May 1, 2013

10 Questions With Rob Pannell

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1. How did you get involved with lacrosse?

I started playing in fourth grade. I had always played baseball growing up — my dad played baseball and football at Brown — so I was always a baseball player, but one of my best friend from home played lacrosse and I was over his house playing and he said I should try the sport, and I got into it immediately. I put my baseball mitt away and have been playing lacrosse ever since. My uncle had played at Hofstra [and] my family knew a little bit about it, so I started playing.

What made you like lacrosse more than baseball?

It’s just faster paced, which is what I loved most. Lacrosse is constant action, and the position I play allows me to have the ball in my stick a lot, which I like, and I like to be a part of what’s going on. It’s more exciting and fun for me.

How did you choose Cornell and what has your experience been like here?

Cornell was really the only school that was willing to give me a shot as far as top tier, Division I schools go. They were the only school that really wanted me, and they had never even seen me play live. I came up on my visit here, and I loved the passion that the coaches had for lacrosse and winning. They talked about family, and I could really see something that I wanted to be a part of, which it has been. I’ve made friendships and learned lessons that are going to last me forever. It has truly been a remarkable experience, so much that I have been here for five years, and it’s great.

How did you make the decision to redshirt?

It was after I broke my foot. College lacrosse is the pinnacle of lacrosse; it’s the highest level as far as I’m concerned, the most competitive and there’s nothing like it. To have one of those four years that you’re guaranteed taken away from you and to have a chance to come back for a fifth year was really a no-brainer. I love Cornell and the program so to come back for another year and play for Coach DeLuca and with my teammates was certainly an opportunity I wasn’t going to pass up on.

Are you playing for the Lizards next year?

I have been drafted with them, and I have the opportunity to play for them, so I will decide at the end of the season, but it was awesome to have been drafted.

2. Can you tell me about your time at Deerfield Academy?

My time at Deerfield was great. I met J.J. Gilbane there, and we became best friends instantly. We share a lot of the same things and same passions for everything. J.J. was really one of the first people who got me into working out, so we were known for going into the weight room at night and we had fun. It was an awesome experience at a very prestigious academy and a special place to be a part of.

Did you both already know you were coming to Cornell when you met?

I didn’t, but J.J. knew. I wasn’t being recruited by Cornell at all at this point but he actually told the coach about me, which I think helped a great deal. I owe him a lot for coming here.

3. Do you have any behind-the-scenes scoop from the ESPYs?

So the night of the ESPYs there’s an award ceremony and then an after party. Cee Lo Green and Lupe Fiasco performed, and you are right in front of them, which was really cool.

Did you meet any other celebrities?

Yeah, a bunch. My ex-girlfriend who was with me at the time was neighbors with Matt Hasselbeck and he was there with his wife, so I went right up to him and introduced him to my girlfriend since they didn’t really know each other. They ended up talking and his wife came over and that was pretty cool. Later in the night there was a chicken and waffles after-after party with a bunch of late night food. My ex-girlfriend and I were on line for the food with people like Dirk Nowitzki. Tim Tebow, Tyson Chandler and Jason Kidd, so it was pretty special.

Why do you only date girls named Jessie?

It’s just a great name. The two girls I’ve dated are named Jessie: Jessi Steinberg who played lacrosse here and graduated last year and Jessie Neiman who currently goes here, is abroad right now. It just happened to work out that way and I’ve been getting the brunt of it ever since, so now I strictly go for girls named Jessie. It wasn’t ideal that they spelled their names differently though; resulted in some awkward, not ideal, spelling your girlfriend/ex-girlfriend’s name wrong situations.

What other features do you look for in females?

They have to be shorter than me. I tend to like brunettes, tiny girls. The two Jessies that I’ve dated have been pretty similar, so I guess that’s probably my type. I tend to like exotic looking girls, not sure why.

4. Has your big butt contributed to your athletic success?

Absolutely. Through the years working out I’ve only added to my big butt, but it helps move me around the field. It shields me from my defenders. The “lax babes” know what I’m talking about.

5. Do you have any memorable stories from your trip to Europe last semester?

I went with J.J. Gilbane and two friends from home. J.J. and I were touring Europe for two weeks by ourselves before my other friends got there and we were winging it the whole time, booking hotels and flights as we went. At times it wasn’t the most organized trip, but we had a great time. Ibiza was the best. We also went to Oktoberfest and we stayed in tents at this place called Stoke Travel.  It was the joke of the trip because the tents weren’t big and there were three of us in a tent. At this point, there was J.J., my one friend who was 6-4 and me. It was a six-foot by six-foot tent, so as you can imagine the setup of three grown men in a tent wasn’t exactly ideal. They gave us a yoga mat to sleep on, and a sleeping bag that wasn’t much of a sleeping bag. One night, I fell asleep on my iPad as my pillow. I think we stayed in our clothes for three straight days. The motto for Stoke Travel where we stayed is “your tent or mine,” and I’ll leave it at that.

6. What kind of hairspray works best?

Ah, of course, the hairspray comes up. I have hairspray in my locker so the guys make fun of me for it. I like to be presentable, so after I shower, I put a little hairspray in my hair. Everyone on the team has their own naturally flowing hair and mine doesn’t flow very naturally, so I need a little bit of stick and hold. I’ll usually go with the biggest bottle I can find that’s on sale.

7. Tell me about your Instagram.

Instagram straight flexin’. I love Instagram and get made fun of for it by the guys because I have a lot of little kids that follow me and like my pictures. It’s a joke on the team for me to tag my teammates in all my pictures so they get some followers, so they’re always trying to get me to put their names in it.

Does it work?

Yeah it does. I know they’re just mocking me when they get some new followers, but I think it’s great. I like it a lot better than Twitter and how you can connect everything with it. It’s become a running joke that if someone has a picture, ‘just let Rob Instagram it,’ because everyone’s always commenting on them, so I just go with it.

How do you get some of the cool angles of your pictures?

A lot of my pictures are during practice and if I’m not practicing I’ll try to lay down on the turf and get some pretty good pictures. One of our assistant coaches also takes a lot of pictures because he’s a big picture guy.

On the topic of social med

ia, what is ‘Pannellwatch’?

‘Pannellwatch’ is a Twitter account that was created last year, and I still don’t know who it is. I’m assuming it’s someone on the team, maybe one of my friends. It’s a little creepy actually because I’ll be in the library and they’ll tweet something about me being there and I’m not even following them. It started when I broke my foot and someone created the Twitter account thinking it’d be funny to update on Rob Pannell’s injury status and now it’s become Rob Pannell spotted at Pixel.

Have you been making a conscious effort to figure out who’s behind it?

No. I think it’s funny and was funnier when it first came out, but I haven’t seen too many tweets from them lately. Maybe it’s someone from The Sun.

8. Who are the three kings?

So that’s our attack line of Steve Mock, Matt Donovan and myself. I guess we kind of labeled ourselves as the three kings, I think it was Matt Donovan who came up with the name. We just stuck with it and it has become the joke of our team because the three of us get a lot of the press.

Do your teammates actually refer to you three as that?

Sometimes. We’re trying to get it trending. #Twitter.

Where does your personal nickname of Hollywood originate?

I tend to be one of the more trendy, into style guys on the team. I like to dress well. I’m always wearing sunglasses with my suits, or color combinations, so Tom Freshour gave me that nickname, which is funny because my uncle’s nickname is Hollywood, and I kind of like that nickname. He’s the only one who uses it though.

Do you have any other good nicknames?

RP3 is my favorite. It was given to me my freshman year by Max Seibald. There’s Chris Paul, CP3, and RG3, so RP3 is probably one of my favorites.

9. Who maintains body hair better, you or Russell Scott?

I’ll have to go with myself. I like to keep myself well groomed, and guys on the team think that that’s a little weird. I’m just not a big fan of hair. It goes hand in hand with the Hollywood thing.

Marry, chill or ditch: Russell “Gator” Scott, Tony “Phat Tony” Britton, or Matt “T-Man” Taylor?

Marry Tony, chill with Russell Scott and ditch T-Man, for obvious reasons.

If you had to choose, would you rather have your own or Chris Langton’s body?

I’ll say Chris’. He’s an Olympic athlete, so that’s all that needs to be said. I’ve worked very hard for mine though; Chris’ is very natural.

Would you agree with Seventeen magazine’s ranking of you on its of hottest college athletes list?

I probably wouldn’t have put me on the list; however, since I was on the list I was upset I wasn’t No. 1. After seeing some of the people on the list, I realized it was pretty much a joke of a list so it ended up not being as cool as I thought it was, but I’ll take it. It was probably my biggest accomplishment yet.

10. What has been your craziest experience at Cornell?

It was probably after we lost our last game last year. We didn’t have any more lacrosse and it was May 4th, the earliest we had finished. I got my first taste of college for three weeks straight and it was pretty awesome. I stayed until graduation and had a lot of fun.

Does it ever upset you guys when you have to miss Slope Day or graduation?­­

Yeah, but we always joke about it. We have our own Slope Day in the Fall — when we’re conditioning we go and do sprints up the slope. I missed it last semester so I’m not getting any Slope Day this year, but I’ve had it in the Fall for the past four years. It’s pretty comparable. We probably enjoy it more than the normal Slope Day. But no, it’s nice to host the Ivy League tournament and we can go check it out early in the day, drinking water, and then I guess we’ll enjoy Slope Day after we graduate and come back. And then we always have a goal to miss graduation. My freshman and sophomore years they missed it, so if we’re missing graduation that’s a good thing and that’s something we’ll all be excited for. No one wants to sit through graduation.

Original Author: Reena Gilani