It goes without saying that there is a long and hairy partnership between sports fans and the ruggedly attractive world of mustaches. It’s kind of like that Metallica album with Lou Reed: No one else liked it, but Lars, James, Kirk, Robert and Lou really seem to get each other.
It therefore makes sense that with nominations ongoing for the American Mustache Institute’s coveted 2012 Robert Goulet Memorial Mustached American of the Year award, sports stars once again are taking the lead as top contenders for an award said to be held on par with the Nobel Peace Prize by both astrophysicist Stephen Hawking and High Times magazine.
Of the four winners of the Goulet award, two are athletes: then-Arizona Diamondbacks reliever Clay Zavada in 2009, and Milwaukee Brewers hurler John Axford in 2011. It would seem there's an increased likelihood that this year’s honor -- to be presented Oct. 27 in Mesa, Ariz., at the charitable 'Stache Bash 2012 -- will go to another athlete.
Just consider a few of the options:
Jim Joyce: Until this season, Joyce’s most notable accomplishment was wrecking a perfect game by Detroit's Armando Galarraga in 2010. But that all changed in late August when he performed CPR on an Arizona Diamondbacks employee before a game and saved her life.
Andy Reid: The petite Philadelphia Eagles coach has had a tough year. But he and his walrus-style mustache have persevered, and his team looks like a contender.
George Parros: Perhaps the best-looking mammal on the planet, the Florida Panthers’ right winger has a longtime history of rugged checks and even more rugged good looks (perhaps I have a man-crush -- it remains to be seen).
Rickie Fowler: With a background in motocross racing and having attended school in the state of Oklahoma, it's no wonder this golfer has brought the lavish lip luxury to the typically stale, barefaced world of the PGA Tour. Fowler is doing to the golf world what Bob Barker did to Happy Gilmore -- just with a side of mustache.
Shahid Khan: The new Jacksonville Jaguars owner with the debonair handlebar recently became the first Mustached American to grace the cover of Forbes since the Lincoln administration, and his iron-fisted diplomacy showed Maurice Jones-Drew who’s the boss (Tony Danza is, of course).
Corky Miller: You don’t hear much about Miller on the national media scene -- perhaps because he’s been in the minors, or it’s yet another example of The Man keeping a Mustached American down -- but the career backup catcher makes up for his sub-.200 lifetime batting average with a vicious Fu Manchu-style mouth carpet.
Jeff Fisher: What can you say about Fisher that hasn’t already been said? Now helming the ship for the Rams, his legendary chevron-style lip laminate is setting a much-needed new tone in St. Louis.
Kevin Youkilis: In spite of a tumultuous season that sent him from Bobby Valentine’s petulant Boston doghouse to the wrong end of Chicago (go Cubs!), “Youk” inspired his new White Sox teammates to accept Mustached Americana in their lives, and it’s kept the team in front of the AL Central for the better part of the stretch run.
Keep in mind the “Goulet” is not a Best Mustache contest, but instead recognizes the man or woman who has best represented or contributed to the Mustached American community during the past year. Nominations will be accepted until Sept. 28. On Oct. 1, the pool will be streamlined to a worthy group of finalists selected by AMI’s certified mustacheologists for online voting.
Dr. Aaron Perlut is the chairman of the American Mustache Institute.