, I've been around long enough to prove it, but in time we will all be talking about better retirement funds for all of us has-beens.

McMahen: I don't know. I guess it will be kind of like now when we watch old black-and-white basketball games on ESPN Classic. That's what we will be compared to, and they'll think we have weird haircuts.

Movsisiyan: Hopefully I can prove it with some highlight tapes.

Arnaud: They might not believe me, but I'll have something to prove it.

6. I have little or no evidence to prove that I'm better than you at a number of things, but we both know it's true. What is the one thing you wish you were better at than me?

Garcia: Arguing with people about stupid facts.

John: Your crazy eyes.

Burciaga: Writing.

Johnson: How you take care of your body.

Groenwald: Controlling my rage.

Watson: Basketball.

Victorine: Settlers of Catan.

Sealy: Fashion coordinator.

Jewsbury: Circuit breakers.

Raybould: First off, I know I'm better than you at soccer tennis because of the fact that every time I beat you, you change the rules.

Wahl: Positioning.

The Rookies: Asking questions.

Hartman: I wish my diet could be half as good as yours.

Movsisiyan: Heading.

McMahen: Having a slightly quicker wit.

Zavagnin: The gift of gab.

Arnaud: Are you better than me at anything?

7. Give me one word to describe our hot start to the MLS regular season?

Garcia: En fuego.

Kronberg: Hot.

Burciaga: Booming.

John: Excellent.

Johnson: Willingness.

Groenwald: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

Watson: Explosive.

Victorine: Pleasurable.

Pore: Dedication.

Sealy: Sweet.

Jewsbury: Teamwork.

Raybould: Chad Johnson. That's two words.

Wahl: Fresh.

The Rookies: Expected.

Hartman: Scintillating.

Movsisiyan: Good.

McMahen: Sexy.

Zavagnin: YES!

8. What is your favorite movie quote?

Garcia: "Tina, eat the food!"

Kronberg: "I'm just a girl standing in front of a boy asking him to love her."

Burciaga: "Say hello to my little friend."

Groenwald: "Earmuffs!"

Watson: "Calmer than you are, dude."

Jewsbury: "Beavers and ducks."

Raybould: "We came here to do two things: drink beer and kick some ass. And it looks like we're all outta beer."

The Rookies: "Well, hey, I have a hockey record. ... Yeah, I'm the only player in history to take my skate off and try to stab someone with it."

Hartman: "I was put on this earth for one reason: to play hockey."

Zavagnin: "On my command, unleash hell."

Arnaud: "Right, let's sort the buyers from the spyers, the needy from the greedy, those who trust me from the one's who don't, because if you can't see a bargain here today, you're not happy shopping, you're happier shoplifting."

9. There's a nasty rumor going around that the new ownership group plans to remove the rainbow off of the Wizards logo, thereby rendering pointless our "Taste the Rainbow" cheer that we say in the team huddle before kickoff. How does that make you feel?

Garcia: Arrrgh.

Kronberg: [Spoken with a lisp] Super!

Burciaga: Happy. That rainbow needed to go a long time ago.

John: I would like to see the rainbow stay, since I've been a fan of the team since the rainbow jerseys.

Johnson: I haven't been around here long enough to appreciate the rainbow, but all the changes this ownership group has made seem to be working.

Groenwald: They can take away a symbol but it won't erase the tradition.

Watson: It makes me feel happy.

Victorine: I'm really hurt, because being from California, rainbows mean a lot to me.

Sealy: It's a good move.

Jewsbury: I'm sad. I feel like the rainbow is a part of me now.

Raybould: I hope we don't lose our sponsorship from Lucky Charms.

Wahl: Rainbows are manly.

McMahen: Neglected.

Hartman: It would be nice to have a tougher emblem, but the Skittles cheer always pumps me up.

Zavagnin: Sad and disgruntled.

RAPID FIRE

Royals or Chiefs? A long ball into the corner or 15 passes in a row without shifting the defense? Cooking or cleaning? Dance Dance Revolution or Guitar Hero? Lance Watson as Mark Wahlberg or Sasha Victorine as Johnny from "Karate Kid"? High-five or butt tap? MySpace or FaceBook? Coin flip or rock, paper and scissors? Do a double dare or take the physical challenge? Yes or no?

Garcia: Chiefs, long ball, cooking, Dance Dance Revolution, Sasha as Johnny, high-five, neither, Rock Paper Scissors, double dare, yes.

Kronberg: Chiefs, long ball, cooking, Guitar Hero, Sasha as the ant in Antz, butt tap, My Space, Rock Paper Scissors, I am physically challenged, yes!

Burciaga: Chiefs,15 passes, cooking, Dance Dance Revolution, Sasha as Johnny, high-five, My Space, Rock Paper Scissors, double dare, Si.

John: Chiefs, 15 passes, cooking, Dance Dance Revolution, Lance as Marky Mark, butt tap, Face Book, coin flip, double dare, yes.

Johnson: Chiefs, long ball, cleaning, Guitar Hero, Sasha as Johnny, high-five, My Space, Rock Paper Scissors, Yes.

Groenwald: Neither,15 passes, cooking, Dance Dance Revolution, Sasha as Johnny, butt tap, Face Book, Rock Paper Scissors, physical challenge, yes.

Watson: Chiefs, 15 passes, cooking, I'm better at Guitar Hero but Dance Dance Revolution is more fun, me as Marky Mark, chest bump, My Space, Rock Paper Scissors, physical challenge, yes.

Victorine: Neither,15 passes, cooking, Guitar Hero, Me as Johnny, butt tap, neither, Rock Paper Scissors, physical challenge, sure.

Pore: Chiefs, long ball, cleaning, Guitar Hero, Lance as Marky Mark, butt tap, neither, Rock Paper Scissors, physical challenge, yes.

Sealy: Chiefs, 15 passes, cleaning, Guitar Hero, Lance as Marky Mark, high-five, neither, Rock Paper Scissors, physical challenge, yes.

Jewsbury: Chiefs, 15 passes, cleaning, Dance Dance Revolution, Lance as Marky Mark, high-five, My Space, Rock Paper Scissors, physical challenge, yes.

Raybould: Royals, long ball, Cceaning, they are both fun so it's a tie, Lance as Marky Mark, high-five, Face Book, Rock Paper Scissors, physical challenge, yes.

Wahl: Royals, neither, cooking, Dance Dance Revolution, Lance as Marky Mark, cool guy high-five, neither, coin flip, physical challenge, yes.

Hartman: Chiefs, long ball, cooking, Guitar Hero, Sasha as Johnny, high-five, My Space, Rock Paper Scissors, double dare, YES PLEASE!

Movsisiyan: Chiefs, long ball, cooking, Guitar Hero, Lance as Marky Mark, High-five, My Space, Rock Paper Scissors, double dare, yes.

McMahen: Neither, long ball, cleaning, Dance Dance Revolution, Sasha as Johnny, high-five, My Space, Rock Paper Scissors, physical challenge, yes.

Zavagnin: Chiefs, long Ball, cleaning, Guitar Hero, Sasha as Johnny, Tie, MySpace, Rock Paper Scissors, double dare, yes.

Arnaud: Royals, long ball, cooking, Guitar Hero, Lance as Marky Mark, high-five, neither, Rock Paper Scissors, physical challenge, yes.

Jimmy Conrad is a defender for the U.S. national team and Major League Soccer's Kansas City Wizards. He contributes regularly to ESPN.com.


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