Sometimes, it’s all about who you know. Personal connections are the engine that drives the planet: from the business world to the world of sports. Many a successful career have been launched off the backs of people’s relationships with existing big achievers.
And in the case of my blog, it’s probably all about who I know.
Since the very early days of the blog, I’ve been piggybacking off the success of Dayton-native Chris Rolfe’s professional career. In fact, a major wave of the early traffic on the site can be attributed to my posts about the former Chicago Fire star. Few stateside were writing about Chris at the time, and by offering his fans a non-Danish option to keep tabs on his career at Aalborg BK, I reaped the rewards of the Google gods, receiving a plethora of page hits and new subscriptions.
Of course, none of that would have been possible if life wasn’t all about “who you know.”
Luckily for me and my readers, I went to college and was roommates with Chris’ older brother, Jon. And while I knew of the younger Rolfe prior to becoming good friends with his brother (Chris and I are actually the same age, though our playing careers fleetingly crossed paths), it wasn’t until he was drafted by the Fire that I was able to start reaping the benefits of “knowing someone.”
Being friends with the brother of a professional player during college was awesome: tickets to games, VIP clearance at Soldier Field and Toyota Park, the occasional S.W.A.G., and getting into exclusive Chicago clubs without having to wait in line with the rest of the losers with which I normally associate. Needless to say, I was stoked to be able to take advantage of a soccer-nerd’s dream privilege… insider access.
So Mr. Rolfe and I were recently exchanging some emails in the lead up to his opening game of the Danish Superliga season, and I floated the idea to him that if he could score in the weekend’s upcoming match against AGF Aarhus, I would grant him the privilege of an exclusive interview on wrong side of the pond.
Clearly, the very special offer of the minimal exposure offered by my site must have provided him with ample motivation, as he scored the cracking winner below (go to the 3:05 mark):
So, I guess that means that it’s time to piggyback off Rolfe’s successes once again.
The following is a transcript of a sit-down that Chris and I never had… I live in Ohio and he lives in Denmark, you know. But we did have the following exchange over email.
D.J. @ wsotp: Chris, thanks for joining me today. Congrats on the great start to the season and the game winning tally in the first week. It’s been a rough and tumble spell in Denmark for you due to injuries: how does it feel to be back in the starting line up and contributing again?
Chris Rolfe: I’m glad to be back on the field with the first team consistently and contributing to our success so far. The consecutive starts are important for me because it’s finally giving me a chance to get an understanding of my teammates in-game situations and the league itself, which is very important.
D.J. @ wsotp: So after your goal in the first weekend and despite not tallying another in week two, if my math skills serve me correctly, you’re still on pace to score 91 goals this season, which I’m pretty sure is a Danish league record. How are you handling the expectations of reaching such a lofty strike total that I just made up for you?
Chris Rolfe: I’m beginning to wonder about the credibility of Ohio Northern University because I’m pretty sure that scoring .5 goals a game in a 33 game season comes closer to 16 than 91. But despite the math issue, 16 would still prove to be a great season for me or any outside midfielder.
D.J. @ wsotp: When you first moved to AaB, your apartment was directly a floor below your manager. Now that you have a new manager, do you a) feel that the change in coaching has helped you to regain your form? and b) find it’s easier to have late night Dance Dance Revolution parties without having to worry about tipping off your boss to all of the craziness downstairs?
Chris Rolfe: The fact that we changed managers made my return to the lineup more challenging. Instead of coming back from injury to a staff that was familiar with me and what I could do, I was now dealing with a new manager who really didn’t know much about me or my game. So, overcoming the missteps on the field brought on by nearly a year’s absence was a little more difficult with a new manager in place.
My apartment is a little quieter now that their 2-year-old daughter isn’t having her Dance Dance Revolution parties all night.
D.J. @ wsotp: It’s a little known fact that you are a bit of a homebody, and I was curious to see how you’ve enjoyed life living halfway around the globe from your mom. What do you miss most about being so far away from home?
Chris Rolfe: Was this a ‘reader submitted’ question? It’s not a big deal, I just proved that I’m tougher than everyone else who is still living in the U.S., cuddled up next to their loved ones. I miss my friends and the food the most. When I first moved here, I missed the familiarity of things since everything here was new. Now that I’ve been here for 19 months, that’s not as much of an issue.
D.J. @ wsotp: Where can you find the best pizza and why: Dayton, Chicago or Aalborg?
Chris Rolfe: Easy answer. Marion’s in Dayton. I don’t believe that I can find a pizza that I enjoy more.
D.J. @ wsotp: Denmark is well-known for its harsh winters. And since Aalborg is situated at the extreme northern tip of the country, it’s probably especially brutal. I have some cool antique snowshoes in my garage that my wife won’t let me hang up in the house: do you want them?
Chris Rolfe: Only if they can be used on the field. I won’t use them otherwise, because I hibernate for the 9-months Winter here.
D.J. @ wsotp: So you’re living by yourself in a strange and snowy land with limited exposure to your favorite American television shows like The Bachelor and The Real Housewives of Atlanta to keep you occupied. Give us a description of your favorite Danish television program… assuming you have one.
Chris Rolfe: I actually prefer the Bachelorette. There are too many girls on the Bachelor… I don’t watch any Danish tv, so I can’t give you a real answer for that. They show American re-runs all day, so I’ve gotten my fair share of Two and a Half Men, The Simpsons and How I Met Your Mother.
D.J. @ wsotp: Speaking of keeping yourself entertained, what’s this I hear about a “climbing cat”?
Chris Rolfe: The climbing cat? Isn’t that some sort of automated duster that you can buy on QVC? I don’t have one of those.
D.J. @ wsotp: Moving from roommates in your house to roommates on the road, I would imagine that over the years you’ve had a number of roommates while you’ve been out traveling for away matches. Who have been your most and least favorite teammates to shack up with and why? Please be sure to keep your responses PG, as I’m trying to run a respectable, family-oriented blog here.
Chris Rolfe: Best and longest-serving roommate would have to be Justin Mapp while I was with the Fire. When we roomed together, we were both at our peak for sleeping ability and we took full advantage of our down time. I haven’t had any notably bad experiences with a roommate that I can think of, so everyone gets off clean.
D.J. @ wsotp: As a fellow footwear fanatic such as myself, I know you’ve got a weak spot for fancy kicks. So with that in mind, I’ve got a two-part shoe question for you. How many pairs of shoes do you currently have in your closet? And what are your current “go to” kicks?
Chris Rolfe: I just threw out a few pairs of shoes the other day, so I’m down to 18, but 3 are soccer-related. Since the weather is decent right now, I wear my Nike flip-flops to and from training. When I’m going out to dinner, I’ve been sportin’ some solid black Cole Haan’s that aren’t too dressy or too casual.
D.J. @ wsotp: Speaking of shoes, a fun fact probably not known by most of my readers is that you and I wear the same size. I’ve found it significantly harder to poach new shoes from you or your brother now that you live an ocean away from me instead of just a few hour’s drive. Do you have any extra boots lying around gathering dust?
Chris Rolfe: I heard that you recently bought a house. If that’s the case, shouldn’t you also be able to afford some shoes? Just tack it onto the mortgage if you have to.
D.J. @ wsotp: It’s fair to say that Scandinavian language is pretty different from English. What is the weirdest sounding Danish word you’ve had to use frequently enough to stand out?
Chris Rolfe: I don’t get to use my Danish skills very often, but when I do attempt, I usually just get blank stares or laughs. So I’m guessing that basically everything that I say sounds strange and doesn’t make much sense to whomever I’m speaking.
D.J. @ wsotp: Last question, I promise. There’s no doubting that moving from Chicago to Denmark could be described as a “change of scenery” — a different language, culture, climate and style of football — and it’s undoubtedly been an experience of a lifetime. We could even say you’re living a dream that not many of us Yankee soccer fanatics will ever get to live… me speaking honestly, at least. Would you say your dream is to continue playing in Europe past the end of your current contract, or is your dream back home in MLS?
Chris Rolfe: My dream is to be at a club where I can have an impact, to learn and grow, to make some money and to be around people that I enjoy.
D.J. @ wsotp: Well, it’s fair to say that those were classy responses from a classy gentleman. Cheers Rolfey, and best of luck in the rest of the campaign.