Right up there at the top of the Improbability Scale with "Jack Warner Threatens Me" was almost certainly "I spend 15 minutes chatting with Alex Morgan". And yet there I was, blabbing away at everyone's favorite women's soccer player (and for many, many people the gender modifier does not apply) as if I was, I dunno, somebody.
It seems that Coca Cola is sponsoring something called "Copa Coca Cola" in connection with the World Cup. It's a youth tournament being held in countries around the world with the winners getting a trip to Brazil '14 and a chance to play each other in what will surely be the thrill of a lifetime for most.
(Why they couldn't call it "Coca Cola Cup" in English Speaking Countries is a question I did not put to Miss Morgan, since it would have sounded like petty pedantic harassment, which it most certainly would have been.)
Anyway, it sounds like a really cool thing for kids 11-15 and if you have a youth team you should check it out.
Point being that, in connection with said tournament, the sponsors arranged for Alex Morgan to speak with writers around the country to promote the thing and I got nominated.
Eat your heart out, Loney.
They assigned me a 20 minute time slot at 4pm, which was perfect until the rep called me on Monday to remind me that they were in LA and, thus, they of course meant Pacific time.
Well of course. Right. I knew that. Duh.
So I put cocktail hour on hold and at the appointed time got the whole Skype thing up and running. Then I had to cool my heels for a bit since, as I was informed, Alex was doing "a TV interview" and it was running long.
So would the idiot blogger sitting in his dining room in Pennsylvania mind waiting a few minutes?
No, goddammit, tell that blow dried, empty headed former Communications major to go buy a watch and put Alex on or I'm out of here.
Well, OK, so maybe not. I was beginning to wonder if this was some elaborate prank. You know, send a Jack Warner letter, invite you to interview Alex Morgan, what else is coming? An invitation to lunch with Sepp Blatter?
Sure enough though, after a few minutes, Alex sat down in front of the camera as her handler informed her that she'd be talking to "Mike" from BigSoccer.
Nothing like fame, I tell you.
At this point I need to tell you that I'm not going to post one of those "Q: What's your favorite color" "A: You're an idiot" kind of deals, for two reasons:
1) They're boring as hell to read and a pain to have to sit down and transcribe and
2) The Skype recorder, for which I recently paid the princely sum of nothing at all, never kicked on and so I don't have anything to transcribe.
Anyway, plunging ahead, I figured I'd lead with a little inside comment, something to show what a great guy Mike really is, so I commented on how she'd been doing these interviews for about seven hours straight, 20 minutes at a whack, and she was probably getting a little tired of the routine.
She swung at that particular pitch like a juiced to the gills Mark McGuire, responding without hesitation that she was just happy to have the opportunity to talk to people around the country about Copa Coca Cola.
Take that, blogger boy. I work for Nike.
So I took the cue and asked her to talk a little about the Copa, and she obliged me with a couple minutes on what a great opportunity for fun, learning, travel and growth it is for young people aged 11-15 and, again, how excited she is to be a part of it. She sounded like she meant it.
I then changed tack and, on behalf of the BigSoccer community - I hope you don't mind - I congratulated her on her recent engagement, which wasn't really a question but she graciously smiled and thanked me. Us. Whatever.
She probably guessed that I didn't check with all of you first.
Which opening I used to construct a clever web of words wherein I noted that a) her fiance now plays in Houston, b) the NWSL expansion draft for the new Houston side was scheduled for Friday and c) Portland - her team in case you missed it and shame on you - has three US internationals (Rachel Buehler and Tobin Heath being the others) and the rules said that no team could protect more than two.
Had there been any discussion, I queried, of working out an arrangement for her to get picked up by the Rush?
(I left unmentioned the fact that Merritt Paulson would shoot out the tires on any plane that was attempting to take Alex Morgan to another team. I figured she knew that already)
She was terrific: She really loves it there in Portland, the team is really great, she's totally psyched about the coming season and, again, she thinks Portland is a great, great town.
I asked her if she was surprised that Cindy Parlow Cone, despite winning the league championship in her first season as a coach, had resigned after the season. She talked about how much work and time goes into being a coach.
I seriously thought for a second about inserting my desperation question, which had to do with the shape of Grant Wahl's head and whether she thought he ought to either wear a hat or grow some hair because his effort to look like a member of the Bradley family was coming up short, but I figured I'd toss that one. If she didn't laugh I'd be down to tap dancing or three minutes of schtick.
Instead I went to the sure fire query, inquiring as to what she thinks she'd like to improve in her game this coming season. Without hesitation she said "first touch" and expanded to movement after passing and gave me a good 30 seconds on how Barcelona plays the game and how much she wants to incorporate that kind of movement in her own game.
I asked her about her books - she has two in print and another one on the way, geared towards tween girls, confidence building, goal setting and that kind of thing. She says they're doing well and that at her first-ever Alex Morgan soccer Camp which was the previous weekend, girls came up to her and spoke of how much they loved and appreciated them.
I asked about how her ankle is doing and she said it was still non-weight bearing, so I decided not to ask the "Will you be going into US camp next week" stuff I had prepared.
At the end I noted that she had been spending time working with Mia Hamm and has said that the latter is terrific at explaining and simplifying complex on-field situations and how much she's learned from her.
So I asked her if she had any feel for whether Mia had an interest in taking a coaching job. Please, Alex, give me a scoop.
Nothing doing. Mia has been very generous with her time and has been a great help to her. Pause. Smile.
She's really, really good at this.
NOTE: Sorry about the comments. I wasn't aware that they'd been turned off somehow and I have no Earthly idea how to turn them back on. BA