Skins Go 'Stache
I was drawn to the autograph line after practice last night by some kids hoisting a giant orange traffic cone over their heads and demanding autographs. On the cone.
"I've never signed a traffic cone before," Shawn Springs said shortly after he signed it, and he wasn't the only one. While I signed the traffic cone (they asked), I inquired as to the meaning of all this.
"I found it in my car; we use it for, like, flag football," said the ringleader, whose name I never caught. "It's just something different, it's something interesting....Everyone has, like, hats and footballs. And I mean, who's signed a traffic cone before? It's something different."
That it is. The traffic cone signatures mounted. I figure it will be on eBay by this afternoon. Soon Chris Cooley came over; "Cooley, sign our traffic cone," the kids yelled. (And kids, if you're reading this, send me a photo please.)
"You stole this on the way in," Cooley said matter-of-factly as he signed the cone.
"No dude, no, I got it from my house," the ringleader insisted.
"You lie," Cooley said. "He's a liar. That came from the way in."
Before I could unravel that mystery, though, I noticed that Cooley was growing a mustache. Breaking news that I had somehow missed. Mustaches trump traffic cones.
"Well, the beard started in training camp, but me and Brunell went mustache," Cooley told me. "He did the handlebars. I couldn't do it, I don't grow hair there."
I hadn't seen Brunell or his handlebars, and so I asked Cooley for a review.
"It's as good as it gets," Cooley said.
And I wondered, as you're surely wondering, how long the 'stache would survive.
"Until I move home, out of the dorms and I have to see actual people in my life," Cooley said, noting that he did not think the look suited him well. "I can't even look at myself in the mirror," he said.
He later told XM Radio that he's hoping to time the growth of a "Wild-Man Beard" with the start of the playoffs, but he told me that the facial hair would be cut near the end of training camp. (Get it? Cut?)
Moments later, Jordan Palmer walked by. Lo and behold, another mustache. Handlebars, in his case.
"They kind of made me; being a rookie, I kind of had to," he said. "I've done it before; I had handlebars all through college. It was just kind of fun."
Since this week marks the end of the American Mustache Institute's best mustache in sports history contest, I naturally asked the mustachioed Skins to cast their votes.
"I honestly don't know. There's a lot of good mustaches in the '70s and '80s. That question's out of my element right now; my mustache trivia is low, I guess," Cooley said, although he did vote for Adam Morrison's as "the worst mustache in sports." Palmer, thankfully, was more in touch with the historical record. First he voted for Burt Reynolds in "The Longest Yard," then he changed his vote to Dennis Eckersley, and finally he settled on Goose Gossage.
"I remember when I was a kid I had his baseball card, and he had a serious 'stache," Palmer told me. "Plus, he always had a big chew in, so it kind of accentuated the mustache. So I've got to go with Goose Gossage."
August 1, 2007; 9:20 AM ET
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