The onset of summer means the onset of compulsory athletic activities. For example, when someone casually asks you…
“Yo. How do you feel about playing more soccer?”
…the end result is joining an entirely new league, new night, new team. It’s like you’re Princess Jasmine and you’re trusting Aladdin because he’s kinda hot and has Steve from Full House’s voice. So now, I’m in a 7v7 coed league, where it’s a whole new world.
Seven v. seven is like someone clicked on the bottom corner of a soccer game and dragged it upward, reducing the length of the field but keeping its width. Like folding a paper hamburger style, not hot dog. It’s squat and stocky, with smaller goals and less running. With the reduced size and the strangely wide proportions, the strategy changes altogether. It’s less about athleticism and brute strength and more about finesse, touch, and precision. So, I’ll be honest. I’m not really doing my team any favors here. These are not my greatest competencies.
Now, let me introduce you to your new favorite team, the Biggie Shorties. While most 7v7 squads consist of 5 dudes and two ladies, we’re flipping the script. We’ve got only two biggies and five shorties.
And lots of boob jokes.
For those of you unfamiliar with Louis C.K.’s 2001 sleeper film Pootie Tang (featuring J.B. Smoove before you knew who that was and Chris Rock when you sure as shit did), Biggie Shorty is the unsung hero in the film. She’s the woman who knows best. Biggie Shorty, played by Wanda Sykes, is the only woman who isn’t so thrown by Pootie Tang that she loses her goddamn mind, like this poor countrygirl.
Our squad is filled with equally level-headed biddies. We don’t really know each other all that well, but if Thursday night’s premiere game is any indication, we’ve got some pretty stellar chemistry. Things just kind of clicked. Some might even call it women’s intuition.
The Biggie Shorties stepped on the field to face MSI on one of those glorious days when the sunlight just won’t quit.
Within the first ten minutes, Marissa McBride made her presence known, commanding the offensive side. MSI’s defense was unable to track her, leaving her at midfield to receive a pass from team captain Zach Straus with enough time to turn and drop the ball into a slot, like a coin in a jukebox. None of this TouchTunes spending a dollar to cut the line to play your track next. Biggie Shorties took an early 1-0 lead.
Only four minutes later, Marissa was at it again, this time ripping a shot from point blank range. One of MSI’s rogue players took on a “by any means necessary” approach to defense, leaping into the air and slapping it with his hands. Where I come from, this is called a n00b hand ball. The bonehead play resulted in a free kick, directly in front of the net. The entire goal was lined with grey jerseys, as MSI made their stand. But if you’ve ever seen Marissa play, you know this isn’t even a thing. As if they weren’t even there, she drilled the ball low, letting it ping off their legs like they were stacked milk bottles on a boardwalk. Naturally, she knocked it down, winning a dumb stuffed duck, and putting the Biggie Shorties up 2-0.
But MSI was not to be defeated so easily. Just before the close of the first half, their striker put one on net, just out of reach of goalkeeper Hannah Farda, putting the game at 2-1.
After a quick regroup for halftime, both offenses started to light up. The Biggie Shorties started the half with finesse, as Tamira Guevara weaved through MSI’s defense, leaving the ball to Cara Mauldin, who sent an RPG into the back of the net for a 3-1 lead with twenty minutes to play in the game.
MSI then changed its strategy, switching goalies and spending the next seven minutes on a brutal assault. Hannah deflected a series of shots and made two crucial saves. But after a shelling like that, MSI brough back two goals, knotting the game at 3s.
Never one to panic, Biggie Shorties defender Alex Bustamante created some daylight, switching the field and threading a pass to John Whitfield who took a poised and confident hammer into the far post, to secure a 4-3 lead going into the final minutes of the game.
Still, the pesky MSI squad fought back and sent the ball for a ride, tying the game at 4-4.
But something didn’t quite make sense. All game, Talia Dweck had been checking to space and putting shots on net. She’d been making calculated runs, but it still didn’t add up. Before anyone had the time to dwell on this mystery, Talia set the record straight. On a crisp, leading cross sent toward the box by John, Talia fired a shot that ended the game once and for all.
The Biggie Shorties take on the Urban Achievers, this Thursday at 9pm. But don’t worry, soccer fans! Because Rock, Flag, and Eagle have their first match tonight (Monday). Opening day. It doesn’t get better than this.