View from the Cheap Seats: Gregory's song

San Jose Earthquakes defender Craig Waibel has a soft side.

Photo Credit: 
John Todd/MLS/WireImage.com

which is remarkable to me because I thought Al Gore invented Internet radio only about three years ago. I guess I was wrong.

Anyway, because all good art is stolen art (if you'll allow me to continue to delude myself that this is "art"), I've pinched M&M's question and posed it of a few players: What's your motivational theme song, your soundtrack, if you will?

As MLS comes down the backstretch, the players are looking for every advantage they can get: Teams already in the playoffs are resting the grayhairs. Goalkeepers are studying PK tape like modern-day Lev Yashins. Chicago Fire players are planning their vacations. (Sorry, Section 8ers, I love y'all, but sometimes fate is more than just a little fickle. I'm afraid The Revs will pull off another Rev miracle.)

Motivation tactics make up another advantage for the players. Music is a big part of self-motivation, for some a pregame ritual, for others a way to explain themselves. This is a "Life Question," remember, and every single player I talked to said he needed more time to think about the question. And the Galaxy's Sasha Victorine and the Quakes' Dwayne DeRosario never got back to me. They must still be thinking. Or maybe they're actually training. I don't know.

San Jose's Craig Waibel needed time to think about it, remarking: "Most guys don't know I'm a nice guy. Some guys are still scared of me, so I don't want to ruin it with a soft song."

Then he came back with Keith Urban's "Who Wouldn't Want to Be Me?" Huh? Keith Urban? I had to look him up. It's a country song. A country song for cryin' out loud!?! Oh, the shame, as Sylvester's son used to say. The shame. However, Craig gave a fine explanation: "It's upbeat and is about how good life is. It makes me remember how easy I've got it, because what we do is pretty cool." It's always the big lugs who know how to say the right things the right way, isn't it?

Dallas Burn 'keeper Jeff Cassar -- who, BTW, is supposedly a candidate for the next "Bachelor" show -- goes with "Brick House," though he doesn't know who recorded it and because he doesn't really do the Internet thing yet (things move a little slower down in Texas, I guess), he's never looked it up. (The Commodores, Jeff, who had a singer named Lionel Richie, who you may remember as the only guy who can dance on the ceiling while shouting "Outrageous!" over and over.) "That funky music pumps me up and gets me loose," Jeff explained.

"Geesh, one song? That's a tricky question, you know? The Ronnie O'Brien theme song. Geesh," Dallas' brilliant winger Ronnie O'Brien responded. "Okay, I've thought about it. Missy Elliot, 'My People.' It's an upbeat dance number that's on my game CD in my car." (Make sure you read this paragraph with an Irish accent. It's much funnier that way, especially the "geesh's" and the "th" words that get twisted around like the River Liffey.)

D.C. United defender Ryan Nelsen seems to be the only person in the world who opts for melancholy and disaffected mental depression before games: "Fake Plastic Trees" by Radiohead. "You know, Greg, it's mellow ... music," Ryan said. "I like to calm down before games. People think I'm a metalhead, but I'm not. I'm a mellowhead." What do you think he'd play at a victory party? Elliot Smith?

And what about The Phenom? Well, Freddy Adu is a busy, busy teenager, what with his game-winning goals and EA Sports voiceover work and all, so he got back to me through an intermediary, who gave me this truly impulsive response: "Any motivational, high-energy-type rap song like Eminem's 'Lose Yourself.'" Hey, if The Phenom keeps improving and scoring big goals, he can start doing press conferences with a ventriloquist's dummy for all I care. Keep it up, Freddy, but remember your place -- in other words: Don't lose yourself.

***

As for me, Munk & the Mick's question was a no-brainer. Or two no-brainers, because I broke the question down in to 1) the first game of the playoffs, and 2) MLS Cup. For No. 1, I'd go with Kiss's "All Hell's Breaking Loose" from the no-makeup Lick It Up album. Puts the fear of Gene Simmons in everyone's heart. For No. 2 -- at the risk of irking all you haters who complained that you'd never read another Cheap Seats column if I mentioned Tesla ever again - I declare Tesla's "Comin' Atcha Live" as the greatest pregame pump-up song ever. The drums alone would make the whole stadium explode in a hard-rockin', butt-kickin', smoke-'em-if-you-got-'em game-over kind of mind riot. And all that before the game has even started. Feel free to do the same thing -- yes, I know you are all thinking right now what song you would choose. It's kind of a narcotic question that way.

Greg Lalas played for the Tampa Bay Mutiny and the New England Revolution in 1996 and 1997. Send e-mail to Greg at cheapseats@g73.org. Views and opinions expressed in this column views and opinions are the author's, and not necessarily those of Major League Soccer or MLSnet.com.


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