Soccer is a sport that, when played at a highly competitive level, requires a great deal of organization.
Managers not named Redknapp spend countless hours agonizing over tactics and team sheets all in order to put the right personnel and game plan out on the field.
Once the whistle has blown and it’s out of their hands, they must rely on vocal leaders on the pitch to help the team keep its shape and urge them to victory. This role often goes to the men at the back.
Goalkeepers set up walls and call out instructions from their full field vantage point. Center backs organize offside traps and orchestrate play from the back through the midfield.
As a former goalkeeper (who talked for nearly 90 minutes a game) I am aware that this constant chatter can be quite a nuisance to others, but when you’re playing for trophies and titles it is tolerated as a necessity.
When you’re playing at the park behind the church with traffic cones for goals on the other hand, cut that shit out.
Part of the fun of pick-up soccer is that every player has free reign over the entire field. But you will always find the Field Marshal parked squarely in the center of the pitch, rarely if ever making moves into the opposing half.
And rest assured, he will be the first one to tell you that you are “out of position.”
Want to make one or two bombing runs forward with little regard for your defensive responsibilities since, you know, there are no real consequences?
Well within your right, but prepare to get a mouthful from the Field Marshal.
He doesn’t care whether you’re his best friend who walked down to the field with him, he just met you before kickoff, or one of you just jumped into an existing game and he has no idea what your name is, the Field Marshal will tell you to “switch the play” and YOU BETTER SWITCH PLAY DAMNIT!
He’s got the vision you see, and a lot of the time little outfield talent to speak of. I’d be willing to bet this is a former keeper 75% of the time, and his ungainly presence outside of the goal area leads him to believe that the best way to win victory will be with his utterly brilliant mind and the big mouth connected to it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you shouldn’t communicate. “Square”, “support”, “man on!”, or “through”; all helpful and reasonable.
But if you find yourself out of breath after excoriating your free-wheeling teammates who, god forbid, just tried a little one-two with a backheel thrown in while an open teammate stood 3 yards closer to the goal made out of backpacks, then you just might be the Field Marshal.
And everyone else on the field, everyone, wants you to shut the hell up.