February 1, 2012

10 Questions with Connor Pardell

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Armed with a box of tissues and two tape recorders for insurance purposes, 10 Questions columnist Alex Kuczynski-Brown ’12 sat down with Connor Pardell ’13 of the men’s polo team. With the soundtrack of CTB permeating the background, they discussed his Narcoleptic tendencies, Tebowing in the Holy Land, his love of barley sandwiches — and what it means to “Bosh.”

1. First off, how did you come to start playing polo?

So my mom’s an equestrian, and so when I was little I started riding … It wasn’t really — I guess — “cool” to be an equestrian rider, and it interfered with my basketball and baseball in middle school and high school. So when I was in eighth grade, I skipped my winter season and moved to Florida to be an equestrian. I got really bored of it, and down there I started playing polo because it’s the polo capital of America down in Florida. So I started it, loved it, and ever since then I’ve loved polo.

Is that how you came to become a Tim Tebow fan — from being in Florida? Though I guess this was before his time.

[laughing] I’m actually not a Tim Tebow fan.

But I saw your Birthright pictures, and there seemed to be lots of Tebowing going on.

Yeah, we just got a little carried away. [laughing] Pretty much, I’m not a big Tebow fan because I’m a huge Jets fan, and Tebow took down the Jets which I was not too happy about. But when you’re in the Holy Land, you have to Tebow. It’s what you have to do.

So would you ever consider Tebowing after scoring a goal? I imagine that might be kind of difficult, being on a horse and all.

You know I’ve thought about it, but I could never do that.

You mentioned you played high school baseball and basketball; you were the captain of both teams I understand. What made you decide to really focus on polo and pursue that in college?

It was the only one I was good enough to play college in, to be honest. Baseball and basketball were just hobbies of mine. Polo was the only one that was unique enough and I was good enough I guess. …  I’m not like 6-7, I can’t play basketball, so I can check that one off the list.

One of your teammates wanted me to ask you: would you prefer being a starter on the basketball team or the polo team?

Wow. [thinking] Hmm, okay, I would probably say the basketball team. You know — more exposure, the chicks love it. … But I love the polo guys, I love the team, I love my coach, so I wouldn’t trade that for the world. Maybe a day as a starting basketball player might be pretty cool.

It seems that everyone is guilty of this, but how do you go about trying to relive your high school basketball glory days?

Well, there’s always the Friday evenings at Newman, where you rock the cut-off and the high socks, and just try to be, you know, that white kid that played basketball in high school, which pretty much half of Cornell is.

2. So going along with the polo questions, do you have any superstitions or things you do every time before getting on a horse?

I don’t think I’m that superstitious, no.

What about spraying your horse with two sprays of cologne?

[laughing] Okay, so I don’t tell anybody about this so there’s only one person that would have you ask this question. … So I really hate bad smells, and the barn — it smells terrible. I don’t know if you’ve ever been?

I ride actually — I’m at Oxley like every week, so I’m familiar with it.

Not only do horses smell, but Oxley has its own stench, and so the clothes you wear you have to have vacuum-packed so it can’t spread around your room. But yeah, I spray cologne two times before I get on every match because … it feels like it’s fresh.

What kind of cologne?

It’s just Axe — Axe Body Spray.

Strong stuff.

It has to be strong — they smell so bad. I don’t know how anyone lives with it. I think I’m immune now, to be honest, because I’ve been in there for so long.

But on that note, someone on the women’s team mentioned that your feet smell awful, and that when you all go on road trips together they have to bring a bottle of Febreze otherwise they will suffocate in their stench. So I have to ask: what smells worse — the horse, or your feet?

[laughing] Probably my feet. My feet are bad — like real bad. But this was only one instance that this came about. I didn’t take my shoes off for like over 24 hours, I think I slept with them on. I’m not going to tell you why or anything. Then we had a road trip the next day and finally I took them off in the van, and it was bad. Everyone was complaining. I just didn’t care, I was like “whatever, it’s not a big deal.”

But do they really bring Febreze on all your road trips?

Yes. I didn’t know it was for me, but I guess now I can put two and two together. It makes a lot more sense, for sure.

3. If you could be any object in polo, what would it be and why?

Umm [thinking] I guess I would be … that’s a weird question … I’d probably be … there aren’t that many objects in polo … but I’d probably be the cane on the mallet. I have no idea why. It’s bamboo, it bends, it’s cool … there’s no reason besides that.

Well, that’s interesting, because some of your current and former teammates describe you as a whip.

[laughing] Oh my god.

Do you have any idea why that is? Does it have something to do with your girlfriend, Lauren?

Next question. [laughing] I’m 100 percent not whipped — I have friends more whipped than I’ll ever be … this is ridiculous.

You have to tell me: when Lauren visited your hometown for the first time, where did you take her?

It was supposed to be sweet and stuff. … There’s a lot of history in Poughkeepsie … so I took her to FDR’s mansion. I have a horse farm in Poughkeepsie — showed her around there, and there’s also a walk bridge over the Hudson River. It’s kind of romantic, I guess; I’m a romantic, you can put it down.

I understand that you bought her some souvenirs from FDR’s mansion?

No, I would never buy her anything of FDR … she bought it for herself, I would never buy her anything of FDR.

There was no mug or DVD from that trip?

No comment.

Speaking of your hometown, is it true that you went to high school with Snooki?

[laughing] No, that’s not true. Common misconception. The high school I went to — Spackenkill High School — it’s in Poughkeepsie. She lived across the river and just wanted to be affiliated with Poughkeepsie … so she’s not from the hood.

4. Some of your teammates seem to think you have Narcolepsy, given that you fall asleep instantly in awkward positions and weird places. Can you deny that?

[laughing] I cannot. I do some pretty weird stuff. When we’re on road trips, I fall asleep really [quickly], and I fall asleep with my mouth open.

Can you talk about the competition your teammates invented that they play whenever you fall asleep?

So I fall asleep usually with my head back and to the side, with my mouth fully open. And the competition is either how much food can you put in Connor’s mouth without him waking up, or how much time it takes for Connor to realize there’s food in his mouth until the time he wakes up. There were a couple times — where it really wasn’t funny cause I almost choked — but I’ve adopted this technique on other players who have started to sleep with their mouths open. So I’m trying to pass it along.

What kind of food?

It can be anything from pretzels, to — Ali Hoffman ’12 makes a great trail mix — which when I wake up to some tasty trail mix I’m not complaining about that. I think just pretzels, chocolate chips and trail mix are pretty much the ones.

And how much can you hold in your mouth?

I don’t know, they could probably tell you more than I can.

They said it was a lot.

Yeah, it’s probably a lot. I choked a little bit sometimes, so it had to be a lot.

Also on the topic of your sleeping habits: why is it that you won’t sleep with any doors open?

I don’t know, superstition I guess. … I’ve always felt safer with the doors closed, and more in control. I like being in control.

That’s valid. I’m the same way — sense of security, I get that. But the way Logan [Pardell ’11] put it, you [are] afraid of monsters.

[laughing] Naw, it’s just security. There’s so many times I’m saying “goodnight,” I’m going to bed and I’m about to fall asleep, and he just opens all the doors in my room … it’s so annoying, I’m just like “stop.”

5. The next couple questions are directly from your teammates. Firstly, you mentioned girls loving basketball players, but we all know it’s no secret that women love polo players.

Oh, for sure.

So one of your teammates wanted me to ask you, hypothetically, “If you were a girl — suppose your name was Kristen and you were on the women’s polo team — which player on the men’s team would you most like to saddle up on?”

Besides myself, of course? [thinking] It would hands-down be Tate Lavitt ’14.

Why?

There’s no reason why. It’s Tate Lavitt.

He just has an aura?

No. It’s cause that’s the one person Nik Feldman ’14 would not want me to say.

[laughing] Fair enough. You’re catching on to where we’re going with this. I’m also supposed to ask you who’s the most “well-hung” in the saddle?

Most well-hung in the saddle? Umm, I have no idea … I’m not even going to guess. I don’t know, I don’t really want to know. … Ask the girls, they’ll probably tell you.

For the sake of me not getting fired from 10 Questions, “well-hung” refers to stirrup length?

Yes, of course, yes.

Of your teammates, whose skill or talent would you most like to have, on-and-off the field?

There’s different segments … Nik has probably got the most pure talent on the field. He’s a really great player. Off the field, Conor O’Brien ’12. He’s jacked, so I wish I could bench as much as he could and rep those muscles.

What about dancing? Your girlfriend said that you try so hard to be a good dancer but just don’t have any rhythm.

I mean — I’m white, I’m Jewish, so God’s already got it against me. But whose got the best moves on the team? … Nobody has good moves on the team, to be honest with you.

I guess as far as your dancing goes, what is your go-to move?

I’ve got a lot of go-tos … There’s the shoulder shake, there’s the shimmy. It depends on the music, but I’ve got a couple go-tos.

What about the heart beat?

Specific songs, but yeah, I mean if you really want me to get soulful music, you gotta go with the heart beat.

Any particular soulful music or songs that would cause you to break that one out?

[thinking] Usher. Any Usher songs — you know, get the soul, R&B in there. … If I’m in a level to do that, then I can’t trust myself not to.

6. What does the term “Boshing” mean? Apparently you say that a lot.

Oh god. [laughing and clapping] I forgot about this, too. … There’s a viral YouTube video about LeBron James’ “The Decision,” and it’s a different decision that LeBron James makes — him and Chris Bosh have some sort of connection towards the end of that viral video that LeBron talks about. So if you take a look at that video, you’ll understand exactly what Boshing is.

Could you use it in a sentence?

“I had the best night last night. Me and this girl were Boshing on the dance floor.”

7. Apparently you love to think you’re a matchmaker. Have you had any success in that department?

I have a couple success stories. Once one’s highlighted, I’ll put it out there, but I’m still working on it. … When you have a girlfriend, you got to help other kids out, I guess. It’s my way of giving back.

Guys on the team?

I try. We’ve got the most eligible bachelors on the polo team … make sure people know that. I’ve tried to work some magic, we’ll see where it goes.

8. I understand your favorite food is barley sandwiches. How many barley sandwiches do you think you could consume on a given day?

[laughing] We’ll just put it out there: you snack down 10 barley sandwiches, maybe even 15, and you Bosh on the dance floor — that’s a great night. That’s a fantastic night. … In a given day, I could probably hands-down hit 15 barleys. If I’m really hungry, I can snack down 15 barleys.

In addition to Boshing, apparently when you consume a lot of barley sandwiches you like to try to speak Spanish with your Spanish friends? Do you know Spanish?

I did in high school. It’s always good to know Spanish. When I have a few barleys, I pretend like I know it, and I really don’t, so it’s pretty embarrassing.

What kind of conversations do you have, or attempt to have?

I couldn’t even tell you, to be honest. I’m so full after the barleys I don’t really remember what the conversations are about.

9. I hear you resemble a very famous fictional male model, and that your life’s ambition is to be a hand model?

I have gotten told I look like Derek Zoolander. I’ve also gotten told sometimes I look like Tebow, which might have preempted the Tebowing. … Never any hand modeling, or anything like that. Even though I do have gorgeous hands. [admires hands]

I’m told that your Magnum face is out of this world.

I’ll show that to you some other time. I’ve got to practice … gotta get a little Blue Steel first before I can go to Magnum.

Yeah, I was watching clips from Zoolander earlier because I couldn’t remember the difference between Magnum and Blue Steel.

Huge difference … huge difference. I’ll show it to you later.

10. Can you talk about your pre-match playlist and your obsession with Lil Wayne?

I like a little mix. Obviously Lil Wayne and Drake to give you a little energy, a little boost. Then right before the game definitely some Avicii, Tiësto, some house music. It gets everyone pumped up. We try to blast it around the barn. It gets us pumped up, it gets the horses pumped up.

I was going to say, do the horses respond to the music?

For sure they do — they get a little bounce in their step, a little giddy-up. Definitely helps overall performance, for sure.

What are some of your nicknames on the polo team?

They pretty much stuck from high school to polo. I have a variety of nicknames. “CP2” or “CP-twice,” cause my number all of high school was No. 2, and Chris Paul is No. 3 — so CP2, CP3 is how I got that. “Pardelli” — I don’t know how that came out, either. I also got “Con-Bro.” I’ve gotten a lot, I just can’t think of them all right now. “CP2/CP-twice” is probably the main one I get.

And I see you had the very original screenname of “cjpsports,” which I guess given your three-sport background is appropriate.

Yeah, but don’t get me wrong, that was created when I was probably seven years old, when everything in my life revolved around sports. … My screenname was “cjpsports” and my password was “yodels” which was my favorite food — those were two things I cared about when I was that age, so I stuck with it.

Alex Kuczynski-Brown can be reached at akb@cornellsun.com. She’s hoping Connor will do his Magnum face for her over a barley sandwich sometime before she graduates.

Original Author: Alex Kuczynski-Brown