Getting To Know...

by Mark Sweeney | 5/23/02 5:00am

Following in the footsteps of such journalistic luminaries as Mike Wallace, Barbara Walters and Ed Bradley, The Dartmouth's Mark Sweeney catches up with the big names on campus and asks the questions that others have too much professionalism or integrity to ask. Today: Sweeney picks the mind of lacrosse player Erkki Mackey '02.

The Dartmouth: As a senior on the lacrosse team, do you see yourself as a role model to the younger players on the team? In what ways do you impart your wisdom to your underclassmen teammates?

Erkki Mackey: Well, technically I'm not on the team anymore. But when I was I definitely was not a role model. So I guess I'm not now either. I tend to be mistaken for being a freshmen or sophomore because of my tendency to behave in ways that would be considered "novice" by most upperclassmen. In general, I try to emulate Connor Price and Anatole Wedmid, but usually do a pretty bad job because I'm not that cool and I've never been to the Ukraine.

I started this class called "The Essence of College" that was intended to be a vehicle through which I could share with the freshmen on the team all the knowledge I've gained in my four years here. Unfortunately, attendance has been low. I haven't convinced the College to give the guys credit for it and I don't feel like I'm getting maximum effort out of my students, which, to a teacher who puts his heart and soul into making sure his students become totally sweet individuals, is pretty disheartening. What can I do to remedy the situation, Mark?

The D: Having been privy to some of your teaching, I can't imagine how anyone would want to deny himself such wisdom. Moving on: What was your finest lacrosse moment of your four years at Dartmouth?

EM: That would have to be the time we were on a road trip and I woke up in the middle of the night because someone was using a chainsaw in the room, which really weirded me out because who uses a chainsaw in a hotel room, right? Anyway, I couldn't sleep with all that racket, but felt bad about asking the guy to stop whatever he was doing, so I moved into the bathroom with my blankets and slept on the floor with my head under the toilet. Which was fine until the wall started shaking and woke me up. I thought the chainsaw guy was trying to cut the wall down but it turns out it was only an earthquake.

Or maybe it was the time when I was wearing my lax jacket and someone behind me in the sandwich line said, "Hey, nice game yesterday."

I turned around to say thanks and she said, "Oh, sorry. I thought you were Connor." She was really hot so I asked her to go out with me but she said, "Sorry, I can't. Have you seen Connor?"

The D: As a Red Sox fan, whom would you most like to take a swing at: Derek Jeter, Bill Buckner, Bucky Dent or Roger Clemens?

EM: I think I would go with John Kruk, that guy who used to play for the Phillies. He seems like a guy who would be scared of me. Seriously though, I'd have to go with Clemens for starting that whole curse thing. That wasn't too cool and has caused lots of anxiety for New Englanders all across the world.

The D: What are the best and worst parts about living in Vermont?

EM: I guess the worst part is being on a one-lane dirt road and getting stuck behind a huge tour bus filled with people looking at the leaves. I mean, I just want to get home and tend to my business, you know? And the leaves aren't doing anything exciting like competing in a demolition derby, so I don't know why people want to look at them. Plus those buses don't go as fast as my tractor up the hills.

The best part is when a huge tour bus stops at your house and a bunch of people get out and want to pay you money at your store which is in your barn where you sell pictures of colorful leaves because they saw a sign that said "Vermont Antiques: Buses Welcome."

Can I tell you a joke? Do you know there's only two seasons in Vermont? Winter and road construction. Which is funny because it's true, but not funny if you live on a one-lane dirt road that always has huge tour buses on it but never gets repaired, which is why I have to drive a tractor.

The D: What is your opinion on all the hysteria surrounding the opening of the newest "Star Wars" movie?

EM: I'm not surprised. Star Wars isn't just a series of movies, it's a culture. Just look at all those "Trekkie" conventions. What I don't get is why in the three original ones there are no double-sided light sabers, but in Episode I that Phantom Menace guy had that double whammy. Don't you think they'd have developed the technology for a single-sided saber before a double? For example, we invented the motorcycle before the car, didn't we?

The D: Who do you think is cooler: Simon or Garfunkel?

EM: What's Garfunkel's first name? If it's Art like I think it is I'd have to say he's the most famous person named Art and that guy who wrote that article in your paper about Art a while ago was wrong. If it's not Art then Simon is definitely cooler, especially if his first name is Art.

The D: What is your all-time favorite movie quote?

EM: There are two tied for first. One is in the movie "Johnny Mnemonic" when Johnny, played by Keanu Reeves, is sitting on the edge of his bed and some girl asks him a question and he looks up and says "What?" And then she says "Never mind" and leaves.

The second is in "The Matrix" when Neo, played by Keanu Reeves, sees Morpheus, played by Laurence Fishburne, jump from one building to another and says "Whoa." The passion with which he expresses himself is so deep that I'm just blown away, and both quotes are applicable to the real world and have such powerful meaning in our own lives. Also that part when he stops those bullets is pretty cool, because if you'll remember earlier in the movie Neo asks Morpheus if he could ever dodge bullets and Morpheus says, "By the time you're ready, you won't have to." I'm glad Neo didn't take the red pill.

The D: Who will make the NBA Finals, and which team will take home the championship?

EM: Well, I'm a Celtics fan, but I think Jason Kidd is just too good. I think the Lakers will beat the Nets in the finals. What's the deal with that thing Kobe was wearing on his leg the other night?

The D: Is there any particular reason why you wear turf shoes everywhere?

EM: That's a good question. I think I'm just reluctant to come to grips with the fact that I'm no longer a lacrosse player. By wearing those shoes, I can stay in touch with lax and constantly be reminded of good times like when that chainsaw woke me up. And the shoes are more subtle than carrying around a lax stick. I think I'd get picked on if I did that. Not to mention the ankle support.

The D: What music do you listen to get yourself pumped up for a big lax game?

EM: "Pour Some Sugar On Me" by Def Leppard and "Here I Go Again" by Whitesnake. Oh, and also "Back at One" by Brian McKnight. When I was in high school I used to listen to Milli Vanilli until I found out they were faking.

The D: What does the future hold for Erkki Mackey?

EM: Well, I'm going to try some new approaches in the class I'm teaching. Maybe I could have Connor and Anatole be guest lecturers. And I'm going to watch the new Star Wars movie and find out what all the hysteria is all about and see if there are any two-sided light sabers. I heard Yoda's in a couple fight scenes and also that Samuel L. Jackson has a purple light saber. What's going on there? Do you think early on in light saber technology there were many colors, but they found out two were superior to all the others and started using only those two by the time the Death Star was operational?