Ten Questions columnist Reena Gilani caught up with senior goalkeeper Rick Pflasterer this week to talk about his knack for finding bargains, his affinity for building computers and his natural talents as a dancer.
1. When did you start playing soccer?
I was five, it’s actually a funny story. I played on a house league soccer team with a dad that coached. I was the worst player by far; I was a defender. I was the kid they sat on the bench to never play. We were running hills one day and our goalie fell down the hill and broke his collarbone. Since I didn’t play anyway they stuck me in net. Two years later I started playing travel and kept moving up, and now I’m here.
How did you decide to come to Cornell?
I came to the camp here and they asked me to commit early. Two weeks later, when I was at the University of Michigan soccer camp, I called The Cornell coaching staff to commit.
Academics. For once, I decided to make a rational decision. My mom also had a dream that I was happy here, so that helped.
2. How would you describe your sleeping patterns on an average night?
I can sleep for 14 hours straight and I don’t hesitate to if I feel like I need it. Walter Donica ’13 says that I don’t sleep, I hibernate.
I hear you’re impossibly difficult to wake up. What’s the best method to get you awake?
It depends on the time. For 5 a.m. practices, shaking me will get me up. In the middle of the day, sunlight will eventually do it and teammates will open up my curtains. I won’t hear anybody coming into my room, though. Apparently I jolt up in bed — I don’t remember this, it’s just what I hear — and look at them and go back to sleep.
Are there any interesting things you do when you’re up late at night?
Yeah, I impulse shop for sure.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve ever bought?
I bought a gong at like 3:30 in the morning.
Any reason for that?
Not anything specific; it’s in the house. It’s a great decoration.
3. How do you always manage to get incredible deals when you’re buying stuff? I’ve been told 90% off on a lot of your purchases.
I’m definitely a schemer. I get an idea in my mind, I sell things I don’t need to get a lot of money back, and I count that as my net deal.
What about that time you sold your futon?
It was on our front porch and it wasn’t really hard to sell; one of my other friends was walking by and I was like ‘you want a futon?’ and he was like ‘yeah’. I said $50, he bargained $45, I said I’d help him walk it home for $50 and that was it.
So that’s considered a net profit in your mind.
Yeah, that one I didn’t even pay for! I was given it by a friend who didn’t want it and I made $50.
Are you sure she didn’t want it? I heard you —
She didn’t want it; I don’t care what they say. It was my futon.
What else have you sold?
I sold [senior forward] Tyler Regan’s Xbox controller this past week; that was an interesting deal.
Was he mad?
No, he didn’t hesitate to let me have it. I asked if I could sell it and he agreed.
Do you give him a cut of your profits?
Yeah sure, I’m fair. I’ll reimburse the controller. The problem is I sold Ian Panzica ’14’s Xbox for money and it needed to come with a controller, so I took Tyler’s and I will reimburse him for that. Then I upgraded to the new black Xbox 360.
What’s the story there?
My housemate Clayton Dubin ’14 needed a computer. I told him I’d give him $100 if he bought one of the computers that comes with a free Xbox. He did, and so I put out $100 for that. Then I sold that Xbox to Ian for $60 and he gave me his old one. That put me at $40 for an old Xbox, basically, and Ian upgraded. The Xbox I got from Ian didn’t play the game I wanted, Halo 3, because it was old, so I took his Xbox, four of my games and Tyler’s controller and sold it at GameStop for $135. The new Xbox is $200, so I got the new one for $70 altogether, plus my $40, and I kept the controller from Clayton’s Xbox that I sold to Ian — normally $35 to $40 — and so I was sitting at $110 for a new Xbox and two controllers.
So you actually made money in this situation.
Yeah, I’m okay with that.
4. Do your roommates get mad at you for any of your antics living around the house?
The only time anybody has ever really gotten mad at me was the fire extinguisher incident. I had never used a fire extinguisher, and I went out behind my house to try it out. My teammates also live in the house next door and someone in the window was goading me, he was in the second story, and so I opened fire at the window. I was so excited that it reached that I kind of kept it rolling and it just covered his room, and everyone in it, in fire extinguisher dust.
How did you manage to get it into the room?
I just sprayed at the window and it first covered the window and started to flow in. They have pretty good ranges. That’s a good experience because now I know I can hit a fire with an extinguisher from about 35 to 40 feet.
What was the aftermath of that?
[Junior midfielder] Aaron Oder wasn’t happy. I had to help him clean up his room after that, he was pretty mad at first.
Does Tyler get mad when you steal food from his room in the middle of the night?
It’s not the middle of the night … He’s awake most of the time. He’s very giving! Sometimes he’ll peer around and he’ll have some Sour Patch Kids, just a massive bag that’s too much for anybody, so I’m really just helping him. He has a five-pound bag so he’s not going to not eat it.
5. Can you tell me about the computers you’ve built? Have you ever sold any of those for money?
I have sold one, but I didn’t really make money off of it; it was more for the experience. I sold it to a girl that I know here, I see her sometimes and apparently it has a problem. I told her I’d fix it, but it hasn’t happened. Diana, if you bring your computer to me, I’ll fix it!
How did your interest in making computers start?
Well, I was pre-med and that didn’t go so hot. I was also an economics major for like a week and a half, then I was a sociology major and now I’m informational science. I decided to play with the hardware aspect of it and got pretty decent at that.
6. Are you a dancer?
I’m a great dancer. I don’t even know how to explain my moves. I just call it ‘The Rick Dance’.
Does this include the backflip?
Yeah, I tend to win dance-offs with the backflip … During Spring Break in Austria I participated in a dance-off with a kid who was so much better than me at dancing. He didn’t speak English. He was an awesome dancer so I had to pull out the backflip. I only have like one other move, that I can’t exactly explain, you’d need to get a video of that.
What about the Single Ladies dance?
Wow, who did you talk to? I can definitely do a good portion of it. I know it, but I can’t time it right yet; it definitely needs some refining.
7. You have a couple of sisters, right?
I have two sisters, yeah.
Did they ever pick on you?
I was a heavyset kid. My sister thought it was funny to have me go to the end of the diving board — it’s really mean. She’d have me just jiggle at the end of it.
How old were you?
I was really young, like six years old! I was really into the swim team at this time, too, so I was wearing a speedo. Her friends all thought it was funny so I went along with it, but I didn’t realize they were laughing at me, not with me.
8. Tell me about your perpetual nakedness now here at Cornell.
That’s what locker rooms are for anyway, right? Whenever anyone comes in, they say I’m always naked. I’m just going to blame it on timing.
9. I’ve heard that some of your teammates call you “Red”. Can you go into more detail?
It’s probably just the red hair. Aaron definitely calls me it the most, though I’ve heard it all my life.
Does your red hair give you any advantages or disadvantages?
People definitely notice me, which isn’t a bad thing.
How did you get into cutting your own hair?
When I was in high school I’d just shave it, and then I started trying to look better. I’ve had some bad haircuts, which took a lot of getting used to. I used to go to a lot of haircut places and was always disappointed so decided to just start doing it myself.
Have you ever cut anyone else’s hair?
Yeah, I’m the go-to guy on the soccer team. I’ve cut a bunch of guys’ hair — [junior forward] Dan Haber, [junior defenseman] Jake Rinow and [junior midfiedler] Benjamin Williams.
Do you charge them for it?
No, that’s a free service.
Do you do any crazy hairstyles?
On Walter. He was my roommate freshman year and still lives with me now. I cleared it with his girlfriend and I gave him an extravagant mohawk. It looks awesome.
10. What other Cornell athletic team do you like to hang out with most?
I’m going to go with the field hockey team.