November 9, 2011

Ten Questions with Kyle Parsons

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For this edition of 10 Questions, Sun Columnist Katie Schubauer sits down with men’s soccer senior defenseman Kyle Parsons. They discuss Parsons’ love of traveling, hoarding and skateboarding.1. Kyle, you are the captain of the Cornell men’s soccer team. What has soccer meant to you over the course of your college career?It has meant quite a bit to me. One of the main reasons I came to Cornell in the first place, or even got interested in Cornell, was because of soccer. It’s an experience that is like nothing else at Cornell. The camaraderie that I have with my teammates, the experience of traveling all over and the thrill of competition at this level have all been priceless to me while I’ve been here.Who is your favorite teammate?I wouldn’t say I necessarily have a favorite teammate. There are a lot of unique characters on the team and they all have their own special qualities and quirks. But the group as a whole is just absolutely amazing and we have really good team chemistry. I wouldn’t change my teammates for the world.Do you have any nicknames on the team?Any nicknames? Mostly everyone just calls me K.P. Very, very few people call me Kyle. Almost nobody calls me Kyle.How about “Mr. Squiggles”?“Mr. Squiggles”? That’s probably from one of my teammates who calls me all sorts of ridiculous names. We pretty much get more and more ridiculous off of each other and feed off each other’s quirky energy.Do you have any superstitions?I am really superstitious — if not the most superstitious player — on the team. I can’t shave or cut my hair the day before a game. I don’t tie my shoelaces during warm-ups, as weird as that sounds. When we get in a huddle right before a game and do our whole ra-ra-ra, let’s-go-team thing, I always have to say a certain phrase right after we do our cheer. I can’t really say it because there are a few expletives in it but I always have to say it right before a game or the game won’t go according to plan. 2. You are from Arizona, correct?Yup.Do you think that that contributes to what friends have deemed your “mellow vibes and overall chillness?”Yeah, I would say so. I would say there is definitely a dichotomy between West Coast culture and East Coast culture. And while the West Coast is definitely more chill, I think that there are positives to the East Coast, as well, and I’m really glad I’ve had the experience at Cornell to get a broader perspective of how everything works around the country. But yeah, it definitely contributes to my “mellow vibes.”Describe your interesting upbringing.I’ve had a pretty unique upbringing, I’d say. My father drives ships for a living. He is the captain of a bunch of different ships so he has been gone pretty much half my life and my mom lived at home. We owned a variety of different businesses. She ran our bar and rodeo in a really small town in Arizona, a town of 4,000 people. She also helped with my dad’s flight instruction business, teaching people to fly planes, and also his scuba-diving instruction business. My family just did a lot of really unique things and one of the things we emphasized when I was growing up was travelling. So I’ve been to 48 states out of 50.What are you missing?Alaska and North Dakota. I could definitely get to North Dakota. Alaska — we’ll see how long that takes me. So they really emphasized travelling and it wasn’t the type of travel where you would fly there and stay in a hotel and do all that. We would always do road trips and stay in a travel trailer and really kind of experience the local culture. It was really an invaluable experience to me and I’m so grateful that I was able to see that many different parts of the country and meet that many different types of people. My dad taught me how to fly when I was ten and I’ve been doing that ever since. Do you think that your hometown being in Arizona is why you have such an affinity for greasy Mexican food?Oh, without a doubt. Just being from the Southwest in general and living an hour away from the border, the Mexican food is unlike anything anywhere else besides maybe Southern California.

3. Some of your hobbies include skateboarding and watching movies, correct?Yes. One of the running jokes on the team is that I drop a lot of movie quotes just randomly because I feel like I have one for every context.What are some examples?I quote The Big Lebowski quite a bit. One of the kids on the team is named Walter Donica and there is a character in The Big Lebowski named Walter who is pretty ridiculous. So I give him a lot of crap with quotes from that movie. I also quote Super Troopers a lot. And then there are a lot of times when I’ll just drop a random quote and no one will have any idea what I’m talking about and they’ll all kind of look at me funny.And what about skateboarding?You can definitely find me riding my skateboard at random hours of the day. It’s just so much faster for me to get around and it cuts my transportation time in half whether I’m going to, or coming from, somewhere. I’ve ridden home at 5 a.m. or 6 a.m. after being out or after being at the library, so it’s really just kind of a universal mode of transportation for me. It’s almost meditational for me. I just get in the zone, don’t think about anything else and just enjoy riding. I think too many people here at Cornell often forget to take some time in the day to just enjoy their surroundings.Is it true you also like to draw buildings?I do like to draw buildings. As weird as it is, this summer when I was interning in New York City, I would sit in Central Park and draw buildings randomly. Sometimes I got some weird looks but it has always been a passion of mine. Architecture has always been a passion of mine.Are you an architect here?I’m in AAP in Urban Planning. With soccer, architecture is just not really possible. I originally wanted to do that, but they kind of told me, “no.” Growing up, it was always a passion of mine. My dad designed a completely passive solar house in Arizona — completely self-efficient — and that’s how I kind of got interested in the sustainability movement and architecture in general. Ever since then, I’ve had a very large affinity for buildings in general.

4. Is it true that you boast the best sound system on Cornell’s campus?I wouldn’t say necessarily the best, just because I am financially limited to an extent. But I am very, very particular about sound systems and stereos in general and it’s always been a passion of mine. I cannot stand when music sounds bad. I am really OCD about fine-tuning it, so if someone ever rides with me, they’ll notice that I’m always fiddling with my stereo.You built your own stereo, correct?Yeah, I’ve built home theater speakers before and I do all my own installations as far as car stereos and stuff go. I really kind of like the hands-on aspect of it. It makes me feel more scientific, I guess. Science was never one of my strong suits in school and I guess being able to work with electrical components and stuff really makes me feel a little bit smarter (laughing).What type of music do you like to listen to?As cliché as it sounds, I literally like everything. It really is so cliché, but I’m a really big fan of the delta blues, jazz, classic rock, reggae — my dad lived in Hawaii for four years when I was in high school so I definitely had some reggae influences coming from that. Literally everything besides a lot of the crappy dubstep that’s coming out these days.Some of your friends claim to have caught you listening to NPR. Is that true?Oh, definitely. It’s one of my nerdy indulgences. I rep the NPR app on my iPhone. Over spring break, I did a road trip with two of my friends and after a while when music started being mundane, I’d want to listen to NPR and they’d get pretty annoyed about it because they would say, “this is so boring.” But I listened to it growing up with my parents, and to an extent, it kind of relaxes me. 5. Many of your friends have commented on your supreme culinary skills both during the day and after nights out. Can you comment on that?(Laughing) My mom swore that by the time I left for college, I would be able to cook well and clean well. So she, and my grandma, as well, would always have me in the kitchen growing up, and I think that really carried over. Having a full-on industrial restaurant-type kitchen when I lived there definitely aided this habit. The deep fryer definitely got some use and I definitely came up with some … let’s say, creative dishes during my tenure there.

6. You said your mom taught you how to clean, but some of your friends said that you are a hoarder. Can you comment on that?Let’s see, I go through bouts of being less clean than usual. Generally I am a very clean person, but when I get too busy, I just completely drop my cleanliness almost, especially with laundry. A lot of times, I will have done my laundry, but I just won’t fold it or put it away. So it will just sit there in my room until I’m eventually pissed off enough to make myself do something about it. 7. One of your friends claims that you are also known to have the occasional nervous breakdown. Is that true?Oh, it’s definitely true. I actually had one last night.What usually happens when those occur?Well, one of my biggest pet peeves is losing things, and I never lose anything big. But just losing things annoys me to an extent that I cannot describe in words. Little things like socks or a favorite shirt — if I lose them, I will just get so angry if I am looking for it. I will get SO angry.How do you resolve these breakdowns?They just run their course. I yell and rant and rave for a while and then eventually they go away. 8. Where did you spend your summer?This summer, I worked at a real estate company in New York City and I lived with Jeff Miritello at his house on Long Island.Yes, I am actually from the same hometown as Jeff.Oh really? Nice. CSH. It was a really cool place. I actually enjoyed it a lot. Being from a really rural area where there are a lot of natural surroundings and natural beauty, it was difficult for me to transition to city life. I liked the vibrancy of New York City and culturally it was awesome and I really enjoyed it, but it was nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of it. Cold Spring Harbor was a beautiful area and being able to be close to the water is always amazing. Going out on the boat was really amazing, and it just kind of gave me a reprise from five days a week in the city. The commute actually was one of my favorite parts.

9. Would you consider yourself shy?I would definitely consider myself shy. That’s been one of the things I’ve really tried to work on in college.Could you describe the goal you set for yourself this summer in order to help break out of your shell?(Laughing) OK. So my goal this summer was to talk to five different random girls just on the street, on the train — wherever — every day. People would ask me, “What is your in-goal with that? What are you trying to do? Do you think anything will happen?” And I said, “absolutely not.” I just wanted to get myself out of my comfort zone and just not be apprehensive when approaching people, whether it’s girls or a job interview or whatever. I’ve always been a little apprehensive about approaching people and doing that really helped me open up. I had a lot of good experiences.Could you describe any experiences that stemmed from this habit?There was one in particular when I was standing on a street corner and there was a girl with just the typical, super cold, New-York-City-girl kind of look and face and she was just in her own little world pretty much. I went up and smiled at her and I said, “You’re not fooling me for a second,” and she was so taken aback by it. I just walked away after. I didn’t say anything else. And she ran and caught up with me and just started berating me with questions about what I meant. And I pretty much told her, “You should smile more. You shouldn’t have this cold look on your face,” in nicer words than that. After that she went her own separate way and she definitely had a smile on her face. I saw way too many people who didn’t look happy in New York City, so I was helping them while helping myself also. 10. Which other Cornell team do you like to hang out with the most?It would probably be the women’s track and field team.I get that answer quite a bit.I can’t imagine why.

Original Author: Katie Schubauer