Editor’s note: Each week Ryan Powell interviews one current or former professional lacrosse player, asking them some quick hitter questions to better understand them as a person and lacrosse player. It is often these players that have driven, and continue to drive, the game of lacrosse to the next level. We hope you enjoy learning some fun facts that you might not have known about some of the greatest players to pick up a stick. This week Rhino interviews Brett Hughes of the Ohio Machine!
And we’re back for another edition of Lettin’ It Rip! This time I’m interviewing a stud close defenseman – Brett Hughes! Brett played his ball at University of Virginia where he was an All-American and won a National Championship. After recently playing with LXM PRO, the former MLL All-Star is returning to Major League Lacrosse this season to play for the Ohio Machine. Check out our conversation below!
Name: Brett Hughes
Nickname: Hughey or J Hubbard calls me Baba Ganoush
Twitter: @Brett_Hughes or @LAXTHEPOND or @LAXTHENATIONS (Community handles for LTP/LTN)
Hometown: Millersburg, OH
College: University of Virginia
High School: Upper Arlington; Columbus, OH
Awards: Ohio POY, All American, NCAA Champion, All ACC, Team MVP New Jersey pride, MLL All Star.
Current Gig: Co-Founder Lacrosse the Nations (www.lacrossethenations.org); Part Owner Lacrosse the Pond (www.lacrossethepond.com); Ohio Machine Defensemen.
Time to let it rip!
What was the first vehicle that you had? What kind of vehicle do you currently drive?
My first was a motorcylce on my farm in Millersburg OH. My grandpa fixed it up (along with a snowmobile and tractor… that’s where I learned to drive just about anything). Currently, I am not much of a car guy… I don’t put much stock in that, but I have a Jeep, I love any type of Jeep CJ, Wrangler, Cherokee… but if it runs I’ll drive it.
It’s your last meal, what do you eat?
A meal with friends in an unbelievable local. Maybe pasta in Italy, or coffee in Nicaragua. Not so much about what I eat, rather where and with who (although pasta in Italy sounds pretty unreal right now).
Who do you look up to most today and why?
Well RP, these days I would say I look up to various people in different parts of my life. I have people who spiritually are amazing to me, athletically gifted and drive me, and humanitarian efforts are very big to me. Some I would say have to be Erwin McManus, Jim “Larry Bird” Gorman, Drew Brees, Lance Armstrong, and I’m not sure I look up to her but my fiancée is such a source of inspiration and motivation to me.
But I don’t expect them to be anything more than people… at the end of the day God is the only one I can put my troubles on. Nobody else is really equipped to handle that!
What is your biggest fear?
The fear not trying all the things that would be on this list if I listed them. Most of the things that fear me are based on living a “safe” or material driven life… with my surroundings and those I love being in the same mindset, I don’t see it happening. I committed to a life of learning, adventure, and service and I plan on sticking to it!
If you had to redo college and had to go to another school to play lacrosse, where would you go?
I would have not played lacrosse. I would have played football. I never regret not playing, but I missed it every day and I still miss putting on the armor and just letting it rip! But if I HAD to play lacrosse at another school, I would have talked Tillman Johnson to coming with me to some school in Australia or possibly Cuse… I always respected your Alma Mater…even if we had a few scraps, I loved guarding your brother in the Dome.
What is the one thing that you need on a daily basis?
PURPOSE/PASSION – I think they are symbiotic. You can’t have passion for something that isn’t purposeful. You can have energy, but that’s not passion. Raw passion comes from a sense of belonging and feeling purposeful so that not just your mind, wallet, or body is fed, rather your SOUL first and foremost is filled.
What’s in your DVD collection?
Everything, but some of my favorites: Casablanca, Caddyshack, Eat Pray love, Wedding Crashers, Treme Season 1, Home Alone, Swingers… I also am a nut for documentaries so that list could go on and on.
Are you a cat person or a dog person?
Dog… always have been. I don’t hate cats, but certainly don’t care to have one!
What are some of your household chores?
Living in LA you don’t have much of a yard like when I grew up. However we also don’t have a dishwasher so I’d say dishes are always a must.
What’s your favorite TV show?
No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain is hands down my favorite. I want to meet him someday.
What is your favorite song?
I am biased to my fiancee’s music. She is so talented and I love her voice and the fact that she writes her own music. But outside of that, right now I love Zach Brown Band’s “FREE”.
What would you say if someone on the street asked you for 20 bucks?
Man isn’t that the hardest thing? I would love to give it to them and depending on the day they would have it, but, where I live that happens often and I usually ask if I can buy them a coffee if I am not in a rush. Man that’s always a tough one! Got me twisted up right now RP.
What was the best lacrosse stick that you ever owned?
I’d Say the Brine MD because that was the first stick that was not a hand me down form Brendan Shook or Ben Focht… it was my first stick so I loved it… Can’t understand why people dont still use them! HA
If you could be a video game character, who would you be and why?
Would be awesome to be Wayne Rooney for a game, but afterward I would want to be me again. Especially being a MAN CITY guy. C’MON CITY.
What kind of cologne do you wear?
Not much of a cologne guy, is Woods by Abercrombie still cool?
If you could be any color of a crayon, what would you be?
Wild Blue Yonder (my lady helped me with that, she knows more colors than I do because she paints as well). Just sounds right to me.
What is your favorite quote?
“Would you be willing to give your life to save the world if no one ever knew your name? If anonymity was the price you would have to pay for significance, would it be too great a price? To live a life of courage is not a guarantee of prestige or adulation. It only matters if you live and die fulfilling the mission you were born for.” ― Erwin Raphael McManus
If you did not choose lacrosse as your sport, what sport would you have chosen?
Football without a question. However, if I did not play football I would have loved to surf for a living. In Ohio we didn’t have the waves to really get good at a young age. I always wanted to do THIS in a Buckeye Uniform:
What do you want to be remembered for?
I hope people look back and know how much I cared about the sport and those who played it, and that I can give back enough to help the sport in some way… that will be good enough. Outside of sport, I’d love to be remembered for the work I did, the service I provided and ultimately the FUN/adventure I helped create for those around me.
What is your favorite pizza topping?
Tomato… keep it simple.
Did you have a nick name as a kid?
Cheech is what my mom called me based on some cartoon. I used to scream the theme song around my house dancing like a fool when I was very young. (when I was like 18 or 19…kidding but if I still knew the words I would still do it!)
If you were to play an instrument what would it be?
Guitar or Piano. Watching Kate or her Piano player Brett Lindeman play is so freaking cool… I wish I could sing more than anything though. I must have missed the booth where you signed up for musical talent.
If you could visit anywhere in the world that you have not visited before, where would it be?
ALL OF THEM. My greatest love is travel. I want to see the Amazon, Cuba, and Spain – those are next on my list. So many people to meet and places to see, it’s overwhelming…BUT I LOVE THE CHALLENGE.
If you could have any animal as a pet, what would it be?
A shark that would troll around (not to close) and make sure no other sharks nibble on me while surfing. That would be ideal.
If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and what would say?
I just met Lance Armstrong and Doug Ulman (@livestrongceo) who are the two men at the head of LIVESTRONG and that was a dream come true… Lance took sport to a level it has never been before. He and Doug both are doing that with the service they provide to cancer patients. Drew Brees is right next to him. Non-athletes are big to me though: Anthony Bourdain, Bono, Eddie Vedder, and Jimmy Buffett are some others that are musts.
What is the longest you’ve gone without a shower?
3 days probably… I always find a lake, ocean something to clean off… I love getting dirty and don’t mind being dirty, but I LOVE getting in the water for any reason so I don’t stay dirty to long.
If you knew you were going to be stranded on a desert island, what 3 items would you take with you?
Funny answer is a BOAT so I can leave when I wanted. But to play the game… Kate, Fishing Rod (kids gotta eat), and a kindle/ipad full of books.
Tell us one random thing about yourself?
I am a nut for loyalty programs. Star Alliance and SPG are my favorites.
Favorite restaurant of all time?
A restaurant in a tiny town about 30 mins outside of Rome. Best simple food served on butcher paper with Kate and Italy’s lacrosse leader, Fabio. We had an amazing lunch 2 years ago on Thanksgiving Day in Rome. Otherwise I love my brothers resturant called Martini in Columbus, OH. My brothers runs the front of the house and used to be a chef there.
Who is your celebrity crush?
Do you have a pre-game ritual? If so, what is it?
A bunch, but I always say a little prayer, write a few numbers on my wrist and initials on my tape of some people I look up to and friends/mentors I lost as well as my La Chureca family in Nicaragua.
On your day off, you wake up and…..?
Hopefully I am somewhere new and different… but the first thing is ESPRESSO, it’s one of the great loves in my life. Surf, read, hang with Kate, take a jog and just get outside and meet new people with new stories.
Are you a good tipper?
YES, my big bro is in the industry so I am at least a 20% tipper… people making my food are kings and queens to me and those serving are extensions of them.
What do you put on your hot dog?
I’ll try anything, but it’s hard to top onions, relish, ketchup. What does a RHINO put on his is the question?
Why do you wear the # that you wear?
6 has been my number forever. I wanted 5 because Ben Focht wore that at my high school but when an older guy took it my freshman year I took 6. It worked out well because Ryan Curtis graduated UVA when I was coming in and I got to keep it… since then Ben Rubeor and Steele Stanwick have worn it… we have a nice run of talented players. I had a kid ask me if Ryan Curtis and I could guard Ben and Steele… Don’t know the answer, but I know we would sure as hell be up for it.
Do you have a questions that we could ask the next pro lacrosse players?
If you could have witnessed one event in the history of the world what would it be?
Also, Kyle Harrison had a question for you too – What’s your favorite lacrosse memory and why?
Winning the 2003 NCAA Championship or being down in Nicaragua starting a lacrosse program in La Chureca. Both are at the top.
Thanks for having me in to LET IT RIP. Hope all the readers are ready to get out, put in the work and create Another Best Day for themselves and all the family and teams that depend on them. Be Good Live Loud.