January 28, 1998

    Rob, Va and Mr. T: Preparing for the Pros

    By Robin Davidson
    and Vanessa Nygaard

    In the wake of the Super Bowl (did you take The Quiz?) Vanessa and I decided to discuss some of the more interesting aspects we noticed about the world of professional sports.

    Robin: Vanessa, I feel I'm a little too articulate to become a professional athlete. Are you apprehensive about the prospect of becoming a professional athlete?

    Va: Well sometimes I do feel a little too articulate for the profession.

    Robin: Aside from allowing your vocabulary to deteriorate, what else do you plan to do in order to prepare yourself for the professional ranks?

    Va: Well, I've conveniently come up with a list.

    Robin: I can barely contain myself. Do tell.

    Va: No. 1, I'm in search of a personal jeweler to forge my hubcap-sized No. 13 that I'll wear on a big gold chain around my neck.

    Robin: Does that mean Mr. T is a professional athlete?

    Va: Yes, in French-speaking provinces of Canada. Secondly, I'm also getting used to wearing shades indoors because fluorescent lights are really bright. I'd also have to start going to a personal stylist instead of getting a $7 haircut.

    Robin: I get mine for five, you're getting ripped off. But what else?

    Va: Fourth, I'm currently interviewing for members of my entourage.

    Robin: What are your prerequisites? Am I a candidate?

    Va: Sadly, no. You either have to be a distant cousin or have gone to high school with me.

    Robin: Too bad you're not from the South. We could've been related. Are there any difficulties you've found in the transition?

    Va: Yeah, I have this strange need to say hello to my mother whenever I'm on camera, and I'm contemplating getting my name and number tattooed somewhere on my body.

    Robin: What if I already have my name tattooed on my body?

    Va: A little too much information for me. Let's move on. You also have to have a trademark move when you score. You know - the Mile High Salute, Raise the Roof, Lower the Floor, Stucco the Walls, that sort of thing.

    Robin: Sounds complicated.

    Va: It is. And lastly, Vanessa Nygaard is currently working to make sure that Vanessa Nygaard refers to Vanessa Nygaard as often as possible in the third person.

    Robin: With the rise of women's professional team sports, aside from salary differences how do you think men and women professional athletes will be different?

    Va: Are we having a serious discussion now?

    Robin: Well, we could at least try.

    Va: OK, then I'll pretend like I'm in CIV section, and I haven't done the reading. I always have lots to say then. Starting with, "It seems to me like. . ." the fan-base for women's athletics is not as big and obsessive as men's professional sports.

    Robin: Exactly what do you mean by that?

    Va: Let me extrapolate that point for you. All guys have an opinion on sports, no matter how unjustified. For example, just this past weekend while watching the Super Bowl every guy in the room with me felt he had to say something about every play and every penalty even though they were obviously not athletes and probably never played football in their lives. I mean, who are you going to believe? The 5-foot-4, 200 pound computer software engineer from Cal who just couldn't get enough of the guacamole or me - someone who's gotten five concussions in the last three years. I think I know more about contact sports.

    Robin: I agree with your point, but I also think it's worthy to mention that most women don't follow sports. I've noticed in my line of work that a majority of women didn't grow up around sports and as a result don't have that obsessive, I-need-to-know-every-anal-fact-about-my-team mentality. Most women don't even understand the basic rules of sports they've never played.

    Va: Exactly. My mom doesn't even know what a pick and roll is. My sophomore year she actually asked me, "When did you get good at that shooting thing?"

    Robin: Well, aside from your mom, don't you think women are catching up?

    Va: Yes, can we end the column? I have to relieve myself.

    Vanessa has recently redirected her career ambitions. She no longer wishes to be a White House intern.