Among the many crucial questions pondered by American football fans—Is Adu really 17?...What is/was a "Dallas Burn," anyway?...Anything like a "Cleveland Steamer"?...McBride: man or cyborg at this point?—here's one that doesn't receive nearly enough cranial bandwidth: Is Jimmy Conrad secretly one of the best sportswriters in the nation?
The XIDevils staff always crowds around the lone terminal here at our heavily fortifed headquarters, agitated like kids on Christmas morning, when a new Conrad column appears on ESPN.com. The strapping, ginger-topped Kansas City Wizards defender is consistently funny, self-deprecating and as insightful about his employer, Major League Soccer Inc., as any mere minion can risk in public. Is it a hallucination, though, or is he in unusually fine form this time? Stream-of-consciousness? Latin phrases? An imagined dialogue with a phantom elder? This isn't ghost-written hackery—because no professional ghost writer would let him get away with anything so original and, frankly, brilliantly odd. This is...fantastic!
Is there a better writer among professional football's ranks? (We've heard rumors that Rio Ferdinand turns out spare, haunting short stories in the style of Raymond Carver, but remain skeptical.) Can any American athlete match this prose? (Does Terrell Owens compose gnomic haiku?) Doubtful! Doubtful, I say again! Someone should get this man a book deal—McSweeney's, can ya holla back?
IN OTHER NEWS: The XIDevils National Desk obtained credentials for the upcoming DC United v. Real Madrid match in Seattle this morning, after a pleasant negotiation with the Ticketmaster website. Look forward to a gripping first hand account of how we ask Beckham to sign our chests!