More Skins Staches
But first, an update. Sorry for the delayed announcement, but as you might have heard, Keith Hernandez was declared the proud owner of the Top Sports Mustache of All Time by the American Mustache Institute. He got 31 percent of nearly 20,000 votes, edging Rollie Fingers (24 percent) and Al Hrabosky (12 percent).
"While our certified mustacheologists share concerns that the voting may have been more about the man rather than the mustache in Keith's case - fans of sport and mustaches have spoken," said Aaron Perlut, AMI executive director and a D.C. native. "However, the interest spurred by this polling effort makes it clear that Americans believe the mustache is an important part of our culture. That's why the American Mustache Institute is fighting mustache discrimination and focused on bringing it back as a form of expression."
And so AMI should just love the Redskins, where mustache fever is growing faster than a Ben Olsen beard. At last count, the members of the training camp mustache club include Chris Cooley, Ethan Albright, Mark Brunell, Jordan Palmer, Todd Collins, Todd Wade, Todd Yoder, Todd Solontz, Sweeney Todd, and I believe several others. Since Jason Campbell already had a stache, that means all four Redskins QB's are currently stached. I can't imagine any other NFL team can make that claim.
"I'll tell you who has a really hilarious one is Tyler Ecker," said Cooley, the ringleader of this manicured madness. "It's hilarious. His mustache is unbelievable."
Ecker was already gone by this point, but others in the club couldn't stop talking about Brunell's glorious growth--"awesome," summarized Albright--and so I attempted to ask him about it.
"I'm focused on football right now," Brunell said. "This whole facial hair game is really distracting us from what we're ultimately trying to accomplish. This is just who I am and how I want to look."
But it turns out he was joking, and so I asked whether his stache was tops on the team. "There are a few guys making a valid attempt at having some solid facial hair, but I've got to be at least top three," he said. "I think the most creative would have to be Todd Yoder with 'The Wolverine.' You know, out of X-men? That's a nice look for him. It's a little fearful. Here comes Todd right here."
Indeed, here came Todd Yoder right here, looking for all the world like a young Leo Tolstoy, if Tolstoy had started downing protein shakes, bulked up to 253, shaved his head and moved to the American heartland.
"Everybody else was too scared, and I wasn't," Yoder boasted. "The Civil War general look is right up my alley."
Ok, scratch Tolstoy; make it Ambrose Burnside. But hark, forsooth, here cometh Todd Collins!
"Get a picture of Collins, too, he's got a good one coming in," Brunell noted. "Looks like Tom Selleck."
"Nothing the cat couldn't lick off," Collins said. I squinted my eyes but had trouble seeing any stache. Was he really trying to grow facial hair, I wondered.
"I'm not 'trying,' I already have it," Collins said. "What are you looking at?"
On to Albright, who has some disadvantages--his Fu Manchu look can't compete with Brunell's in sheer bushiness--but counters with easily the most interesting coloration on the team.
"I'm just a tag-along," he said. "I usually grow a beard, but this year I've got too many different colors coming in: I've got brown, red, black, gray, a little bit of everything in there....The kids hate it. The kids are crying for me to shave it. They don't like the whiskers. I rub them on my four-year old and leave a rash and he gets mad at me."
And believe it or not, these weren't the only interesting follicular developments this week. Byron Westbrook, the undrafted rookie defensive back? Well, the braids were out and the hair was popping yesterday. He said it was a one-day thing, that he had an appointment for a re-braiding last night, but that he had actually played with the 'fro before.
"It definitely helps in the cold weather," he said. "The hair covers your ears up. Little hair ear muffs."
Also, LaRon Landry has some sort of beard going, which is reason enough for me to discuss his tattoos, which were impossible to avoid yesterday since he was doing his interviews shirtless. Across his stomach is AMA, which I figured was an homage to the American Medical Association but which actually refers to his hometown of Ama, Louisiana.
"Good thing he didn't come from Shreveport," pointed out a media wag.
His shoulders have images of nails piercing the skin, along with "No Pain; No Gain;" "just a motto that I go by," he said. (Remember, please, that Gilbert Arenas has a "My Pain, My Gain" tattoo. Maybe he and Landry can fight.)
On his chest are the names of his parents, Frank and Rhonda. And on his left arm is some fearsome wolf-like creature. "That symbolizes my neighborhood, or something like that," Landry said. "It's a long story, a long story," so I guess that's for another day, since this is already long enough.
I will note that I had to borrow batteries from an old-school newspaper reporter in order to snap these photos, and that the press room groaned when they realized what I was using the batteries for. Haters. Not a mustache among them, either. Thank goodness the AMI is fighting mustache discrimination.
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