By ROGER MILLS
© St. Petersburg Times, published June 3, 2001
Mutiny goalkeeper Scott Garlick has been around soccer long enough to have a few takes on the state of the game and the art of goalkeeping. And at 29, he also has a few takes on retail stores, glamorous actresses, Timothy McVeigh and XFL jerseys.
RM: Give me an opinion on the media's portrayal of soccer riots and stampedes. SG: That's the only time soccer gets on the front page. It's bad because some people use soccer as a vehicle to express rage. But that particular action is only a reflection of the lawlessness in the country. You don't see this thing happening normally in countries where there is social control. It's not the game, but it's the social condition at the time.
RM: But you must admit, it looks ugly.
SG: First of all, lives are lost, so that's a sad thing. And then you hear talk-show hosts say it's because of soccer, that's ridiculous. It's reflective of the culture. There is disorganization, police power, economic strife and poor facilities. All of those situations can create disaster whether you're attending a political rally or a football game.
RM: Some say the best American athletes don't play soccer.
SG: In a way, that's an insult. Take Eric Quill, he's a guy on our team who had a chance to play Division I basketball and chose to play soccer instead. I think if I wanted to pursue baseball I could have been a professional player. It's the media's fault. They give six days of Allen Iverson and very little of Carlos Valderrama. By virtue of six to one, people see one guy as a better athlete.
RM: But the women's soccer players have a different image.
SG: No question, and it's a bit unfair. For instance, the media have portrayed Mia Hamm as one of the better athletes in the country. You're telling me that she's a better athlete than Cynthia Cooper or Venus Williams? The media treat women soccer players and talk about women's soccer differently. There's incredible bewilderment (from male soccer players) that people don't see through it.
RM: Ever notice that soccer goalies don't get their due?
SG: People don't understand the position. They don't understand the intangibles that make a good goalie, like the confidence they allow the players in front of them.
RM: True or false, a good goalie is one who doesn't have to make great saves.
SG: True. They say a goalkeeper is not at his best until he's about 32 or 33 and that's because of experience. You can come out here and throw yourself after the ball, but the game gets easier as you get older because you've seen it before. A goalkeeper relies less on his physical abilities and more on his mental. In fact, about 60 to 70 percent of it is mental.
RM: Facing a penalty kick, do you pick a side and just dive?
SG: I do, but I make an educated guess. You look at how he lines up, how he approaches the ball. There are players you can gauge by watching them during the game. Some guys prefer to hit the ball with the instep, some with the inside of the foot. For me, those are little hints you can study.
RM: Wal-Mart or Kmart?
SG: Given the choice, I'll go to Wal-Mart. I'm always looking for fishing worms and stuff like that and Wal-Mart has a great selection.
RM: Who's the most glamorous actress?
SG: My wife would want me to say Julia Roberts because she's 100 percent obsessed with Julia. Maybe it's an indication of me getting old, but I look at all the young women like Jennifer Lopez and I don't even want to go see the movie. I would prefer to see a studied actor rather than a hip-hop star. I'm old school. Someone like Susan Sarandon.
RM: Finish this sentence, "If I ruled the world. . ."
SG: I would figure out a way to provide for everyone. We have such a false sense of what life is about.
RM: If I were a cop. . .
SG: I would retire and find another job.
RM: Got no love for cops?
SG: They have to deal with the people who haven't been reached. In a way, they have a thankless job. When you see people everyday who have no respect for you, you adopt that attitude yourself.
RM: Who should judge Timothy McVeigh?
SG: Not us. I don't believe in the death penalty. I don't think we have the right to take someone's life. I certainly don't think he should see the light of day again. In some ways, he's got the easy way out. He should have to sit in prison with some nasty guys for the rest of his life. I think we're arrogant when we admit that we have a right to decide who should live and who should die. I don't agree with that at all.
RM: But he was convicted of killing 168 people, including children.
SG: That's an argument centered around emotion. For me to make a logical decision on that, I have to remove emotion. That's difficult to do, especially if you're directly involved emotionally. I don't know, if I had a relative directly affected by this animal, I might have a different take.
RM: What would be on the back of your XFL jersey?
SG: I would leave it blank. I do have a lot of things to say, but I don't have a lot of things to say about myself. I want to be judged on my merits and not on what the back of my jersey says.