About 5 years ago I met 2 guys from the University of Utah men’s lacrosse team named Stefan and Tom. They were funny dudes with great talent on the lacrosse field and a true love for life. We were in McCall, Idaho getting ready to play in the first-ever Brawl In McCall lacrosse tourney for the lovable Woozles Lacrosse Club. I had just graduated from high school at the time and when I found out that Stefan and Tom played lacrosse for the Utes I was pretty damn impressed / intimidated by what I was getting myself into (think: college lax, caps arena, and golf cart madness).
Anyway, fast-forward a few years later and we’re all great friends. We don’t see each other often, but we have a common bond in The Woozles and, even though we only play together once or twice a year, I can honestly say that these guys have turned into some of the best teammates I’ve ever had.
I think that’s why I wasn’t very surprised when they announced that they had started a fundraiser called Mustaches vs. Cancer (Facebook, Twitter). See, they’re goofy, smart and most of all, leaders. They’re the type of guys who make good things happen.
Last year, Mustaches vs. Cancer raised over $15K and ended with a huge basement party in NYC. (Craven and I were there, hence the picture above) In my mind it was epic; setting a strong foundation for the years to come. This year, we’re all aiming to help squash that 5 digit number and turn this thing into something even bigger.
Below is an interview I recently did with the 2 former Ute lacrosse players. As you’ll see, they’re worth growing for.
Me: So, Stefan, you played lacrosse at Utah right? Can you explain how Utah lead you to Mustaches vs. Cancer?
STEFAN: Utah is where I started my mustache growing. Not only that, it is also where I started the annual fall ball mustache contest on the Utah lacrosse team (you punks better still be growin’ them out!) way back in ’04 (I think, maybe ’03). It was supposed to be for the freshmen, but none of them could actually muster up much of a ‘stache. By my super-senior year everyone that was cool was sportin’ the cookie duster in the Best of the West down in Vegas.
Wait, so you’re saying you played lacrosse AND football at Utah? Or is that a myth? What positions and did you ever get a shiny award?
The rumors are true. I walked-on as a kicker and played a lot of scout team wide receiver as well. I had to quit football to salvage the ol’ GPA though. Not a lot of pre-meds on the roster, actually, I was the only one. I won a Mountain West Conference championship as well the Liberty Bowl while I was there… those came with shiny jewelry. Right after I quit they went ahead and won the Fiesta Bowl though, I’m glad Urban Meyer was able to rebuild after losing such a valuable player as myself. Lacrosse was more fun for me anyway.
No seriously, why mustaches?
Because if it was anything else, we wouldn’t even be talking about it. If it was a 5k, you’d just be sitting around thinking about how you should go see if you can even find your jogging shoes. The idea, which I quickly realized wasn’t 100% original after some research (i.e. Movember did it first), was that I wanted a way to get young people excited about giving back to the community. Mustaches were an easy choice because they just advertise themselves. If you’ve ever randomly grown a mustache, you know what I mean. Everyone asks you about it, why not harness some of those conversations to tell people that if they like your ‘stache they should consider giving some money to a worthy cause.
How much dough did you guys bring in last year, and what were some of the highlights?
When all was said and done, we hauled in just over $15,000. Not too shabby for a bunch of mustaches. One main highlight was definitely the party at the end of the year. I’m pretty sure everyone had a great time, and it was so awesome to a bunch of the guys from the contest in the flesh and hair. Another really exciting thing for me, was that Mustaches vs. Cancer received a Citation of Merit from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center for our efforts, it was presented at a dinner party, along with all the other charitable events, but unfortunately I was out of town. Either way, they mailed the certificate to me and I framed it.
So are you a doctor? What’s the deal? Ever get time to play a little lax?
A medical doctor? Not yet, give me a few years. I do hold a PhD in Mustacheology, though. Unfortunately, school and lacrosse don’t mix too well when you get beyond undergrad. That said, I still try to play as much as I can. I missed playing with the Woozles in Tahoe this summer, but I have vowed to never miss another tournament with the pink and black.
Okay, Tom, your turn. How long was your mustache last year?
TOM: Let’s put it this way, if “The Growch” grew a mustache equivalent of a rain forest, then mine was more of a Serengeti. Keyword: sparse. For all those men out there hesitant to compete because their mustache is more like a fine collection of whiskers, then don’t worry, I’m right there with ya. It’s for the kids, dammit.
So you’re saying you’re the computer nerd behind this operation? Please explain.
That’s right, nerd to the max. Not Big Bang Theory nerd… but close. I build, fix, break, fix again, and enhance the website. It’s been a ton of fun building and working on the site. The attitude and environment that surrounds the event makes it really easy to enjoy. If anyone reading this has a great idea, found a problem, or has any suggestions for the site, please let me know. I’m all ears.
How did you get involved with Mustaches vs. Cancer?
Stefan “the ‘Stache Master” Turkula called me up in early 2008, told me about the idea of a large scale mustache growing contest to raise money for pediatric cancer research, and asked if I could develop the website. It was history in the making.
So how did you guys meet and who the heck is Joe Fernandez?
Stefan and I met on the lacrosse field in the spring of ’04 and quickly discovered our shared interest in playing lacrosse, winning, and having lots and lots of ridiculous fun when we weren’t doing the first two things. He’s my bro. Joe Fernandez is my other, more real, bro. He’s doing for technology what Stefan is doing for kids with cancer: making things better.
Wait, you played lacrosse at Utah too? Does everyone in Utah have a mustache?
Yes. And they all drive covered wagons and eat green JELL-O. On the Utah Lacrosse team, mustaches are extra common in the fall. If you can’t grow one, we’ve been known to use eye black to make sure everyone is included.
Bonus point: What sound do Utes make?
TOM: The proud Native American people of the Ute tribe or the athletes of the University of Utah that are honored to carry the tribe’s name? Either way, you can only hear the “whoosh” of air as they run past you. Go Utes!
STEFAN: Trick question. Utes are the Native American equivalent to ninjas.
Thanks for the interview boys. All the guys at LaxAllStars will be participating so you can expect some updates here on the site along the way.
Lax Nation, time to get your stache on…
Avid readers, loyal fans, trusty haters and the like: Please join us in supporting this great cause.
Here are your steps to success:
1) Go to MustachesvsCancer.org and register! (You’ll be able to read all the rules there too)
3) Drop us a comment below so we know you’ve joined the Stache movement. We’ll add you to the list, and the best stached laxer is gunna get some sweet, sweet lax gear.
Along the way, just remind yourself what I’ve always tried to remind myself thanks to great coaching of Broadway Joe:
“I Can’t Wait Until Tomorrow … ‘Cause I Get Better-Looking Every Day”