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"I Was David Beckham's Teammate"


Becks, always replacing Quavas Kirk. (By Toni L. Sandys - TWP)


Here was Quavas Kirk's introduction to BeckhamMania. At the start of last season, Kirk--then an L.A. forward, now a reserve with D.C. United--had claimed a nice central locker, facing the middle of the dressing room, like everyone else. And then Becks arrived.

"He kicked me out of my locker," Kirk said with a laugh. "I got moved over to the one that was facing, like, the wall. I couldn't see the clock or nothing."

The move, Kirk said, was made by team officials, and was not at Beckham's request. But still, in solidarity, Pete Vagenas would proclaim "We want Q back over here" every time he walked past Beckham's locker.

Bad locker notwithstanding, Kirk--whose new team will face Beckham and the Galaxy this weekend--described the international icon as a perfectly fine teammate, friendly and subtle and never blinged-out. Someone a quartet of Rock Band enthusiasts--say, Kirk, Landon Donovan, Julian Valentin and Kyle Martino--would invite to join a jam session during this preseason.


Normal teammate David Beckham, in San Francisco. (By C Flanigan - Getty)

"We did ask him, like 'C'mon man, get on the drums or something,' " Kirk recalled. "He didn't want to play. He was too cool for Rock Band."

Of course, there were obvious quirks to life with Beckham. Like, Kirk got to meet Posh Spice; "I talked to her for, like, a second," he reported. "Like a 'hi, how you doing?' kind of thing, and that was it. It died really quickly."

He got to see enormous body guards added to the team's traveling party; "I mean, they were some big dudes, too," Kirk said. "Nobody was gonna walk up and try anything funny with him, because they'd definitely choke him out. We didn't have any bodyguards. We were just kind of in the open. So if anything happened to us, it was just kind of like, 'eh.' "

He got to see crowds of fans and paparazzi and autograph seekers camped outside their base during road trips; "People would find out where we were staying at and just chill outside the hotel, just sit out there, I mean, for hours," he said. "We'd just be like, 'All right,' and walk in. We didn't have to sign anything. They didn't really care what WE were doing."

He got to listen to a stream of Beckham-related questions from friends; "Just women though, dudes don't really care," Kirk said. " 'Do you shower with him?' That was the strangest one."

And he got to see teammates breaking in the new guy, as when Martino super-glued his multimillionaire teammates's sandals to the locker room floor. Beckham promised revenge, but if he achieved it, Kirk never noticed.

In fact, when he arrived in D.C., Kirk figured his high-priced foreign United teammates--like Luciano Emilio, Fred and Marcelo Gallardo--would be cut from the same reserved cloth as Beckham, subtly blending into the background.

"Completely different," Kirk said, outlining how just today, Fred had nabbed four or five promotional mini soccer balls and volleyed them around the locker room, shortly after taking all of Kirk's new cleats and hiding them under various piles of towels and dirty laundry. "You come in and you expect them to be quiet just like he was, but they're real wild," Kirk said.

His lasting impression of Beckham, on the other hand, was as just one of the guys, "the same normal person that would come in and just chill with all of us," Kirk said. "He wasn't too cool for anything." He paused. "Except for Rock Band, but he probably would have came around after a while."

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 26, 2008; 5:43 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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