One of my first assignments here at Bleacher Report might be one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to think about.
The assignment, as stated, is this: “Pick any player from your team (in my case, the Eagles), and list all of the questions you would ask for a feature interview.”
Now, there are 53 guys and a whole bunch of possibilities. You could ask Donovan McNabb quite a bit, but he’s everyone’s sexy pick. You could seek out a free agent signing or draft pick, but what might they offer? Or maybe choose a defensive player, asking them how the loss of Brian Dawkins and Jim Johnson’s indefinite absence will affect them. You could even ask long snapper Jon Dorenbos about his status as an amateur magician, or Sav Rocca about shrimp on the barbie.
But you know what? You really can’t, because any good writer or interviewer knows the key to conducting a good, fruitful interview is actually listening to what your subject says. Unless you’re doing a lengthy interview on one specific topic or it‘s a post-game analysis type of interview, all you really need is a few good general questions (more than one so a “No comment” doesn’t kill you) and a good set of ears.
In my dozen years of adulthood, I’ve worked in many avenues of journalism and interviewed people from all walks of life and entertainment. From Hulk Hogan to Chris Webber to Josey Scott from Saliva, from the nervous 16-year-old kid trying to get a fry cook job to the Mayor of Orlando, I’ve gotten them all. I’ve asked every stock question in the book, but the best (and most fun) results have always come from the subject going off on tangents and showing off their personality.
But for the sake of this assignment, I came up with a few good questions. And yes, I’m going to pick Donovan McNabb, just because I like him. But this won’t be about Terrell Owens, his new offensive weapons, or being benched in Baltimore.
No, what follows is something different: Five things you never wanted to know about Donovan McNabb.
Makes sense, doesn’t it? I’ve never lived in Syracuse or Chicago, but I know people who have, and it’s not pretty. Philadelphia does get quite nice in the summer, but you try navigating a New Jersey jug handle in a blizzard and see how soon you’ll wish you were on Miami Beach in a Hawaiian shirt and sandals.
Come to think of it, that sounds a lot like the Buffett concert I went to at Citizens Bank Park last summer. Regardless, Donovan’s in his 30s now; no one can fault him if he wants to sit on his porch and drink pina coladas with no pants on during the offseason.
And for the record, yes...I know he actually lives in Arizona.
Question 2: Pat’s, Geno’s, Jim’s, or Tony Luke’s? (With follow-ups: Whiz or American, with or without?)
OK, so maybe a finely conditioned athlete shouldn’t be expected to be a connoisseur of artery-clogging deliciousness. But this isn’t just any artery-clogger; this is the cheesesteak, the staple of Philadelphia.
Anyone from Philly who’s reading this is probably ready to kill me, because opinions differ and many believe there are far better places to get cheesesteaks. But I have to appeal to the masses, and I’d wager to bet much of the readership couldn’t even tell you what a “whiz with” is, let alone identify Dalessandro’s, Chubbie’s, Chink’s or anywhere else.
So Donovan, which “touristy” cheesesteak is your favorite? Do you like to stay close to the stadium and wait 20 minutes at Tony Luke’s? Perhaps take in South Street while you dine at Jim’s? Or does the glitz and glamour of Pat’s and Geno’s allure to you. Me? I’ll take a whiz with from Pat‘s, please.
Question 3: Action News, NBC 10, or KYW?
Philadelphians love their television news, and for years, Action News has been the market leader. Jim Gardner is an institution. But they’re a little, well, old. I mean, frowny-face clouds on a rainy day? Sure, Cecily Tynan is hot, but she looks like a Romper Room attendant in front of that weather board.
The other two networks are hip and edgy, but can they touch Action News and their iconic theme song? Maybe Donovan likes that. He probably only watches sports highlights, in which case I recommend KYW. I hear their sports producer/blogger is a wonderful guy.
Question 4: Who wins in a fight: Allen Iverson, Eric Lindros, Ryan Howard, or yourself?
Looking at the last generation of Philadelphia sports, these guys are the “faces” of their respective franchises. Sure, two of them are gone, but can YOU name anyone on the Sixers or Flyers who is as popular as A.I. or Lindros?
This would probably look like a WWE event gone haywire. But Howard swings and misses too much and Lindros’ equilibrium is roughly equivalent to Jell-O’s these days, so it comes down to A.I. vs. D-Mac, and I’m taking Iverson. I’ve seen his posse. Dude rolls about 90 deep, and McNabb’s mama and her Chunky Soup ain’t helping. Speaking of which…
Question 5: What’s your favorite flavor of Chunky Soup?
I think this one is self-explanatory. And yes, I know that’s not really his mama. But it reminds me of a good anti-Eagles joke: Why does Donovan McNabb eat his soup out of a mug? Because he chokes around big bowls. Yeah, I don’t find it funny either.
Hopefully you found this funny enough to get to the end. And hopefully my editors found it funny enough to forgive the specious interpretation of the topic.