Four years of blood, sweat and weird

By Patrick Murphy

The only thing better than watching the 2012 football seniors lead the turnaround of the Macalester football program over the last four years has been getting to know them off the field. Covering the football team each of the last four seasons has been my distinct pleasure, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to spotlight this eclectic bunch of friends. On Tuesday night, I sat down with the seniors to discuss everything from football to tater tots and nudity. TMW: When did you start playing football? Nate Sands: I started playing flag football in first grade, and tackle football in fourth. Karl Reichter: I started playing football freshman year of high school. T Joe Loiselle: Fifth grade. Mike Snavely: Third grade. Colin Westcott: Third grade. Will Dhonau: I played flag football until middle school, when I started playing tackle. Steve Fitzgerald: I started playing tackle football in fourth grade. Do you guys have any nicknames on the team? Will: Steve is Franchise. Karl: Will has too many. Steve: Big Willy. Karl: Or Good Time Willy. Colin: Or Uncle Willy’s Belly Soup. Mike: He’s still in my phone as One-Eye. Will: Sands is La Playa. Karl: Colin’s Rage Cage or Captain Red Sword. Colin: Also known as Ice Pick Swanson. Will: Karl is, of course, Hot Karl. Karl: The freshmen called me Coach Karl this year. Will: T Joe has some good ones, but he doesn’t like them. Steve: Tiny Dancer. Mike: Touchdown Loiselle. Colin: Wah-wah. Will: Snavely is Snave-o or the Snavel Academy. What’s the locker room dynamic like? Nate: It’s just a fun time. Steve: Lots of naked. Nate: Always cranking crazy music– Country, hip hop, dubstep. Karl: People get there an hour before practice starts just to take a nap or hang out. If there’s ever a scuffle during practice, it never carries over into the locker room. Will: I’ve never been a part of a team that has as much fun as we do. Mike: For a week straight the only thing we had on the radio was LMFAO. What are some interesting team traditions? Will: Weird Wednesdays. Colin: It’s a carry-over from the summer. Will: It can be very personal. People incorporate whatever is part of their Weird Wednesday. Everyone does their own weird thing. Karl: We also have Flannel Friday. Steve: I need to buy some flannel. Will: Ringing the Victory Bell is awesome. Colin: And singing the Victory Song. What are some of your most memorable moments from your Macalester football career? Nate: Without a doubt beating Hamline for the Paint Bucket Trophy. Karl: Hamline. T Joe: Hamline. Mike: Hamline. Will: Hamline. Steve: Hamline. Colin: Naked dancing… With the Paint Bucket on my head. With so many guys quitting over the years, what kept you seven playing hard all four years? Mike: These guys. Steve: Yeah, each other. Karl: We were motivated to make a difference in the program. Will: When we were recruited here the goal was to turn the program around. And now it’s coming to fruition, which is really cool to see. Karl: Fruition? Cool word. Steve: Big words for Big Willy. Will: I’m an English major… Is that even the right word? Colin: For me it’s so outside of football. I didn’t even play for two years [due to injuries]. It’s definitely something bigger than an individual. I think the fact that we all realize that is what has kept us all so close and working for each other and not just ourselves. Steve: I’ve never been a part of a team that’s so much of a family. Will: Football’s literally become who we are. It’s who we identify ourselves as, and not in a stereotypical way at all. I think we’ve defined ourselves by how hard we’ve worked and how much we’ve stuck together. If all of you were to live in the same house, what would it be like? Will: It’d be too weird to describe. Nate: Weird Wednesdays seven days a week. T Joe: Westcott would never have clothes on. Colin: A lot of phallus. Will: No clothes, and a lot of partying. Steve: Especially now that we don’t have anything to do. Football players are big, travel in packs and can be intimidating to small hipsters. What would you say to someone who finds you intimidating? Will: People need to realize that we came to Macalester for a reason. We’re student athletes. Definitely with an emphasis on student first. Karl: T Joe, are you going to say anything? T Joe: How about this. Clark Bledsoe is the biggest hipster at this school, and he’s our quarterback. Mike Snavely is one of the smartest guys out there. Yeah, we play football, but we also do other things. Will: We spend so much time together, so obviously we’re gonna’ stick together. Steve: But at the same time we’re not trying to exclude anyone. What is the most ridiculous story from your four-year career? Will: There was an empty box in the locker room one day this fall… Colin: You’re going to make me sound like an idiot. Will: We thought it would be really funny to put someone in the box to pop out and scare people. It must have been a Wednesday because it got taken to the next level. An unnamed member of the senior class, which was Colin, hid in the box. Naked. Colin: I was wearing socks, though. Karl: On his feet. Will: The cue was for a freshman to tap the box twice every time someone walked by, so that Colin could pop out and scare them. But Coach Jennison walked in, and the freshman thought it would be funny to tap the box. So, Colin jumped out and screamed right in front of our head coach. And then ran to his locker. Karl: But I said to coach, “Let’s be honest, this isn’t the weirdest thing you’ve seen Colin do naked.” Will: Could we just get naked pics of Colin for this article? What were some of the celebrations after beating Hamline? Will: Kissing the bucket. Steve: Tonguing the bucket. Will: Colin dancing naked with the bucket on his head. Colin: It later disappeared until Karl woke up with it the next morning. Karl: I was clutching it. It smelled of tater tots and our town car driver Omar. Five of the seven of you have long-term girlfriends. What makes football players such good boyfriends? Will: Oh, god. Colin: Size. Steve: Dedication. Will: Tight pants. Steve: But I don’t have an ass. Colin: T Joe’s can make up for it. T Joe: Are we seriously doing this? Colin: But in all seriousness, I think that’s part of it. You know, the attractiveness part. Mike: It’s the beards. Steve: I can’t grow facial hair either. What legacy do you hope to leave on Mac football? Steve: Winning. Will: One of success, but more important than that would be the bond that we’ve had. I don’t think you’ll find seven guys who are as close as we are. Colin: Setting that framework for the future of Mac football. Karl: The goal coming in was a winning season and to beat a MIAC team, and we accomplished both. And to know that we accomplished what we set out to do the first day we got here is a good feeling. Colin: And the pride, too. Wearing all that Mac football gear. Nate: Half my wardrobe is Mac football t-shirts and sweatshirts. Steve: It’s gonna be really exciting to watch down the road, too. The underclassmen are going to be really good. Will: The bottom line is that we’re leaving the program better than we found it.