Monday, September 22, 2014

Jay Unver Interviews Justin Nunnery

Interview with Justin Nunnery
By Jay Unver
I arose early to beat the morning’s sun to Greenville, Mississippi last Saturday, September 20, 2014. Fresh back from my trip to London where I interviewed Annabel Lavers, I was on my next assignment from the boss, Dr. Nomann, to have a little chat with Justin Nunnery.
Justin, along with Annabel Lavers, is one of the rising stars in The Association of Sports Swimmers. In fact, Justin competes in the other associations, The Association of Sports Shufflers and the Association of Sports Syclists, and is a full contract athlete with Big ASS Endurance. We sat down at the local Waffle House in Greenville and had a long talk about life in and out of the world's most interesting athletic promotion.
"Justin, you have had some real success lately. You must feel pretty good about your future."
"Yes and no. I am happy and disgruntled in some ways."
I was a little taken back by his statement. "Disgruntled? Tell me about it."
At this point the waiter came and took our order. I asked for a couple of eggs, grits, toast, and coffee. Justin put in for the supreme breakfast: two eggs, grits, toast, waffle, coffee and orange juice.
"Wait, wait," I said. "Let’s start at the beginning. Tell us a little about yourself. We can get to the other stuff later."
"First off, I think I’m the best looking athlete Big ASS has. I was born and raised here in Greenville, and was always good-looking. I was a little fat, but better than average on the attractiveness scale. That worked against me for a long time because I saw no need to lose the weight since I was already a chic-magnet. But eventually, I became concerned about my health. You know how that happens as we get older. I met Randy Beets and started swimming at the Y and then doing triathlons."
Our orders came and Justin, after first praying God’s blessing on it, dove in like a starving man. When he started back talking, some runny egg was drooling out of the right corner of his mouth. It eventually ran down his chin, and dripped to the table where he lapped it up with a piece of toast.
"Randy recruited me into the Fasttrack Fatties Athletic Club and when my tri times started dropping, Dr. Nomann offered me a contract with Big ASS. I jumped at the chance. I had long been inspired by the Hodge/Beets rivalry. Beets and I became training partners before he moved to North Carolina. Now we are adversaries."
"I hear you trained with Hodge one day last May."
"I did. We went to a catfish pond and swam in some pretty cool water."
"Cool? In what sense?"
"Temperature. I think it was 68, which for me is cool."
"So besides the water temp how was it? How did you and Hodge get along?"
Justin was finishing his food. He wiped his plate clean with his remaining bite of toast and then picked the empty plate up and licked it. He motioned for the waitress and when she came he ordered, “A waffle with as many sunny-side up eggs as you can put on the top of it. And more coffee and more juice.”
Hodge and Nunnery before
the fighting started.

Then I got him back on track.

"He was OK. Hodge. I mean, we didn’t fight. Not then. I had heard he is pretty easy to get along with two times per year. One is when he does his Chicot Challenge, and the other is whenever he goes to a catfish pond."
"Boy, that opens up a lot of questions for me. Let’s start with the time y’all did fight and then move to the Challenge."
"He tried to sucker punch me after I kicked his butt at the Heart O’ Dixie Triathlon," Justin said with a sneer. "So I whipped him. Plain and simple."
"You defeated him there for the Big ASS World Triathlon Championship. But he says he whipped you after the race," I added. 
"I won the race and the fight," Justin said with anger.
"OK. You two, along with Randy Beets, were a team at the Chicot Challenge. How did that work out?"
"It was fine. Like I said earlier, he’s easy to get along with at a catfish pond or at the Challenge. If you beat him in a triathlon, though, he comes unglued."
Justin’s next order of food arrived and he attacked it like he was mad at it or something.
"I enjoyed the Challenge," Justin started back. He had food falling out of his mouth when he talked. "I mostly drove the pontoon boat. I did some swimming with him late in the day when he was tiring. Randy swam with him some and finished with him. It was all for a good cause and it was inspiring to watch someone swim that far."
"What about next year. You two have fought since then. Will you work the 2015 Chicot Challenge?"

Nunnery, commentating for the Big ASS TV Network.
"I plan to. I think we can put our hostilities aside for one day."
"You mention earlier that you are partly disgruntled. Would you elaborate on that?"
"What pisses me is Hodge being allowed by Big ASS to be pretty selective in the events he competes in. He outright ducked me and Beets at Pensacola. Nomann ought to make him do that event. I think Beets could take him there."
"You know, that comes pretty close to the Chicot Challenge," I added.
"He’s ducking us. He told me himself, that day we trained at the pond, that he told me himself that he didn’t want to face Beets at that distance that early in the year."
"Still, you know he sinks a lot of money into the Chicot Challenge. Even with Big ASS paying his entrance fee, that is a lot of extra expense he can’t afford."
"Are you taking up for him?" Justin asked, galring at me with jelly on his face.
"No. I'm jjust sayin'."
Justin finished his second order of food and waived the waitress over. "How about a plate of hash browns, grits, and a couple of more eggs on top."
"Coming right up," she said with a smile.
"I just think a real champion should take on all challengers," Justin started back after slurping down the rest of his orange juice and burping loudly. "Randy and I both called him out at Pensacola and he didn’t answer the challenge. I have a problem with that."
"Maybe you can get him down there next year."
I ain't holding my breath."
"Shifting gears. You just did very well in an open water swim in Louisiana. Tell us about that."
"I went down there with rage towards Hodge and kicked butt. One day I’ll get him in an open water race, and I will whip him just like I did at the Heart O’ Dixie."

"I hear you are going to pilot him at Swim the Suck? True?"

"Yes. Strange but true. It will be an oportunity for me to be involved in defeating Randy Beets."

"So you won't try to sabatage him?" I asked in all sincerety.

"Oh, no. Beating Beets' butt will be great even if I am not the one doing the swimming."
"Speaking of beating butt, have you given any thought to the new MMA league?" I asked.
"A little. You think they’d let me fight Hodge?"
"I don’t know. There has been some talk of you and Annabel Lavers facing off."
"Really? I thought the plan was to match her with Beets."
"It was. But when his mother heard about it, we were contacted by her lawyer. Again."
"Gee. I don’t know if I want to fight a woman. Bel looks pretty strong. What if I lose?"
"Then we would match you with a smaller woman."
"Robin Bond," I answered.
"Robin Bond? Wow. Me fight Robin Bond. You have the contract?"