Caps Movember update: Michael Latta still trying

November 25, 2013
Michael Latta's um, mustache on November 21.
Michael Latta’s um, mustache on November 21.

We’re nearing the end of Movember, the month-long mustache growing event designed to raise awareness for men’s health issues. Of all four men’s pro teams in Washington, the Caps have been the most active, growing various forms of facial hair to promote the cause.

Some are better at it than others, and the word in the locker room is that rookie Michael Latta’s mustache just might be the worst of the group.

“It’s pretty bad,” said Karl Alzner, whose own handlebar mustache is quite impressive. “It’s like a couple of hairs wanna grow really long and the rest of them don’t. And they’re clear, so it’s like fishing line. It’s really weird.”

His teammates tease him, but Latta doesn’t mind.

Karl Alzner's impressive mustache on November 21.
Karl Alzner’s impressive mustache on November 21.

“I think it’s beautiful,” he said, stroking the almost non-existent hair on his upper lip. “We’re not all like Alzy, with God-given talents to grow mustaches. Plus, he’s got good genetics.”

Latta isn’t alone in his facial-hair struggle. Steve Oleksy said that seeing Latta’s pitiful mustache made him feel better about his own.

“I mean, his is bad,” Oleksy said. “Had I known I’d have a partner that couldn’t grow one, I wouldn’t have started mine a month and a half early. I got a head start so I’d fit in a little bit. It’s weird to wake up in the morning and wonder what that thing poking your top lip is, especially when you got a hair here and a hair there. Guys like me and Latta, I don’t know if we’re fortunate or unfortunate that we can’t grow facial hair.”

Steve Oleksy's mustache on November 21.
Steve Oleksy’s mustache on November 21.

If you ask Jason Chimera, who is also growing a mustache and beard, he thinks that youth plays a bigger part, and that makes it a good thing.

“Well, they’re young so they have a bit of a disadvantage,” he said. “They haven’t been growing facial hair as long as us older guys. But it’s good to be young again. I wish I had trouble growing facial hair like them. Or, for that matter, playing like them.”

All of the players cited the NHL’s promotion of the event as being the reason so many hockey players are participating. Team pages on the Movember website are filled with pictures of hockey players sporting various forms of facial hair. The Caps’ team page has raised almost $6,000.

Jason Chimera's mustache on November 21.
Jason Chimera’s mustache on November 21.

“The league has done a really good job of getting the word out to players and kinds turned it into a fun competition,” Alzner said.  “To the people who say growing a mustache isn’t cool, what’s not cool about trying to raise money for a good cause?”

A nearby Joel Ward agreed, and thinks that some high-profile players in other leagues could help get the ball rolling.

“Imagine if they had Tom Brady or Peyton Manning doing it,” he noted. “How many people would donate?”

Latta, surprisingly, said he may keep his baby ‘stache around for a bit longer. Others plan on saying goodbye to the facial hair come Dec. 1.

“The wife will be happy to see it go,” Chimera laughed. “I’m not getting much love at home because of the mustache.”

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Dan Steinberg | November 25, 2013