So I went to D.C. United practice today, not just because of grumblings that I was scared of Official Beat Writer Steve Goff's all-powerful Soccer Insider, but because I had agreed to be shadowed for the day by a high school student who is hoping to become a journalist and is especially interested in soccer. We'll call her Kate, since that's her name. I introduced her to Ben Olsen after practice and explained that she was following me around to learn the tenets of journalism.
"Really?" Olsen said. "Oh my gosh. Poor soul. This is not normal journalism, you know that, right? You might want to go with this guy," he continued, pointing to Steve Goff, as angels chirped around the halo above Goff's head.
Anyhow, after much consultation, Kate and I decided that our featured journalism today should focus on the hairstyles of D.C. United superstars. And yes, Mr. Tony, we did this because you talk about hair incessantly, and I'm trying to steal your life. Tomorrow we'll be discussing bagels with the Wizards.
You know, DCU fans might have lost Alecko Eskandarian (who will be entering our celebrity NCAA tournament contest, fyi), but some of the newcomers clearly have him thrashed in the hair department. We started out with first-round pick Bryan Arguez, who has long braided hair, and supplemental draftee Guy-Roland Kpene, who is attempting to copy Didier Drogba's unique hair stylings.
"I don't like it," Arguez said of Guy's hair. "Look at it. I don't know, I like that he's copying Drogba, but I don't like how it looks. I like the idea of it."
Guy took this quietly. Bobby Boswell approached. I asked Arguez about his own locks, and he said that he hasn't had a hair cut in four years. Four years. He explained that his brothers have similarly long hair, and that his teammates are threatening to chop it off, but that he will "kill them" if they follow through.
"You can tell he's from Miami," Boswell pointed out. "He's threatening to kill and shoot the older players."
Anyhow, Boswell quickly identified Guy as having the superior style of the two; "thanks, Bobby," Guy said.
"He absolutely has better hair," Boswell continued. "It's more unique. It's original. If you feel it, it feels nice, it's soft to the touch. Unlike his hair, it's very firm," he said, nodding at Arguez.
"You've never touched my hair," Arguez complained.
"I don't know if [Arguez] washes it or not, but I'm pretty sure Guy uses some sort of magical Ivorian potion on his hair, and it's just like Eddie Murphy in "Coming to America," Boswell said. "It's very nice."
As for Guy, he called Drogba "the best player in the world," and, of course, they're both from the Ivory Coast. Many DCU players, as Goff noted yesterday, have actually started calling Guy "Drogba." The Drogba 'do is actually a weird floppy banged look that's parted down the middle, I guess you could say, and is slightly reddish brown in the front. We didn't learn about this is sports journalism school. Hair stylists, feel free to offer a more technical description; I'm with Benny Olsen, who said he liked it a lot but "I just don't understand it." I asked Guy whether the look involved actual hair dye, but he said the coloring comes from the perming. And as it turns out, he's not all that fond of Arguez's look, either.
"It's nice, but I don't like it, because to me, women should do that," Guy said.
"Women should do this?" an incredulous Arguez said. "Women should perm their hair. What are you talking about?"
"Women should do that, not men," Guy said.
"Name one other guy that perms their hair besides Didier Drogba?" Arguez asked.
"He's young, he's young," Guy said, wisely. "He's gonna learn."
Ben Olsen approached. Ben had shed his so-called "caveman" look a while back, but the beard and wild mane are back.
"This is just bedhead," Olsen said. "See, the problem is you guys think I'm going for looks. I'm just waking up and not shaving, you know?"
"Benny's Benny, that's all you can say about that," Boswell said. Later, incidentally, Boswell told me that Stephen deRoux, whom I've never actually spoken with, has the best overall hair on the team because of its versatility, bouncing from picked-out 'fro to cornrows to wild untamed madness.
As for the Olsen beard, it's legendary among teammates. "I mean, that thing grows in in about five hours," Devon McTavish once told me. "So he might shave in the morning, and by the time he gets here it's already a beard."
"I usually shave before practice and usually it's a pretty good length after practice, but it depends if it's winter or summer," Olsen said. "Everybody knows in the summer hair grows a lot quicker."
"For the record I was actually unaware of that, I didn't know that," Boswell said, and frankly, I didn't either. By the way, do I still work for the sports department? I'm gonna go ahead and skip over the part where Boswell was talking about the L.A. Looks product he uses, and move on to when I asked Guy about Olsen's beard.
"It's nice, man," he said.
"He's a rookie, he knows what to say," Olsen said.
Anyhow, deRoux was long gone, and I wanted to get this foursome together for a photo featuring four-year-old hair, a perm and two bedhead styles, but Guy protested, saying his hair didn't look right since they had just finished practice.
"And you're talking about I'm a woman?" Arguez asked.