Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome back into another Happy Hour. A lot has happened since the last time we got together. With some absolute pants defending, Barcelona now has a tougher job of taking care of business at home against Arsenal in the first knockout stage of the champion’s league. Wayne Rooney scored an unbelievable goal on my boys to win the game, although I do feel Tevez, Silva and the squad played very well. My car is finally out of the shop after needing $6,000 dollars worth of repairs after a dead tree fell on it. And finally, Neil and I acted on my free advice and celebrated single awareness day (Valentines’ Day for those of you locked in a relationship) by hitting the town and partying hard. Let’s just say that the two of us built an incredible heart-shaped fortress to keep all the haters out. It took nearly all of Tuesday to recover, but it was certainly worth it.
Anyway, last week Neil’s piece on his boy “Sergio” in Atlanta really got me thinking. Neil, being the great writer and storyteller that he is, focused on the story of one individual he met during his time in men’s league soccer. While his story was excellently done, I felt the need to cheer myself up afterwards. Neil’s description of the men’s league scene got me thinking about the myriad of people that love playing on those teams. As I love a good laugh, and making you laugh (or cringe) is what they pay (with PBR) me to do around here, I want to present to you with just a few of the more hilarious archetypes you are guaranteed to see around the men’s league pitch.
Mr. Hardcore – You will know this player the moment you lay eyes on him. He rarely speaks to anyone because he has his iPod on max volume during the pregame warm up. The music is usually so loud you can hear the shit-awful death metal from ten feet away. Obviously, this jackleg did not get the memo that each men league match is not the World Cup Final. With that kind of intensity, I would hate to see him in a game that actually mattered in the big picture. Worst of all, as soon as the whistle blows he is flying all over the field like a wrecking ball. In his mind any game without picking up a booking is a game wasted. Most people are all for effort out on the pitch, but when you look like Pedro Martinez attacking Dom Zimmer out there, you got issues. A little time on the therapists couch is probably what Mr. Hardcore really needs.
Mr. Happy to be Here – Completely the opposite of Mr. Hardcore, this dude truly loves the beautiful game and wants to continue playing as long as possible. Ninety percent of the time this guy is absolutely horrible, but he knows it and really doesn’t care. In his view a men’s league game is a time to get together with the boys and stay in shape; he simply has no illusions of grandeur. When someone makes him look like a complete clown defensively, he is the first to tell the perpetrator just how good the move was. This can get kind of annoying, but this happy-go-lucky attitude makes Mr. Happy to be Here one of the most beloved men on the squad.
Mr. Out of Shape Official – In nearly all cases, this guy is older than shit. While these types can be spotted in many different youth league tournaments, the highest concentrations are always found on the men’s league pitch. When you really think about it, Men’s league jobs for an official are like South Florida nursing homes—death’s doorstep. Once you are resigned to officiating only men’s league games, you really should start considering spending your free time volunteering for the Red Cross or AARP. Even when they are really trying to stay with the pace of the game, they inevitably miss an obvious foul just outside the penalty area because they are still trying to get across midfield.
Mr. Import – It is difficult to really pigeonhole this men’s league player, but every team has one. They can range anywhere from the British guys like Guy Bailey (Come back man we miss you!) to the type of player Neil described in Sergio. Most of the time they are pretty good players, but not necessarily the best on the pitch at all times. They are usually one of the most entertaining players to watch on the pitch, not because of their play, but because it is always hilarious to watch someone shit-talk the opposition in a foreign language or with a funny accent.
Mr. High School – Simply put, he is an 18 year old stud staying in shape before he heads off to school to start his (or her, for that matter) potentially promising college career. Trying to defend this guy with your 30 year-old-plus-body is an exercise in futility. You will get beat, and you will be embarrassed when he leaves you in the dust. He is bigger, stronger, and faster than anyone on the pitch, unless you’re lucky enough to have two of these studs on your squad. Hopefully he is not a cocky asshole, but you never can tell with these kids. They either hang out with the older dudes and act like a team player, or on the completely opposite spectrum they are self-obsessed Mario Balotelli types. Either way, you need to keep your mouth shut because he will be scoring goals.
Mr. Old School – This is my absolutely least favorite you will ever see on the men’s league pitch because he combines all of the shitty qualities of other characters without bringing anything positive to the table. He is, as I wrote about last week in “Dudes That Would Ruin A Party”, a “busboy” figure. This guy shows up at the first team practice in his High School warm up, jersey, and the same pair of Copas he has had for the last decade. Before you are even allowed to get a word out, he is already telling the squad just how awesome he was in High School.
EXAMPLE: “I scored this goal in this really important game…we partied after like you never partied even at your fraternity’s end of the year bash…blah blah blah.”
Once he finally convinces you that he might actually be a decent player you start kicking the ball around. At this very moment it is clear that he is fucking terrible. Watching this clown play soccer is like watching a car wreck in that it is awful and it is disturbing but you can’t take your eyes off it. His first touch makes it seem as if he has 2X4s as feet, and he runs like he has a gigantic stick up his ass. More importantly, he lacks the basic knowledge of positioning and strength. At this point you begin to hope that this is all a sick joke perpetrated by the team captain. Reality finally sets in and you resign yourself to the fact that this is going to be a very long season.
Mrs. Cheerleader – This is the over-excited spouse or, more likely, girlfriend, who is just too much to deal with on the sidelines of the pitch. Every time her old man touches the ball she shrieks out three or four of the same phrases the entire time. “That’s my man!” and “Go get him baby!” are a couple of the classics. We get it, that is your husband or boyfriend, but really you need to calm down. I swear I once saw Mrs. Cheerleader bring a bag of orange slices to her husband at halftime. Once you hit the age of 13, those should be a banned substance like HGH. These ladies fail to realize that this is not a high school cheerleading competition. No district title will be won tonight. By all means enjoy the game, but calm the hell down because you are annoying everyone around you. And please, for the love of all things sacred, don’t come to the post-game drink after the match. We don’t want to talk to significant others during dude time at the Brewhouse Café Atlanta, or wherever.
Hopefully I did not miss anyone, but if you feel like I did, please leave a comment below. It’s time for
PUCKS FREE ADVICE.:
The Daytona 500 is this Sunday. While I really can’t understand the excitement in a bunch of dudes making 200 to 500 or however many left turns, it certainly is an excuse to get hillbilly drunk on a lazy Sunday Afternoon. Get some beers, some snacks, and a real actual redneck NASCAR fan to explain just what the hell is going on and you will have a lovely afternoon. Giggity, Giggity, Giggity!!!
Sorry for partying…
Puck is the Pop Culture Guy For The Yanks Are Coming. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can find him on Twitter at @PuckLovesPBR.