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Getting Crazy with ... "Survivor" Colleen Haskell
By Marc Connolly
MondayNightFootball.com

ABC Sports Online senior writer Marc Connolly decided to shake things up and interview a celebrity fan rather than a player for this week's Monday Night Football battle between Tennessee and Washington (ABC, 9 p.m. ET). His subject for this week's special "Getting Crazy With ..." edition: lifelong Skins fan Colleen Haskell, of "Survivor" fame. They spoke at length in her dressing room after she served as co-host for "Live with Regis" a few weeks ago in New York. Connolly reports that Ms. Haskell, a native of Bethesda, Md., was every bit as charming, down-to-earth and devastatingly cute as the world saw on the blockbuster show last summer. Here's what transpired:

Colleen Haskell
Colleen Haskell's stole her island "do-rag" look from Deion Sanders.

Connolly: I have to be the first sportswriter to interview you.

Haskell: (laughing) Yeah, definitely. It's great, though. I love it.

Connolly: Can you tell us about your sports background?

Haskell: I went to a really small, private, Catholic, all-girls school until senior year of high school when I changed to a public school. In private school, you're obliged to plays sports so I played volleyball, lacrosse for a year, basketball. Pretty much, if you show up at tryouts, you're on the team. So I played a lot of things.

Connolly: Were all these considered varsity?

Haskell: Yeah, but volleyball was my sport. That's the only sport that I really took with me. The jock in my family is my brother, Andrew. He's a huge swimmer at Loyola. He took the family on vacations through swimming when we were growing up. He's a sophomore, and wins all kinds of junk down there.

Connolly: What about your dad?

Haskell: He's not an athlete, but he helps out and he's really into stats and figures and watching sports and all that. I grew up with football always being on. So when the fall hits, I always turn it on but then maybe do other things like laundry or homework or be in the kitchen. I just love the noise of it and the whole environment. It's just part of life and fall and growing up for me, I guess. I love the Redskins. I love ice hockey too because when I grew up the Caps were really good. Scott Stevens was my first crush ever because he was real cute. It was back when it was still the Cap Center.

Connolly: Yeah, your town is crazy now with the arena-naming deal. There's FedEx Field for the Redskins and USAir Arena for hockey. The MCI Center. I hate it, personally.

Haskell: Exactly.

Connolly: Did you go to a lot of games growing up?

Haskell: We had season tickets for the Caps and went to Redskins games, but it was much more a TV deal. My dad would always do this weird thing - turn down the volume and listen to the commentary on the radio. Is that a sports thing?

Connolly: Oh yeah. Happened a lot more in the old days when people listened to the same radio voice for years and years and got attached. Working for ABC, we don't encourage that. (laughing) At least not for Monday Night Football.

Haskell: Right. Right. How's that working out? It seems like a good connection going (new broadcast team).

Connolly: It's been good. I think if you liked Dennis going in, you like him in the booth. Hopefully the others who weren't fans of his give him a chance and don't write him off too soon. He knows a lot more about football than probably 95 percent of fans.

Haskell: Is he fun to work with?

Connolly: He's been cool. Real regular, you know. Just a big fan, actually. The guy's eyes light up when he's walking around the field before the game.

Haskell: That's cool. That's what they needed.

Connolly: I agree. Now, how about athletes you admired growing up?

Haskell: In my area, Cal Ripken has always been huge. He's who we are. He's such a good guy and he represents our area really well. He's always been here and is the one I always liked the most.

Connolly: Any others?

Haskell: Mostly golfers. Male golfers. I grew up golfing and used to be embarrassed about it until recently. Now, I'm like, "Yeah, I golf."

Connolly: What do you shoot?

Haskell: I've broken 100 a few times, so I'm very average. I don't get to play a lot anymore since it's kind of expensive and I don't have a lot of time. I like to go to the driving range and sort of tool around.

Connolly: Speaking of expensive, I have to throw Daniel Snyder's name by you.

Haskell: He bought himself a really cool team, huh?

Connolly: Yeah, but they're not living up to everyone's expectations yet. Snyder's not too popular since he charged money to watch the Skins practice. Would you pay to see a practice?

Haskell: Heck, no. I wouldn't go. Some of my friends debate that a lot. Most of them say that only people in D.C. like the Redskins now since they're just a snotty, bought team. My friend says, "If they win, it's not because of talent, it's because they bought the talent. It's not a homegrown team." It's all money so I tend to agree, but it's also the American Way. It happened on the Island. That's how it works.

Connolly: Does this mean we can start a little Island talk? In sports, of course.

Haskell: Yeah, of course.

Connolly: Who was the best athlete on the Island?

Haskell: Joel. We called him "Captain America." He's so huge and he cares so much about flexing and all that. He's very talented at what he does. He played sports growing up and was a big jock. Did you see him win that spear competition?

Connolly: Yes, I was a "Survivor" geek.

Haskell: (Laughing) Cool, so you know what I mean then. Well, Gervase was a good athlete too, even though he didn't run very fast in last night's episode (rerun of the obstacle course challenge). I totally lost so bad in the swimming, did you see?

Connolly: Yeah, why did you do the breaststroke?

Haskell: No, no! There's a story behind that! Before they showed us, they made us do a trial swim. It didn't look like much on TV but it was really rough. So Sean and I had to swim out there and back for no reason at all. We were competitive with each other so we kicked it into high gear even though they said not to. So when it was time to swim for real five minutes later, I thought I was gonna drown! We all did so badly in those competitions.

Connolly: What if the two tribes played each other in football?

Haskell: We'd win, definitely. We were the athlete team, you know what I mean. Greg had a Frisbee so we used to play all the time before the lack of food got to us and we were exhausted.

Connolly: Some people might not know that you are a Dawg.

Haskell: Yeah, baby.

Connolly: When you went to undergrad at Georgia, did you go to all the Bulldog games?

Haskell: Yeah. I mean, football is so huge down in Georgia. There's nothing like it. I've never experienced anything like it. People used to park on our front lawn to go to the games. They'd tailgate for days and camp out for tickets and the whole deal. It was a lot of fun, though. It's "between the hedges" and everything. I went to a bunch of the games every year. I never had to camp out, but I always knew somebody to get me in.

Connolly: If you were going to tailgate with people from the Island, who would you invite?

Haskell: Gervase is awesome to hang out with. So much fun. Joel is a big-time partier too. Every story starts with "I was at this bar and ?" Then, either Jenna or Greg. Jenna is awesome and I get along with her so well so she'd be my female friend there. I would want Greg there because he was my best friend from the Island, but he'd probably make fun of the sport the entire time. He thinks any type of organized anything is stupid.

Connolly: Would you have your Deion do-rag on like you did the whole time on the Island? You do know you stole it from him.

Haskell: (laughing) It was from boredom! I had four articles of clothing with me. You can say I stole it from Deion, though. Yeah, I definitely nabbed it from Deion.

Connolly: Any favorite sports movies?

Haskell: Hoosiers. That was a classic. I liked Tin Cup, too.

Connolly: Are you kidding me?

Haskell: No, I liked it because Kevin Costner's character didn't care. He was like (Jean) Van de Velde from the British Open. He was going to go for his shot even if it took a 14 or something. That's the spirit of sports. I love that whole attitude. Does Caddyshack count?

Connolly: Of course.

Haskell: OK, add that down too.

Connolly: Who would play you if they made Survivor into a movie?

Haskell: I've never been asked that, actually, but I heard that some websites had a few recommendations.

Connolly: I'd say Natalie Portman.

Haskell: She's too young! I'm 23, she's like 18 or 19.

Connolly: Well, she'd be old enough by the time it started filming.

Haskell: Right, right. Good point. I could live with that. Most of my favorite actors and actresses are dead.

Connolly: Greg would be played by the cartoon version "Shaggy" from Scooby Doo.

Haskell:(laughing) Oh my God, that's perfect. The kid is crazy. A complete lunatic. But he's great.

Connolly: Now that you've got a little fame ?

Haskell: (mocking herself) Fame. Whatever. Now people run around and recognize you ?

Connolly: Well, no matter what you say you do know the day will come when you get an "E: True Hollywood Story."

Haskell: (in announcer voice) Survivor I: Where are they and what happened?

Connolly: OK, back to sports.

Haskell: Right. Let's keep at it.

Connolly: What I was getting at when I mentioned fame is now that people know who you are and you have access to people and certain events, are there any athletes you'd like to meet?

Haskell: Actually, I went to a party with Gervase -- Zo's Summer Groove. I got to meet Alonzo Mourning (the host) and a lot of other athletes. Actually, you knew who I saw? Muhammad Ali! He was the coolest athlete I've ever been around. He was staying at the same hotel that I was staying. He had no clue who I was, but I went up to him and said, "I think you're great." I mean, he's an American icon.

Connolly: Yeah, I've met him three different times and it's like royalty is in the room. It's unbelievable.

Haskell: Yeah, I was shocked. I stopped in my tracks when I saw him in the lobby. I also met Evander Holyfield and Don King. As far as who I'd like to meet, no one else really comes to mind.

Connolly: Are there any other sports you want to get into in the future?

Haskell: I want to get into extreme sports but they are so expensive. Why does it cost $200 to jump off a building or a bridge? That makes no sense to me. I'd love to try it all someday. I really want to learn how to windsail or windsurf. I thought I was going to down in Miami, but you can't. It's ridiculous. I really want to learn so many new sports, so if you know of anyone who can give me free lessons, I'm more than willing to try.

Connolly: Um, I don't think I'll have trouble finding you an instructor.

 
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