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The Legend talks to a Purdue Legend

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I got to speak with Robbie Hummel tonight. This is not the article that will come from that conversation, but instead, is a dramatic recreation of the time leading up to the interview and the interview itself. I figured we could use some levity around here.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Travis sent an article my way today that involved interviewing Robbie Hummel, this is not the article (which I intend to be a well researched and informative piece), but instead, it's more of a reaction to the article and the interview.

First off, I'm lucky enough to be staying home and watching my 1 year old daughter while my wife finishes her Ph.D. in Veterinary Pathobiology at Texas A&M (The Legend way, way, way, out kicked his coverage). Lillian (my daughter) and I were just gearing up for another episode of Ancient Aliens on Netflix (I feel bad about watching T.V. with her, so as a compromise, we only watch documentaries...now, granted, Ancient Aliens isn't actually a documentary, but it's close enough) when the Gmail app on my iPad dinged. I usually wait a few weeks for an email to marinate in my inbox before checking it out, but I had the iPad in my hands, and decided to do the adult thing, and see what the dinging was all about. It's an email from Travis, forwarding a request from someone else, wondering if anyone would be interested in doing a piece on what Robbie Hummel is up to this summer. As an added bonus, an interview with Robbie is thrown into the mix. Since most of our other writers have actual vocations that don't involve chasing a crazed, teething one year bent on injuring herself, I figured I had pole position on this thing, and quickly claimed the prize (sorry suckers that's what you get for having real jobs).

After a few emails back and forth, I was connected with Rich Rinaldi. Rich was on his way to an NBA draft function, but was gracious enough to spend some time talking to me about what the NBAPA has working for their current players, in order to prepare them for life after basketball (spoiler alert, that's what my article is about) and offered to put me in touch with Robbie if I was interested. I played it cool and said that I guess an actual interview would probably get a few more reads on Hammer and Rails. Rich said he would have Robbie contact me on my cell.

Once I hung up with Rich, I was faced with a cold reality. How was I going to talk to Robbie on the phone and not sound like a complete dork? I had visions of a Chris Farley SNL skit where the interview goes something like this:

Me: Hey, Robbie

Robbie: Yes

Me: Hey, you remember when you guys won the Big 10 tournament?

Robbie: Yes

Me: Yeah, that was awesome (insert nervous laugh)!

After a few panic stricken moments where I was convinced I was going to sound like a fawning school girl, I pulled it together. I'm The Legend, and The Legend is a lot of things, but he's not a huge dork and under no circumstances is he a fawning school girl. I decided to go with a short, on point interview, sticking to the subject at hand and being respectful of his time. I mean, come on Drew, Robbie Hummel is younger than you! He got up this morning and put his pants on one leg at a time (full disclosure, I rarely put pants on, and I haven't worn a shirt inside my house in 3 months, but you get the picture). You are not going to royally screw this up. Robbie will not talk about you to his friends tomorrow morning. That was my goal, it wasn't perfection, it was just not terrible or at the very least, not memorably terrible.

I mean, I've been around athletes all of my life, my college roommate (unofficial college roommate) had a cup of coffee with the Chiefs, and one of my other college friends played tackle for the Seahawks for a few years. Heck, my cousin's wife played point guard for the Silver Spurs and Fever and has an Olympic silver medal. This isn't a big deal, just talking to someone on the phone, getting a few answers and writing a quick article. No problem.

Oh, except there is one problem...I am terrible on the phone. Of all forms of communication, talking on the phone is my least favorite. My friends have all but given up calling me and now just resort to google hangouts or facebook messenger to get in touch with me. I have a few friends that just stop by the house because they know I'm not going to answer the phone. I haven't checked my voicemail in over 3 years, and honestly, I have no idea what the passcode is anymore. I will occasionally let my phone die and not charge it for a week on purpose, and now I'm going to have to conduct a phone interview with Robbie Hummel....sigh.

I figured preparation was the key, so I went about doing a little research, and putting together a list of questions. I didn't want to freeze up, and I figured having the list in front of me would at least prevent that. Then decided to brush up on my phone talking skills. For the first time in a long time, I called my mom (we communicate mostly over facebook messenger these days) and attempted to chat. Unfortunately, my 1 year old has a new phone obsession, and as soon as I started talking to my mom, she started clapping her hands (Lillian sign language for "I want") and tugging on my shorts. I tried to ignore her, but it was no use. She is a determined baby, and after a minute of clapping a tugging she took it to the next level and started squealing, a noise that I can only imagine is analogous the crying of the lambs that Hanibal Lecter discusses with Clarice in The Silence of the Lambs. I handed the phone to my one year old and let her babble at her grandma for a few minutes. I reclaimed the phone, and was immediately faced with more clapping and subsequently, more squealing. Awesome, I only knew that Robbie was going to call some time tonight, and I had no idea if my wife would be home when he called. I did not relish the idea of trying to talk to him over the insistent squeals of my daughter. I'm sure Robbie is a nice guy, but I don't think he wants to spend his time conversing with an unknown toddler (even if she is the most adorable almost 1 year old on the face of the planet and I will fight you if you say otherwise).

Luckily, my wife made it home at 3 and I didn't have to face the Robbie vs Lillian scenario that I had been playing out in my head...or did I. Sarah (my wife) decided to go to yoga tonight, and she would be yogaing during prime calling time. I could have asked her not to go, and she would have stayed home while I anxiously stared at my cell phone and mumbled to myself, but instead decided, "I'm a man, I turned 34 yesterday, I can handle this, I can't let the toddler win." I told Sarah to have fun at yoga and said a little prayer that Robbie would call while I was trying to feed Lillian dinner. If you want to enrage my daughter, the best way to go about it is to hesitate in the middle of a meal. The girl likes to eat. So, all I could do is wait, wait and hope that Robbie didn't call and interrupt Lillian's meal of Moroccan chicken with preserved lemon couscous (I would like to think my daughter has refined taste, but in all honesty, she will literally eat anything).

I waited, and I waited, and then I waited some more, the minutes ticked by tortuously slow. I now know how Tom Crean feels when faced with a 2-3 zone, it was a unique mixture of panic and confusion. I figured Sarah was going to be home at 7:30 and suddenly it was 7:40. What was she trying to do to me? What have I done to deserve such punishment? After what seemed like an entire Purdue noon football game passed by the clock hit 7:50, my mind jumped to the worst case scenario. She had been in a car accident (if you know my wife, and her driving record, this isn't that much of a leap). I called her phone, and it went straight to voicemail (my terrible phone habits may actually be eclipsed by my wife). Lillian and I went outside and sat in the driveway, and waited for the car I was convinced was no longer coming. Then I heard it, the beautiful chirp of a Crown Vic with a loose fan belt turning into the cul de sac, and saw the sun gleaming off the crack in the windshield. Sarah got out the of car and said, "Sorry that took so long, but you told me the wrong time, class started at 6:30 and not 6:15." As is the case 95% of the time, I was the root cause of my own mental anguish. Sarah took over Lillian duty, and I returned to the waiting game, just a man, a slightly broken hand me down iPhone, a second hand laptop, and a goal (not to sound like a total dork).


Time passed, I cruised the internet, attacked a pint of Cherry Garcia to calm my nerves, and then it happened, the phone rang, and it was an Indiana number. I let it ring twice, just to make sure it wasn't a figment of my imagination, and answered. On the other end of the line was Robbie Freaking (his middle name is actually John) Hummel. The interview went not terrible, which, as I mentioned above, was my goal. I did my best to not to cut his answers short, and tried to avoid awkward silences. I think I got my words jumbled at one point, and sounded a bit like Obama searching for a word, and I probably said "cool, cool" a few too many times, but overall, not terrible. I asked the questions (this wasn't a hard ball interview by any means) he answered the questions. I thanked him, probably a little too profusely, and it was all over in about 10 minutes. For Robbie, I'm sure it was just another non-memorable interview in a long string of non-memorable interviews, but for me, well for me, let's just say it was certainly memorable. Oh yea, and that Robbie Hummel guy, he's pretty awesome.