Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Matt Leinart, All-American Quarterback, Former Cross-Eyed Fat Kid | by Pete

Listen, I don't know if you've heard this yet, but Matt Leinart has decided to forgo the NFL draft to stay for one more year in college. Yea, it's true, not many people know that, it's only mentioned every time he takes a snap, throws a pass, and takes a breath. Well, that didn't stop the good people at the Esquire from writing a day-in-the-life piece on everybody's favorite Condom Boy Under Center. I've taken the opportunity to break down some of the choice pieces of the article, and hopefully these quotes will give you a greater insight into the down-home, college boy Matt Leinart really is. Hopefully these quotes will also give you the ability to fly.

Matt Leinart, the best player in college football, could be getting ready for his first season in the NFL. Instead, he's getting ready for another season as the best player in college football. Because he loves it. (Don't pinch him or he may wake up.)
OK, everybody all together now, Awwww...
MATT LEINART HAS FOUR DOLLARS in his back pocket, which is making it difficult for him to find just the right birthday present for his girlfriend, Brynn . . . Ducking through the doorway, he found himself in [Fred Segal] girly-girl heaven, a brightly lit place filled with the latest in high-end cotton knits.
I heard Manuel Wright recommended the girly-girl heaven. He claims to have found the cotton knits to "die for."

Sadly, Mr. Leinart cannot afford said cotton knits for said dreamy girlfriend. What's he think about that?
"If I had two grand in the bank, dude, I'd be totally set . . . I could get by on that till the end of the year." (By "the end of the year" he means January 4, 2006, when he hopes he'll be quarterbacking the University of Southern California Trojans to a third straight national title in a sold-out Rose Bowl.) "Or maybe I could go to Vegas and win, like, twenty grand. Oh my gosh, that would be so sweet. . . ."
What, Mr. Leinart doesn't plan on sticking out the spring semester? I thought he loved college, what an odd decision. Also, I did some research, and found out that Leinart is a sociology major. Funny, I could've sworn he would be an English major, or at least an English speaker, bro.
On the [Leinart's] dash, there's a picture of him and Brynn standing on the beach, the sand warm under their bare feet. They look good: tall, tanned, white teeth. Leinart has his football jersey on.
What? You don't wear your football jersey to the beach?
A photographer from an in-flight magazine, a hairstylist, a wardrobe consultant, and eight more drones hovered around a white backdrop, working to make a matinee idol out of this six-foot-five-inch goofball with size-15 feet.
Yessirree, Matt Leinart is a regular Joe Q. College. I can't tell you how many times I've had to squeezing in my in-flight magazine shoots between studying for midterms and doing keg stands.
He was also handed a football, which immediately betrayed the deepest, darkest secret of Leinart's success: The kid's fingers are long enough to conduct an orchestra.
I am biting my cheek until it bleeds to prevent myself from making a joke about Leinart's "successes" finding Brynn's deepest, darkest secrets. Oops.
Matt: "I was made fun of a lot when I was younger, mostly because I was cross-eyed."
Brynn: "I thought it was because you were fat."
Matt: "Yeah. That, too."
Yes, it's true, Matt Leinart was once fat and cross-eyed. I'm desperately hoping Brandon Hoyte finds a way to recross them.
When he was twelve, a second surgery finally fixed the [freaky crossed-eye] problem, but his eyes still get tired, the way they always have. He rubs them a lot. The weird thing is, after he pulls those great long fingers away from their work, more often than not his eyelids will have folded behind themselves, making it look as though he got too close to a campfire and his eyelashes were burned off. Leinart likes to demonstrate this talent for strangers, who usually react with horror. "It's pretty cool to see the looks on their faces," he says. He takes maybe a little too much pride in this.
Hey, it beats reading.
With every flashbulb pop, it was as if he'd been brought one step closer to larger than life. In time, she fell quiet, satisfied to snap away, pose after pose, understanding that she didn't need to tell him what to do anymore. He knew what she wanted. She wanted what everybody else wants from Matt Leinart: the strong-chinned hero, the kid with the golden arm, Johnny Quarterback, Everybody's All-American.
After the in-flight photoshoot, Leinart raced out of the studio, sprinted down 8 city blocks, and arrived just in time to catch a baby falling from a burning building. Good thing he heard it with his super-hearing. What, you dind't know that Johnny Quarterback had powers far beyond those of mortal men?
Like the first time Joe Namath put on a fur coat and shook out his shoulders, it's a part he's still learning to play.
Although, the wearing pantyhose thing? He's got that mastered.
THE FAT DORK in him most likes hiding out in his apartment beside the freeway, playing Halo with his roommate, or maybe just hanging out on the couch with Brynn. "I'm really boring," he says. "I don't really do anything."
Wait, class counts as "anything," right? Thought so.
Asked about his hobbies, Leinart gamely volunteers his love of napping.
Yes, come to USC, have a nap, or two. Hell, take eight, you need your rest, what with zero classes and all.
When he really was a fat dork, he'd sometimes wake up with his head at the foot of his bed, or having mysteriously transported himself onto the family couch or to the front lawn of their Santa Ana homestead. It was as if his dreams were trying to take him somewhere.
Yes, Leinart's fat, dorky, cross-eyed dreams of intimate moments with Cindy Crawford, a corndog, or some apalling combination of the two prophesized his ascent to the top of the college football world.
The sleepwalking, perhaps not coincidentally, stopped when he got thin and went to college and heard thousands of people chanting his name.
Four out of five doctors agree that getting thin, going to college, and hearing thousands of people chanting your name is a sure-fire home remedy to beat sleepwalking.
Before he went shopping at Fred Segal, he ate lunch there, at the fancy little restaurant tucked behind its ivy walls, and on the way in, a stranger patted him on the back and offered congratulations for the Heisman.
Apparently, Leinart ate lunch at the fancy little restaurant for zero dollars, considering he only had four to start with. Wait, how could he do that without violati-hey! Look over there!
They're also, conversely, part of the reason he's found comfort in a growing circle of celebrity friends. Out here, fame grants access to a kind of elephant ring, that sanctuary found in shared experience.
And that "elephant ring" is known as Paris Hilton's bedroom.
Leinart's Hollywood gatekeeper, and now one of his best friends, is a forty-year-old events planner and promoter named Josh Richman. They met because of Richman's love for USC football...
The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.And Leinart's apparent love for inappropriate young man-old man friendships.
Richman is one of those wonderfully loopy characters who can find a home only here. (He carries a walking stick topped with an eight ball, and that's just for starters.)
I think this one speaks for itself. Leinart needs to work on his posse.
In May, at Mood, the popular nightclub where Richman plays host, he threw Matt a twenty-second-birthday bash that made all the papers. Nick Lachey, Jessica Simpson, Vince Vaughn, Lindsay Lohan, Jake Gyllenhaal, Fred Durst, and Alyssa Milano were on the guest list.
Yep yep yep, regular Joe Q. Undergraduate College Student, like the rest of us. When I turned 21, Rob Schneider gave me a back-rub.
"Every celebrity I know is the most normal person I've ever met," Leinart says.
Leinart went on to say that the only people he had met prior to celebrities were Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Kaczinski, a homeless person lying in his own human waste, and Ed Orgeron.
A parade of names and faces stopped by the table for fist bumps and backslaps . . . and finally the dude who filmed himself ass-pounding Paris Hilton in the dark.
Is this the film Pete Carroll spends hours dissecting?
One night he's throwing out the opening pitch at Dodger Stadium. Several weeks later, he pulls the same trick for the Los Angeles Angels. Governor Schwarzenegger asks him down to Seal Beach to welcome home the troops.
Naturally, the first thing a professional killing machine fresh from a war zone wants to see is a guy who throws a brown oblong ball next to the beach for a living. Sadly, Kellen Winslow was unavailable.
His Heisman is now on display in Heritage Hall, one of six that have made their way here; Matt's is the third in line, between O. J. Simpson's (1968) and Carson Palmer's (2002).
Nice company, a guy with a penchant for stabbing, and another guy with a penchant for getting styled at Supercuts.
He wouldn't be the first Heisman-winning quarterback to fail to make it for money. In fact, the wise bet is against success. Andre Ware never played more than five games in a season; Detmer was shuffled among six different teams; Gino Toretta passed for forty-one yards in his entire professional career; Danny Wuerffel and Chris Weinke flamed out. Eric Crouch tried to turn himself into a wide receiver, giving up the ghost after just a month; Charlie Ward ended up playing basketball instead. Only Vinny Testaverde and Doug Flutie lived up to their advance billing, and Flutie only belatedly.
When Vinny T and Flutie are the elites of your company, that's not a good thing. Gino Toretta is warming up a seat for Leinart on the Didn't Translate To The Pro Game Bus, but rooks have to sit with Weinke, that's just how it is.
His father, Bob, a gregarious man with Alan Alda's voice and a thing for loud shirts, is waiting in the otherwise empty stands. He's brought some stuff along for his son's apartment, the way parents always fit out their kids for another year away at college: a mirror, a couple of things for the kitchen. He's also holding a new insurance policy apparently more substantial than the one Matt already had last year with Lloyd's of London, which would have paid $1 million if he suffered a career-ending injury.
See? SEE? He's just a regular college guy, what with his dad bringing him stuff for his apartment. What's that? No, no, ignore the multi-million dollar insurance policy in his other hand.
After a few minutes [warming up] by himself, he summons two of his teammates downfield, a pair of receivers, including fellow Heisman finalist Reggie Bush.
"Reginald, Dwayne, bring thee forth to my presence. That's right, kiss the statue, eh eh EH, on the stiff-arm, that's right, and then run a hitch pattern for Matt Leinart."
It is so perfectly put together, it feels as if everybody were tied to one another with strings.
It also helps that Carroll is standing behind them, waving his hands like they're his marionettes and cackling fiendishly.
And on just such an afternoon, serene and beautiful, wrapped up in the oasis of campus and the cocoon of success, it's easy to understand why he wouldn't want to drop from the top of one world to the bottom of another, no matter how much he was paid to take the fall.
In fact, the day is just serene enough to make you forget about the surprise elbow surgery Leinart had immediately after declaring he wouldn’t be entering the NFL Draft. An elbow surgery that would raise a few eyebrows of NFL Scouts, and question his durability as a franchise, number 1 pick quarterback. Shut up, look at how serene it is.
He goes home to take a nap before he picks up Brynn.
In addition to napping, Matt Leinart also enjoys calling the library the "nerd factory."
He needs to take a single elective this fall to finish his degree, and even that he's taking with her: ballroom dancing.
This really isn't mentioned enough. Matt Leinart is taking a solitary one-credit class this semester, and it's BALLROOM DANCING. That's it. No cushy PE-department classes, no phony seminars, just BALLROOM DANCING. Apparently, Matt loves everything about college that doesn't entail that pesky little thing called "school."
They [Leinart and Brynn] met last year in study hall, not via satellite.
Study Hall at USC? Did it come between Home Ec and Recess?
They're driving down to the pier, because he has a big love of Ferris wheels, and he puts on Avril Lavigne and starts singing along unabashedly—"Did you think I was going to give it up for you?"—and she says that she likes his voice, even though his voice is the sort of thing that no one could possibly like.
Is it too short of notice to teach the entire student body the lyrics to this song to sing constantly every USC offensive possession?
Now look at them: still tall, still tanned, still with those white, white teeth. They seem so much like make-believe.
How sweet, an image straight out of Texas and Friday-night football, followed by a burger at the local greasy spoon.
They're supposed to go to Mood later tonight, hang out with Josh and Nick and Jessica and the gang, but suddenly, in the cool breeze, that seems like too much work.
A burger at the local greasy spoon, followed by a night out at Mood with your favorite TRL fodder. Going to a club is too much work? Oh, that's right, he's gotta cram for Ballroom Dancing Class.
"I have this philosophy about food," he [Leinart] says. "I have to eat it."
I'm appalled. He stole that from Nietzsche.
And he has begun drawing out his house. It will have a view, and a Chevy Tahoe in the driveway, and an infinity pool with a big water slide splashing into it—starting from his bedroom window.
A two-story water slide? That sounds like something a twelve-year old would come up with.
He stole that particular notion from a movie he likes. It's called Blank Check , a Disney flick about a bullied twelve-year-old boy who suddenly finds himself with $1 million stuffed in his backpack. He buys all of the things a bullied twelve-year-old boy with $1 million might buy, including a water slide starting from his bedroom window. It's the sort of fantasy that really catches hold in some kids. For them, it's not about the money. Sometimes just the idea of it is enough.
Oh, that explains it.