She doesn’t have to be pretty, a 3-1 victory for RFE

Rock, Flag, and Eagle (2-2-1) arrived at the pitch on Monday eager to shake off a heartbreaking loss to The Firm, facing off for the first time against expansion team Club Mudd.   New to the league, Club Mudd sat in third place with a record of 2-1-1, comfortably in contention for playoffs.

It was a blind date.  We’d never seen Club Mudd before and didn’t know what to expect.  On paper, she sounded great.  Her online dating profile spoke of an evolved kind of woman.  A winner.  She seemed charming and successful with an independent streak.  What’s not to like, right?  Besides, after last week, you just want to get back on the horse.  You don’t have to fall in love, but it would be good to get back out there.  Right?

We get to the field and think, I thought she’d be smaller, leaner.  Maybe she’d have a pretty face, a button nose and full lips.  But she’s got beady little eyes and a pointy chin.  Her body isn’t memorable, with the exception of her legs, which start and end at the same width and can rightly be described as thankles.  Thinking back, her online profile did show more of the sunset landscape than it showed her face.

matchprofile2

But here you are.   She’s only vaguely a woman, but tonight, she’s your woman.  Gross.

Oh, we’re paying?  In that case, she’ll have the surf and turf.   And just to add insult to injury, she orders her filet well done.

turf

As you might expect of such an audacious broad, Club Mudd came on strong.  In the opening minutes of the game, Club Mudd set up a slowly rolling shot from just inside the 18 yard-line.  On most nights, this is an easy save for goalkeeper Alex Bard, but in the moment, things didn’t go so well.  The ball ricocheted off his chest and Bard was unable to recover.  The ball crept across the goal line, too soft to even make it to the net, and put Club Mudd up 1-0.  (To be fair, Bard had a stellar performance the rest of the game to make up for the folly.)

robert-green-fail-o

RFE continued to have a tough time getting the offense moving throughout the first half, sitting down for oranges at halftime still down 1-0.  But this is a dare to be better-than-shitty situation.  So, with a new strategy, RFE set out to do just that.

In the second half, the game really began to open up for us.  Defensive middie, Shaina Ross, won every 50/50 ball at midfield and carved up Club Mudd’s unsuspecting defenders.  Jeremy Gordon also had some clutch offensive possessions that would help set the stage for dominance.

Club Mudd had been really clinging to Tommy Park‘s nuts all game and not in the good way.  They were grabby little gnats, face-guarding Tommy and making it harder for him to see daylight.  But let’s get real, that’s not going to work forever.  Marissa McBride jostled the ball loose at midfield and RFE began to advance as a unit.  Then, breaking free, Tommy received the ball at thirty yards out and began to close on Club Mudd’s keeper.  At this point, fate was sealed.  Tommy twisted the corkscrew and opened up a fine wine.  RFE was back in it, 1-1.

After another five minutes elapsed, David Geller won a tackle in the defensive third and sent it forward to Kevin Gemp who carried it until seeing Fabian Galvez streak on a perfectly timed run.  Taking one touch to control the ball, Fabian served up a hot dish, the main entree, sending it into the lower far post.  Always the gentleman, Fabian gave RFE a 2-1 lead.

And, I cannot tell a lie.  After running 36.7 miles on Saturday, my legs were heavy and slooooow.  I lost at least half a step, maybe two full ones.  So, to bolster the slogging weak link (guilty as charged), Fabian, Tommy, and Marissa shaded back to protect on defense.  It was a tactically brilliant move that would ultimately (and unselfishly) win us the game.

But not before the proverbial icing on the cake.  Catching Club Mudd off-guard, Kevin Gemp received the ball just inside the 18 and struck with his right foot, ordering dessert and putting RFE up 3-1.  It was the Friendly’s Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Sundae of goals.  Ice cream.  Chocolate syrup.  The best peanut butter sauce you’ve ever tasted.  And it doesn’t stop there.  Add yourself two Reese’s cups and some whipped cream.  That indulgent.  That delicious.

reeses

Club Mudd thought they’d have a few spoonfuls, but then we ate the whole goddamn thing.  Check please.

In the end, it sure wasn’t a great date.  But sometimes that doesn’t matter.  You don’t have to marry her.  You don’t even have to kiss her.  But here you are.  Might as well enjoy the meal.

Rock, Flag, and Eagle take on second place FC Purple Rain (4-1-0) tonight at 7:30.  The playoff field is still wide open, and with a victory, RFE could put themselves in great position heading into the final games of the season.

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Posted in Soccer

Haaaave mercy! Young Hoppers demolish Demand CurveBallers 24-1

Paging Jesse Katsopolis.  Jesse Katsopolis, please report to center stage for your montage.

It’s a bit late for mercy.  WOWZERS.

The Young Hoppers (5-0) put on an old fashioned circus of mashery while the Demand CurveBallers (1-5) just kind of sat there picking Cracker Jacks out of their teeth, ogling the brave lion tamers, the contortionists, and even the bearded lady (hello, Jeremy).

The Hoppers rang up the first three batters of the game and took to the batter’s box with the same efficiency.  Lead off batter, Ricky Lewis, stepped to the plate and sent a screamer over the right fielder and straight into the parking lot.  While Skillies usually wears rocketboots and flies around the bases, he took a casual strut on this one because it was my favorite Muppet.  GONZO.

gonzo strut

Walk it out, Skillie!

Things didn’t get better for the Demand CurveBallers on the next batter.  Josh Bard stepped to the plate, connected with the first pitch in the strike zone, and sent it to summer camp.  Bauercrest, muthaf*cka!

bauercrest

That poor right fielder didn’t know what to do.

The hits kept coming and the defense held strong.  Another Jackson 5 kind of inning (easy as one-two-three) to send the CurveBallers packing, and then back to the Hoppers’ laser light show.  PKEW! PKEW! PKEW!

animated-laser-show-magnificent

The third inning, things really got out of hand.  The Hoppers batted through the order, around-the-world and back again, putting up 12 runs before the madness ended.  Notably, Jeremy Ferrara did NOT hit any home runs.  He also did not run the bases.  He’s also on vacation now.  What a maroon.

After the fourth inning, the Hoppers led 24-1 and the ump called the game.  Or, maybe it wasn’t really a game.  The ump called off the dogs and called in the medic.  Then the medic showed up and said there was nothing more he could do.  Lights out, game over.  Flatline.

The Hoppers take on Compelling Evidence of Slugging (0-5) tonight, 6pm on the Ellipse.

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Posted in Softball

RFE Comes Up Short in Horserace, loses 5-4 to The Firm

Maybe you didn’t grow up on the beach.  But if you did, you already know that game on the boardwalk where there are twelve plastic racehorses stacked vertically.  You and eleven other schmos pay a dollar to roll racquetballs into a wooden contraption with a bunch of holes assigned a value between one and five.  First idiot to the finish line gets a prize.

Look at the rest of these clowns.  Prepubescent gradeschoolers with ice cream on their faces.  This is no contest.  You roll and roll and roll, each ball bringing you closer to your surefire victory.  You’re an old pro.  You’ve got speed, agility, and experience on your side.

This little horsey is going all the way to the winner’s circle.

But who’s this dude in green, pulling up on horse number nine?  Fuck.  You didn’t even see him, sitting there with his sunburned nose and using his overpriced neon Oakleys like a headband, as if it’s 1994 and he’s Shane fucking McDermott.  Wait, did Shane McDermott even wear Oakleys?  THERE’S NO TIME, DUMMY.  KEEP ROLLING.

Yes, Shane McDermott does wear Oakleys.

Yes, Shane McDermott does wear Oakleys.

You roll frantically, with all your might, but this only seems to make matters worse.  With this new excessively powerful roll, the ball now bounces rather than just going down the damn chute like you’d thought it would.  It’s taking too long.  HOW WAS THAT A ONE?  Balls.  You’re sweating and anxious.  Your adrenaline blasts through the roof like Willy Wonka just decided you would inherit his factory.

elevator

You’re neck and neck.  It’s going to be a photo finish.  Oh boy.

When the bell rings, you let out an audible cry of PLEASE GOD LET IT BE ME and then, like a pro, shake your head and point your thumb, blaming the girl sitting next to you.  She looks at you with fire and hatred, so you stare at your feet, pretending When you look up, the spinning red light is next to horse number nine.

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You wanted that fucking stuffed caterpillar so bad.  Two weeks from now, you would have thrown it in the garbage can because it would serve no purpose in your life, but in this moment, you feel empty.  Defeated.  Like the day your hermit crabs died.  The first hermit crabs, the ones you actually cared about.  Not the second or third set, where your heart hardened and you learned that life is cold and cruel and that changing shells is basically hermit crab suicide.

That’s how this soccer game felt.

The Firm are the best team in the league and have won the title for the past three seasons.  I’m not sure how or why.  They’re a bunch of skinny white kids with bored faces.  They probably didn’t go to prom, and if they did, it was with a friend, and she already had a boyfriend.  They pack healthy lunches but still have iron deficiency.  They probably come from loving families that don’t curse or yell or fight, ever.  The fact that they’re nondescript is actually the most descriptive I can possibly get.

No flavor whatsoever.  Not talking about the turkey.

No flavor whatsoever. Not talking about the turkey.

But these humans are good at soccer.  Shit.

RFE had one of our best performances, shattered by moments of ineptitude that would make your head explode.  Against the top team in the league, that’s just not going to cut it.

The game started with a bang.  The Firm strutted down the field to the corner flag, laid up a perfect cross for a perfect header.  We know these guys, so the play wasn’t unexpected.  Just tough to defend.

It’s no excuse, though.  If we were going to make a run for this game, RFE would have to toughen up and settle in.

RFE made an offensive push that resulted in a scrambling play in front of The Firm’s goal.  Tommy Park, Marissa McBride, and Mike Muldoon pinged the ball around expertly, shaking up the defense.  When the keeper bobbled Tommy’s shot, Marissa poked her toe in to jiggle it loose and off to Mike for the finish.  All tied up at 1-1.

Minutes later, RFE would make another disarming offensive push.  With few options left, The Firm committed a foul just outside the 18 yard-line that resulted in a direct kick.  Fabian Galvez, whose agent should probably just negotiate him a big fat contract and transfer at this point (I mean, for real), struck the ball in retaliation like it said something about his mama.  It sailed over the wall and into the upper-90 to put RFE up 2-1.  Pretty.

But ohmydamn, that lead was short-lived.  At most, 25 seconds.  The Firm has this one tall dude with salt-and-pepper hair, and he just carried the ball past three lines of defense, lined up, and ripped it past RFE’s keeper, Alex Bard.

We went to halftime 2-2.  And then something really weird happened, guys.

I went on a little run, of sorts, and ended up in the offensive third.  This isn’t usually my scene.  I have no touch or finesse, so I usually stay holed up on defense like a bridge troll.

But when the ball came to me at, let’s call it 23 yards out, I fired off a shot.  Why not, right?

It deflected off some wanker from The Firm and right back to me.  And like some selfish, crazed lunatic, I shot again from the same angle, same distance.  Thinking of how Amy DeValue used to yell “SANDBAGS” so that we’d keep our teenage boobs over the ball, I leaned over it and let my gigantic square thighs have a go.  And it kind of just sailed into orbit, into the atmosphere, over the keeper, and made a moon landing in the back of the net.  And we were winning again.

But then those J-O.s did it again.  They ripped the glory right from my heart.  That same tall dude took a spoonful of vegetables and shoved it down our throats, tying the game 3-3 with a little dinker into the near post.  Ugh.

But then young Pape took over, playing the ball in perfect service to hero/workhorse/silent assassin Paul Turkevich for an unstoppable header.  With less than 10 minutes remaining, RFE led 4-3.  If we kept up this pace, we might pull off the upset.

Look, I’m not going to belabor the point here.  The Firm scored.  Then they scored again.  We lost 5-4.  It was terrible.  It was like that silly back-and-forth boardwalk horserace only it mattered a lot more because I have an unhealthy competitive streak.

But at least we learned a lesson.  No matter who your opponent is, you have to play your game.  You have to keep rolling.

Grumble grumble grummmbleeee.

RFE takes on Club Mudd in a must-win midseason match up, tomorrow at 9:30pm.

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Posted in Soccer

Young Hoppers Start 4-0, Back on Top of League Standings

July 7, 2013

Washington, DC – Rewind to spring season, when the Young Hoppers had trouble with the fundamentals of softball.  We struggled with our timing at the plate and decision-making in the field.  We got the little things wrong, and at the end of the day, we didn’t make the playoffs for the first time since 2009.  You can blame it on a lot of things, but you should mostly blame Wage for moving to Barcelona.  What a dick.

wage

But things sure are different these days.  Maybe it’s how the sun sets impossibly late.  Maybe it’s the way the sweat glistens on Jeremy’s back.  Or maybe it’s just Audrey.  Regardless of the cause, the effect is the same.

Summer is Hoppers season.

The past two games have solidified the Young Hoppers as the front-runners in the pennant race.  At 4-0, they’ve already beaten the second, third, and fourth place teams but know better than to get cocky.

As we’ve learned in the last two games, you can’t get too comfortable with a lead.  You just never know when a team’s going to come back with an unexpected rally.

Against the second place Heart Attackers, the Hoppers led by 8 going into the 5th inning, only to see the Heart Attackers claw back run-by-run, inning-by-inning.

The Hoppers also fielded incredibly [sometimes], including Dave Duberstein’s diving web gem (shown below) and two consecutive one-two-three innings.

this is totally dubie

But other times, we made silly mistakes that allowed for extra bases, letting balls to drop like they were going through puberty.

But the Hoppers were lively and consistent at-bat from start to finish.  Everyone got on base with either a good piece of hitting or downright hustle.  Janiece Reinhardt continued her craaaaazy long hitting streak by mashing extra base hits into short field.  And Duberstein drilled a 2-run homer in the bottom of the first.

Despite a few minor mishaps, ultimately, the Hoppers held it together, pulling off an 11-9 victory.

A similar result from the week prior, when the Young Hoppers faced and defeated our current least favorite opponents, randtastic 10.

The Hoppers got off to a solid start and were practically indomitable until the third inning, where the team tallied up eight runs and made the rand pitcher (who has bloated sodium face and looks like Mama Fratelli from The Goonies) so frustrated that he refused to shake our hands after the game.  Class act, bro.

anne ramsey

The randtastic nerds stuck around, putting up 5 runs in the 5th inning to get back in the game.  But the Hoppers had the Gummiberry Juice to bounce back.

Hopper shortstop Alex Bard played the game of his life, going 3-for-3 with an honest-to-goodness triple and fielding like an absolute pro.  Audrey Anderson executed an unassisted double play.  Oh, and Stu Koltov homered.  I’m sure he’d want me to tell you that.

In both games, the Hoppers had moments of absolute brilliance that outshone the hot doodie swamp smell and questionable fielding in the latter innings.  It speaks to the ingrained will and competitive nature of the Young Hoppers.  Somehow, some way, we find a way to win.  Because as Mr. Schollenberger, my high school science teacher once said,  “Good. Teams. Finish.”

*EDITOR’S NOTE: As impossible as it sounds, the Heart Attackers also have a pitcher named Kovacs.  And even more impossibly, they are both (a) a good team and (b) not at all dickheads.  The Heart Attackers are the anti-rand.

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Posted in Softball

Losing to a Lavender Team. Gross. RFE Falls 4-2.

Rock, Flag, and Eagle lost for the first time this season, dropping to the Uptown Roamers 4-2.  The loss gives RFE a record of 1-1-1, which sounds like some kind of deal Papa John’s offers during football season.  One large pizza!  One order of cheese sticks!  And one case of regret, as you stare in the mirror and see your paunchy sodium face, hold your bloated stomach, and wonder where it all went wrong.

img_john-wPeel-works

For starters, it went wrong when the Uptown Roamers opened up the game with two easy goals, taking a 2-0 lead.  I’d say it was before RFE had a chance to get warm, but that would be criminally wrong.  It was 98-degrees.  I half expected Nick Lachey to show up and sing us a little number.  Or at least the ugly one since he’s definitely not busy filming The Sing-Off, season 4.

98 degrees

GOO! One of these things is not like the others.

But, Shaina Ross wanted everyone knew she was back.  So, not only did she play the entire game, at full force, during a heat wave, uphill both ways, but she also was sure to put one in the back of the net.  On a scrambling offensive set that left the entire Uptown Roamers defense confused and off-their-guard, Shaina received a bouncing ball in front of the net and corralled that sucker to get RFE back in the game, 2-1.

In the second half, the Uptown Roamers continued to dominate the ball, stepping in to intercept passes and create offense from their defense.  Pretty frustrating, if you ask me.  After ripping a shot from just inside the 18 yard-line,Uptown Roamers led 3-1.  And shortly after that, another goal for the stupid lavender team.  Losing 4-1 doesn’t feel so great.

Over the many seasons we’ve played in this league, we’ve learned that goal differential is often the difference between playoffs and getting played out.  So, RFE knows better than to give up.  In the waning minutes of the game, Josh Bard sprinted down the sideline like a concussion-prone gunner on a punt return.

gunner

Bard, who is so fast it’s annoying, hung on-sides long enough to receive a perfectly threaded ball from middie Fabian Galvez, took a touch, and neatly dropped it passed the charging keeper.

Though the game would end 4-2 and put the first tally in the loss column, the refusal to give up shows the mettle of RFE this season.  Tonight, RFE faces The Firm, the first place and defending champions.  RFE has nothing to lose, which means The Firm may have a bigger fall than when Nas, Foxy Brown, and AZ decided to pursue solo careers.

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Posted in Soccer

Rock, Flag, and Eagle Overthrow Home Rule, 3-2

It was one of those wet hot American summer nights where you sweat without even moving, but because our team is filled with fillies and studs, we just looked shiny and glamorous.  A handful of spinning disco balls who came to dance all over Home Rule.

disco ball

If you like human interest pieces, here’s a real treat for you.  RFE’s striker, Tommy Park, had all his soccer stuff pillaged by scalawags earlier in the week.  I know, totally lame, right?  He took the field in his turfs and some cheapo replacement shin guards, made of plastic and broken dreams.  After a few misfires, Tommy looked sad and frustrated.  But he was not to be defeated.

RFE developed a great passing game, sending winger Annette Isham on runs down the sidestripe to open up the field and create opportunities where they didn’t exist.  This shit was like microfinance.

Kevin Gemp, the unsung workhorse of RFE, started a novel game of connect the dots within the midfield, allowing the team to gradually ascend toward the goal.  And with the finesse you can’t find in a shampoo bottle, Marissa McBride neatly passed a ball to Tommy, who sent the postcard to his mama.

postcard

RFE leads, 1-0.  Inertia did what inertia always does, which is continue until a force stops it.

RFE dominated the ball and found offensive outlets, including a throwback to college intramurals and what I’m calling the Revival of the Stasia Carson Era.  I wonder how anyone could stand on those long spindly legs, let alone dribble coherently, so I can’t begin to comprehend how he’s got such touch after a five year hiatus.

And OK, OK, fine.  I’ll say it.  RFE’s offense was certainly helped by stringing together the two best strikers in the league when Fabian Galvez, who spends more of his time scoring against RFE than for us, decided to stick around and play.  The boys had themselves a regular old ping sesh, capped off when Fabian carried the ball into the box and lined up a pass to the perfect slot.  Straight cherries, and two goals for Tommy.

slot machine cherries

After the half, RFE held a 2-0 lead, which my high school soccer coach would harp was “the most dangerous lead in soccer.”  And unfortunately for know-it-all teenagers everywhere, he’s right.

Home Rule came out strong, sending a ball into the RFE defensive third where even the lifelong chemistry/petulance of the Bard Bros. couldn’t stop it.  After a ricochet and a tippy-tap, the ball hopped into the net to get Home Rule right back in the game, 2-1.  Ten minutes later, RFE took a free kick at midfield, which accidentally found its way to Home Rule’s most competent midfielder.  Like any child left unattended, this caused some trouble.  RFE found themselves on their heels as Home Rule pounded one into the net to tie the game at 2-2.

The winds had shifted to favor Home Rule, but this is a DC summer and kind breezes don’t last long.

sweating

Home Rule tired out in the waning minutes, which left open an easy passing lane to connect Kevin to Marissa to Tommy to everyone’s favorite hitman.  Fabian shifted his weight to his plant foot and pulled the trigger on the go-ahead goal.  Because when you’re a hired gun, you shoot to kill.

The 3-2 victory brings Rock, Flag, and Eagle  to 1-0-1.  The team faces off against the Uptown Roamers, some lavender team with Chris Nolin’s fake girlfriend, this Monday night at 6:30pm.

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Posted in Soccer

Biggie Shorties Defeat Urban Achievers 5-4

After a smashing success in our debut match, the Biggie Shorties hit the field to see if we could manage an encore.  The answer, in the key of 5-4, was HYFR (an acronym that unfortunately got glossed over in favor of YOLO).  And just because it’s a great moment caught on film, let’s go to baby Drizzy putting in some work on the dance floor at his Bar Mitzvah.

drake bar mitzvah

He got that fro from both sides of the family.

Right away, your girls (and a few dudes) came out and dominated, passing in perfect rhythm and creating opportunities by spreading the field like that red plastic stick in your Handi Snacks.  It was too easy.

Handi-Snacks

This week, we tried our authentic neon watermelon jerseys, which are roughly the same shade of screaming red that my face turned when teammate Alex Bustamante asked “Girl, who you fuckin’?”  But on the real?  They’re the illest jerseys I’ve ever seen.

Marissa McBride, whose name you should remember from every other soccer write-up I ever create, had another day.  Within the first two minutes of the game, she cocked back the four-pound bar and fired off a bullet that had no chance of stopping unless that ugly guy in the “Freak On A Leash” video verbally intimidated it.

bullet

Only a few moments later, a pair of quick, skinny legs carved up the sideline, carrying the ball. Who, you ask, is this elegant sprite? Why, Rachel Cohen of course. And you might remember her from when she added a notch to your far post and didn’t even call afterwards. Two nothing, nerrrrrds.

The Biggie Shorties defense continued to hold it down, and anchoring the schooner was your old pal Hannah Farda, keeper extraordinaire. She hung back and directed the defense, so the Urban Achievers never even had a chance to achieve.  Sounds eerily similar to real life, but socio-economic jokes are such a downer, right?

The onslaught continued when Zach Straus won a ball in the defensive third. Taking two quick touches, he broke down the Urban Achievers’ defense like it was a useless cardboard box. Marissa slid into the slot to receive a pass and quickly put the ball away for a clutch finish, and the Biggie Shorties went up 3-0.

The Biggie Shorties completely dominated the first half, maintaining possession for what must have been 80%.  It was silly.  Your rec coach was definitely impressed.

But the second half brought a literal and figurative change in weather. The rain started to fall, casually at first, but then faster and furiouser.  And holy balls, did it rain.  Like the corniest Backstreet Boys video, including the gratuitous spin moves and deep v-necks.  There was no escape, no hiding, no taking cover.  To be on that field was to be completely soaking wet.

bsb

And that’s when our comfortable lead quickly melted away like the Wicked Witches we are.

The Urban Achievers opened up the half with one of those tricky little diddies where they advance the ball and then just fire away.  And, much to our heel-sitting chagrin, it worked.  We still held a 3-1 lead, but it was a toddler’s punch to the stomach.  GOO.

But don’t worry, because Tamira Guevara decided it was time to score.  She staked her ground at midfield and issued a rebuttal that would have made trial lawyers nervous, putting the Biggie Shorties back up to a 3-goal lead.

And then those pesky Urban Achievers scored again, making the rainstorm a secondary concern.  Apparently, they are the kind of team that shows up late to your party, when you’re already throwing away the abandoned Solo cups and putting the leftovers in the fridge.  Pretty friggin annoying.

Tamira, who is apparently a goal-whisperer, had enough.  So when she received a pass from Cara, she looked down and commanded it to find the back of the net.  And it listened.  So the Biggie Shorties edged up again, 5-3.

But those Urban Achievers fought back, and in the winding seconds of the game, they topped off the tank for a respectable 5-4 finish.

We let them back in the game, but never enough to take the lead, or even tie.

It’s a lesson well-learned for the Biggie Shorties, to never let up.  To keep your foot on the gas pedal.  To not relent or let down.  To just keep scrounging.  Because if you leave it all up to coasting, someday a team is going to keep you honest.

Biggie Shorties take the field next week (July 11) against AC Shaolin.  Stay tuned for when we fucking pull [their] fucking tongues out [their] fucking mouth[s] and stab the shit with a rusty screwdriver, BLAOW!

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Posted in Soccer