Columbus Athletes, Outside the Lines

Which Columbus pro athlete does crossword puzzles each morning?
Which has a tattoo of his grandfather’s WWII dog tag numbers?
And what prompted a former Buckeye All-American to take up sewing?

Meet the men behind the pros.

Read about our 2013 athletes here

James Wisniewski

  • On Wisniewski: T-shirt and jacket, John Varvatos; jeans, Joe's Jeans; and watch, Cartier.
  • Wiz's 30th birthday gift: A Jaeger-LeCoultre watch
  • A Couple's Passion: Wine

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman
Age: 30
Family: Wife, Nicole; daughter Jamie, 1; daughter Sadie, expected to arrive in July

James Wisniewski was swinging a golf club before sliding a hockey stick. And while the Detroit native now makes a living playing hockey, he still golfs five days a week, has traveled the world competing in it, and two years ago won the club championship at Muirfield Village, where his home is tucked in the same private enclave as that of Jack Nicklaus. The highlight of his game? “Probably driving,” says Wisniewski, who is a near-scratch golfer. “I actually hit it pretty straight off the tee.” The hand-eye coordination he hones helps his hockey game, he says. But golf’s greatest gift is the mental exercise of letting things go, which extends into hockey. “If you hit a bad shot, it’s over with. Let it go—and never hit two bad shots in a row,” Wisniewski says. “Can’t get too high, can’t get too low.” 

Describe your style: Kind of sleek. My motto’s, “Look good, feel good, play good.” I want to dress the part, look professional.

Favorite place to shop: Chicago.

Favorite designers: John Varvatos. Sounds snotty, but Louis Vuitton. My favorite jeans are Seven and Chip & Pepper—they’re for athletic-type people, not for the European guys.

Biggest style splurge: A Jaeger-LeCoultre (watch). Got it for my 30th birthday.

Favorite shoes: I bought these Louis Vuittons a year and a half ago: They’re light blue suede. I wore them once—scuffed them right on the toe. Big black mark. Once! I was like, “This is why I don’t wear them!” [laughing]

Favorite accessory: This necklace. It’s custom made. I got it because I have a tattoo of my grandfather’s dog tag numbers from WWII. So I got it to represent him.

Other tattoos? I have a USA on my shoulder. I won three gold medals—when I was 17, when I was 18 and when I was a junior (in the World Junior Championships). I have a half sleeve of a Polish eagle for my other grandfather. He’s 100 percent Polish. It’s the eagle that’s on the flag. And I have a crown because he calls himself the king.

Fashion advice: Be yourself. Wear what you like. Make sure you look good. Like, Doobie (Brandon Dubinsky) goes over the top.

Which teammate needs your advice? Ryan Murray. We were shopping in Washington, D.C. And this is not his fault—when you’re a young guy, a rookie, you save your money. (But) his shoes were scuffed up, and I was like, “Man, you can’t wear those.” So I spent $250 on a nice pair of black shoes and went to his door and was like, “Here man.” I love the kid.

Hair stylist: Jose Espitia, on the corner of Michigan and 3rd. He’s awesome.

Travel essentials: Honestly my iPad, because I watch Netflix. I watch documentaries, because I like to learn.

Last documentary you watched?
Death by China.

What else is on your iPad? Anchorman 2. I seriously have probably seen Saving Private Ryan 100 times, so I have Saving Private Ryan. I have Frozen for my daughter.

Newest car in what Nicole jokingly calls your fleet: I have the first Mercedes S63 2015 in North America.

Cologne: Creed.

boxers or briefs? Boxer briefs.

Stubble or clean-shaven? Stubble.

Bare feet or socks? Slippers.

Eyes or legs? Eyes.

Can’t-miss TV show: We’re a big TV show couple. The Walking Dead. Game of Thrones. Boardwalk Empire. Shameless. Californication. I like this new one called Turn.

Magazine subscriptions: Golf Digest.

Golf handicap: +1.4

Favorite Columbus courses: I’ve got to say Muirfield. I like all of the big four—Muirfield, Scioto, The Golf Club… and obviously Double Eagle is my second favorite. No, it’s tied for first.

All-time favorite courses: Butler National in Chicago. Carnoustie in Scotland. Spyglass. And Nine Bridges in South Korea (which I got to play after winning the Muirfield Village club championship). It’s $1 million to join—flat fee.

Typical foursome: Jared Boll, Brandon Dubinsky and Jason Day.

Dream foursome: Ben Hogan. Arnold Palmer in his prime. And I would actually go way back and say Walter Hagen—and he has to use his clubs, too.

In your tummy: Coffee.

Best meal in Columbus: Hyde Park, because they take care of us. And M. And Muirfield.

Drink of choice: Red wine. Or an old fashioned.

What’s in your wine cellar? Probably 85-percent cab. And then some French. We love Italian and French.

Passion: Golf. Hockey. History. My family.

Annoyance: Ignorant people. Stupid questions. I hate stupid questions. People say there’s no such thing as a stupid question: There is.

Dream: Win a Stanley Cup—and play Augusta after.

Malcolm Jenkins

  • On Jenkins: Custom jacket and pants, Q Clothier; custom shirt, Astor & Black; bow tie, Rock Avenue Bow Ties prototype; pocket square, Rock Avenue Bow Ties; and ostrich belt, Bello Verde.
  • Jenkins chooses the fabrics for each of his line’s bow ties and pocket squares. “That’s the fun part,” he says. The bow ties start at $75 at Mizzen+Main. Up next? Ohio State bow ties, coming this summer.

Philadelphia Eagles safety; former Ohio State All-American
Age: 26 
Family: Wife, Morrisa; daughter Elle, 7 months 

Jackets and ties were required for road trips. And while swag may not have been inked into the rules, the New Orleans Saints brought it en masse. “The locker room becomes like a fashion show, basically,” says Malcolm Jenkins, who was drafted onto the team in 2009 after a successful Buckeye football career. “Quickly I learned, OK, you have to do something to stand out.” His answer? Bow ties. (He tried switching things up with a necktie for a game in 2011, but when the team lost, the guys demanded he wear solely bow ties.) “Now, it’s to the point I don’t even feel comfortable in a regular necktie,” Jenkins says. Last April, he complained to his wife that he couldn’t find bow ties he liked. “Make your own,” she suggested. So they headed to a Jo-Ann Fabric store, bought a sewing machine, and, five hours later, had an original. Soon, Jenkins was meeting with manufacturers in New Orleans and sourcing fabric in New York. July marks the one-year birthday of his company, Rock Avenue Bow Ties. The ties (and matching pocket squares) are sold in a handful of boutiques around the country—including Mizzen+Main in the Short North—as well as online. But you won’t find Jenkins’ name—let alone mention of his football career (he now plays for the Philadelphia Eagles)—on the website. “I want people to want the product for the product itself,” Jenkins says. “Because once Malcolm Jenkins is a nobody—because eventually I will be—I want it to still stand on its own.”


Describe your style: I think style is simply what you think you look good in. But if I had to put a label on it, I would say preppy street.

Favorite places to shop: I shop on Gilt Groupe religiously. J.Crew’s gotten a lot of my business lately.

Go-to look: Collared shirt, jeans and a bow tie.

Biggest style splurge: The thing I spend the most money on is custom blazers.

Favorite custom clothiers: Q Clothier in Dallas. Luca Falcone in New Orleans. Bello Verde in Columbus.

Well-worn favorite: These sweatpants that I got from Ohio State when I was a freshman.

Fashion icon: I think André 3000.

Travel essentials: I always need my headphones. I need my laptop. And I always make sure I pack a couple of different watches, a couple of different glasses and at least five bow ties.

What you drive: Mercedes-Benz S550. Black.

Sleepwear: I tend to sleep in the nude.

Cologne: The new Jay-Z cologne, Gold.

Boxers or briefs? Briefs.

Stubble or clean-shaven? Full beard.

Morning or night? I’m like a burn-at-both-ends-of-the-candle type of guy. If I had to pick one, I’d say morning. You can always stay up, but if you don’t wake up early, those hours are gone.

Eyes or legs? Legs.

Ultimate date night: Go to one of those luxury movie theaters with the recliner seats. So dinner and a movie. Then go to a casino and win some money. Then take the earnings and go enjoy a night on the town. But that date can easily go bad. [laughing]

Most impressive thing you’ve ever done to wow a woman: I’m not a big romantic, but when I proposed to my wife, she had always said she wanted a puppy, so I got her one, and put the ring on the collar.

Body parts you wax: I don’t think men should wax anything. I shave my stomach.

Can’t-miss TV show: The Walking Dead.
I’m addicted.

Last movie you watched: Last memorable one would be 12 Years a Slave.

On your iTunes: I’m all over the place. You’ll have some gospel. When it comes to rap, I’m like an older East Coast guy, so, like, Jay-Z. Beyoncé. A bunch of R&B stuff. Neo-soul. I’m a huge Joe Scott fan. And then Miguel and Frank Ocean.

In your tummy: Protein shake.

Drink of choice: Woodford Reserve on the rocks.

Passion: To be the best at whatever it is I’m doing, whether that be football, business, my spiritual life. I always want to be the best—the best me, I should say.

Annoyance: People who aren’t passionate. I cannot for the life of me understand it.

Dream: I’m kind of living mine right now, and it’s ever-developing. As a kid, I couldn’t have imagined where I would be right now, and it keeps getting better.

Wil Trapp

  • On Trapp: Noble Suit Co. custom shirt, Noble Suit Co.; L.B.M. 1911 blazer, Trunk Club; J Brand denim, High Street Denim; Happy socks, Brigade; and pocket square and sunglasses, J.Crew.
  • Winning Scent: Acqua Di Parma cologne
  • Longtime Favorite: “It’s a baptismal cross that I got as a baby. I wear it all the time.”

Columbus Crew midfielder and vice captain
Age: 21 
Family: Single

Sure, Wil Trapp’s grandfather played pro soccer in Greece, so the sport is in his blood. But it’s plenty of Trapp’s own sweat, too, that has earned him a starting spot on the Crew and, at just 21, the title of vice captain. One of pro soccer’s brightest young stars, Trapp—who grew up in Gahanna and played for the University of Akron—boasts a resume packed with accolades: 2009 and 2010 Crew Soccer Academy Player of the Year, 2010 NSCAA National High School Player of the Year, 2011 Mid-American Conference Men’s Soccer Newcomer of the Year, 2012 Columbus Crew Breakout Performance of the Year and 2013 U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year. But Trapp’s feet are firmly planted on the ground—that of his suburban hometown, to be specific. And there’s a better chance you’ll find the friendly young man reading at a coffee shop than partying in the wee hours. After all, if he did that, he couldn’t rise and shine early enough for his morning routine: “I do the crossword puzzles in The Dispatch. Both of them,” Trapp says, smiling. “And the word jumble!”

Describe your style: I would say I like to be comfortable. Not a lot of colors—pretty minimalist. Except for the socks. I like to go crazy with the socks.

How so? Just different colors, crazy patterns. I have lizard ones. I have monkey ones; one of my buddies from England got me those.

Favorite places to shop: Nordstrom. I really like Brigade—Larry Robertson’s my guy. Tigertree’s a cool shop as well.

Favorite lines? I like A.P.C.—it’s a French brand. Norse Projects is a Danish brand. Billy Reid. I go to J.Crew. And then Adidas.

Go-to look: Probably a button-up oxford shirt, some dark jeans—I usually cuff the trousers—and either a pair of sneakers or a pair of Chelsea boots.

Biggest style splurge: I got this blazer from Trunk Club. The brand is L.B.M. 1911. It was probably more than I should have spent!

Well-worn favorite: I got this watch from Brigade—refurbished vintage. I wear it almost every day.

Favorite accessory: This is my baptismal cross (pulls necklace from beneath his shirt). My Godparents got it from Greece when I was a baby. I wear it every day.

Travel essentials: I take my computer everywhere—a MacBook. Some Bose Bluetooth headphones. Deodorant. Floss.

Favorite pair of shoes: I would say these old, ripped-up Vans. We used to longboard in high school, and we ripped them up doing that. I threw them away a couple of months ago.

Fashion mantra: I like to get things that last—it’s a quality over quantity thing.

Sleepwear: I have a pair of grandpa pajamas that I just got, and I love them. I wear them every night. I watch House of Cards, and I think Kevin Spacey’s character has the exact same ones. I was watching Mad Men, and Jon Hamm was rocking a pair, and I was like, if he can do it, I can do it as well.

Cologne: Acqua Di Parma—Blu Mediterraneo.

Fashion icon: I mean, Gosling—he’s a baller. I like James Franco.

Boxers or briefs? Briefs.

Stubble or clean-shaven? Kid can barely grow any facial hair, so we’ll go clean-shaven. [laughing]

Morning or night? I like mornings.

Bare feet or socks? Socks.

Eyes or legs? Eyes.

Ultimate date night with your girlfriend: I like to cook. I don’t know—whip something up, have a glass of wine, go for a walk and get ice cream. I’m a big ice cream guy.

Can’t-miss TV show: Game of Thrones.

Last movie you watched: Wanderlust. Day of the game is like my sit-inside-and-watch-movies day.

On your playlist: Temper Trap. Black Keys. I like The Head and the Heart. Lord Huron. Swedish House Mafia.

In your tummy: Yogurt with granola and honey.

Magazine subscriptions: GQ.

What you drive: Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Drink of choice: Manhattans. On my dad’s side of the family, that’s the family drink.

Passions: I like to read—novels, mostly nonfiction. Obviously soccer. I go to church a lot. We do a pretty cool Bible study here with a lot of the guys.

Last good book you read: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.

Annoyance: Uncoordinated people. I don’t know why, but it just irks me.

Dream: Play in a World Cup.