October 6, 2005

10 Questions With Soccer's Marks Brothers

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After the stunning upset of Penn last weekend, soccer twins Dan and Tom Marks took some shots on Sun Senior Writer Per Ostman.

1. So Dan, if I punch you in the arm, will Tom feel it?
Dan: I hope not. Because if he hit me, it would be like he’s hitting himself. But no, there’s no special “twin” connection between us, not like that.
Are you sure? Shouldn’t we test this out?
D: Okay, yeah. Punch me in the arm.
Tom: No, punch him in the face.
But then, if I punch him in the face and it works –
T: No, punch him in the face. I’d like that.
You guys really are brothers. I can feel the love.
T: I don’t get to punch him enough. He’s bigger than I am, so I don’t usually get any shots in.
Which of you would win in a fight?
T: Well, it depends. I mean, I’m a little more –
D: Wily.
T: Yeah, wily. I’m sneaky. He’s definitely got the strength on me. But I think if it was an all-out wrestling match, I could take him.
D: No, I’d definitely win. Just with brute strength. I’d hold him down. He wouldn’t be able to do anything.
T: Yeah, but when you did that, I’d just yell really loud and get people to come beat you.
So, it’s the “scream like a little girl” routine?
T: Yeah, pretty much.

2. What manner of twins are you? Identical? Fraternal?
D: We’re fraternal.
For those of us who never took bio, what exactly does that mean?
D: That means that there were two separate eggs that were fertilized, instead of just one egg that splits off into two.
You say that as if you’d had to explain this quite a bit.
D: Oh, I have.
Gotcha. But this means that you’re similar, but not completely identical. Have you ever been able to switch places?
T: We look similar, but I think we’re different enough that we could pull that off.
D: Teachers will call me “Tom” who have never met Tom before. It’s weird. But as far as switching places, I think people would definitely notice.
T: I’ve thought about it before. Switching places so he could take one of my tests or something.
What about for a girl?
T: Well, Dan doesn’t even talk to girls.
You don’t?
D: Yeah, it’s a problem. Tom has a girlfriend and I’m single. That’s one of the differences between us, I guess.
Okay, we’re going to have to come back to this. Hold that thought.

3. What’s it like playing on the same team, not just with your brother, but with your twin?
T: Dan will yell at me or I’ll yell at him, and we can take our frustrations out on each other instead of on someone else. He knows I don’t give a crap.
D: If I yell at Tom, I know he can take it.
T: It’s nice to be able to take our aggression out on each other, rather than on our team. Is there another dynamic between you two besides violence?
D: Yeah, I think we have a special connection. On the field, I guess we can sort of anticipate what the other one’s going to do. But it’s not an ESP thing, like some people would think.
T: We’ve just played together for so long. Like, I know what Dan’s going to do, I know what kind of pass he’s going to make.
D: Yeah, I know when Tom’s going to make a mistake and I’m going to have to bail him out.
You guys are obviously pretty competitive with each other.
D: Yeah, I’d say. Coming to college, we went separate ways as far as majors go, so academically it’s kind of died down.
T: That’s because you’ve always been smarter than me.
Did you consider going to different colleges?
D: Yeah, we never planned on coming to the same school. It just worked out that way. We never went into it thinking that we had to go to the same place, or not, just because we’re twins.

4. What’s the hardest part about having a twin brother?
T: There’s nothing really “bad” about it. I guess the most annoying thing is having people call me “Dan” or not know who I am.
Do you ever mess around with those people?
T: Yeah, sometimes.
D: I answer to “Tom” now.
T: Yeah, now if someone calls me “Dan,” I’ll just let it go and let it roll off my back. But on the inside, I’ll be like “Dammit!”
D: Actually, the worst part about being a twin is getting asked so many questions about it. Not to make fun of this interview or anything.
Well, this time it’s all in print. Everyone will see this, and then you won’t get asked stupid questions ever again.
D: There you go. Hopefully.
What’s the best part about having a twin brother?
D: Always having someone I can talk to. Someone I can yell at and punch when I’m mad, and somebody I can share my “deepest, darkest secrets” with.
T: Yeah, we’re best buddies, so that’s the best thing. Dan’s someone I can joke around with. We have the same sense of humor. We like making fun of people.

5. Soccer seems like it will never be more than maybe the fifth most popular sport in the United States. You two are obviously excellent athletes – why did you start playing soccer, and what made you focus on it to the point that you’re now playing in college?
T: We have an older brother who played in college and then professionally, and we’d always play with him growing up. I remember going up to the school field by our house every night to play soccer. And even in kindergarten, we were always good. It got to the point where the other high schools in our area were afraid to play the team with “the twins” on it.
The Team With The Twins. That’s pretty intimidating.
D: We tried other sports, too. Basketball and some lacrosse. But soccer was always the constant. And it was definitely because of our older brother. He picked up the game when it wasn’t popular at all in the United States and introduced it to us.

6. Your goalkeeper last fall, David Mahoney ’05, just became the first Cornellian to start in an MLS game (for the Chicago Fire). Any chance we’ll see the two of you at the next level?
D: I would love to go as far as I can with soccer. Growing up, it was always a dream of mine to play professionally. I guess I still have it as a goal of mine to make it to the MLS or the A League, like [Scott] Palguta [’05]. But those guys took a lot of time off during their senior years to pursue that – it would be a huge commitment for me to do that, and I’m not sure yet if I’m ready to do that, but if the opportunity came up I would definitely try.
T: Yeah, the same for me, definitely. If it comes up, I’d love to try out.
How does that work? Is there an “ID” camp?
D: Yeah, the main thing is the combine, like in football. It’ll be the top-50 or 60 college prospects. Under that, there’s another combine for the second-tier guys. And then there’s the draft.
T: And you can try out for teams, too. We trained with a professional team, the Portland Timbers, over the summer. That was a good experience, getting to know the coaches and stuff. If you get to know them, they’ll remember you and you might get to try out later.

7. Have you guys ever seen any Marx Brothers movies? Is your older brother named Zeppo?
D: We actually have five Marks brothers in our family.
Are you kidding? So, Groucho, Zeppo …
D: Harpo, Chico. And Gummo.
Gummo? Is it Gummo? I don’t think it’s Gummo.
T: Something like that. We actually have two younger brothers that are twins.
That’s like winning the lottery twice. Your mother must be made of steel.
D: Yeah, she’s quite an amazing woman. There are seven kids in the family overall.
There must be nothing to do in Oregon.
D: Well, there’s never a dull moment in our family.

8. Speaking of Oregon, can you tell me why every member of the Portland Trail Blazers is completely insane? Is it something in the water?
D: It’s the GM. He drafts the wrong people.
So, players with drug problems and vicious pit-bulls are the wrong people?
D: Yeah, it seems like everyone on the team has a criminal
record. But it’s definitely not the water. I love the water.
T: Yeah, we love the Jail Blazers. Even now, and all through high school, we still follow them. Back in the day, they were good.
Back with Clyde the Glide?
T: Clyde the Glide, and then they got to the Western Conference Finals with Rasheed, and guys like Damon Stoudamire.
Didn’t he try to smuggle marijuana through an airport, but he wrapped it in tinfoil and it set off the metal detector?
T: Yeah, trademark Jail Blazers.

9. What’s the hottest women’s team at Cornell?
T: Women’s basketball. No doubt about it.
D: You’ve gotta say why.
Yes, you definitely have to say why.
T: Because the most amazing girl in the world –
Are you dating her?
T: Yeah.
Then it doesn’t count! I’m not going to let you get away with this.
T: But I have to.
No you don’t! She’s not here! Is everyone on the basketball team as ravishingly beautiful as your girlfriend?
T: Well, no.
Let’s give him a minute to think about it. What about you, Dan?
D: I’d hate to close any doors, because I am single, but I have to go with the track team. They’re here to stay in shape.
The running-around-in-underwear thing helps.
D: I also have to say that the women’s soccer team is in there second.
It’s funny you mention that. I have it on good authority that several members of the soccer team have huge crushes on you.
T: That’s because they all know that I’m taken.
D: Oh yeah, that’s gotta be it.
T: Dan’s totally oblivious to women, so it doesn’t matter anyway.
D: No, I’m not!
T: You are, man! People tell me all the time, “hey this girl has a crush on your brother.” But I can’t do anything because he never does anything.
Okay, Dan. Girls have long hair, soft skin, and –
D: Hold on, I need to take some notes.
Yeah, write this down.
D: I’m just way too busy for a girl.
T: That doesn’t mean you can’t, you know, go talk to them.
D: I know! I just don’t want to get – I don’t know.
T: This is your chance, man! Just say, “Ladies, come talk to me.”
Do you want me to run your phone number?
D: 503-381 –
I was kidding. Tom, you need to give me another team besides women’s basketball.
T: I’m going to get in trouble.
No, you’re not! I haven’t broken anyone up. Yet.
T: Okay, then. Overall, I’d have to say soccer and volleyball.
Well, which is it?
T: Oh, Jesus.
Jesus isn’t here. Pick one.
T: Volleyball. Let’s go with volleyball. Spandex shorts. They’ve got some good looking girls. But put something nice in about my girlfriend.
Okay. She’s beautiful. Let’s move on.

10. If you could have the ability to fly, the strength of 100 men, or the power of invisibility, which would you pick and why?
D: Fly, definitely. Traveling is awesome. I’d love to travel all over the world. How fast could I fly?
As fast as you want.
D: Great! Definitely flying. You could go anywhere, and it would be like a rollercoaster whenever you wanted. It would be awesome!
T: That’s the stupidest answer ever.
Well, then how about you?
T: I’d have to go with the strength.
What, you don’t already have the strength of 100 men?
T: That’s the thing. I get made fun of enough for being weak. So it would be nice to finally kick some ass.

10 Question With Per Ostman will appear every Thursday, or until he gets fired. Suggestions, comments, and hate mail can be sent to per.ostman@mac.com.

Archived article by Per Ostman
Sun Senior Writer