Two men enter. One man leaves.
That’s the attitude with which this week’s player from rec soccer hell enters every challenge, and the slogan for the post-apocalyptic gladiatorial arena that gives him his name.
Meet Thunderdome, a player who, much like last week’s entrant, is taking a friendly game of soccer way too seriously.
But whereas the Field Marshal’s unique behaviors can make him extremely annoying, those particular to Thunderdome are liable to get you sent to the hospital.
This guy has posters of Nigel de Jong, Karl Henry, and Ryan Shawcross on his walls and pieces of opponents skin on his studs.
He’d actually be more graceful had he attended the Paul Scholes School of Tackling.
Chances are he’s not really even a soccer player. He looks like he’d be far more comfortable on a rugby field and his football (American) cleats make him a dead give-away.
He’s not the quickest, and makes up for his lack of pace by bringing you down immediately after you inevitably round him. But he’s not just the old guy who needs these “professional fouls” to stay in the game.
He wants your blood.
Everything he does is an injury waiting to happen: frequent slide tackles, raised elbows, continuing to be physical even when you get close to a fence or asphalt, and blasting wildly inaccurate volleyed shots and clearances as hard as physically possible straight into a crowd of players/bystanders.
It’s a bit more rare to see this player at a pick-up game, as the tend to be more self-policing. But the added “competition” of an organized rec league really gets Thunderdome’s juices flowing, to the point where he is susceptible to moments of Incredible Hulk-like madness.
Things that Thunderdome has zero regard for:
– Whether it is a male or female he is abusing.
– The score. Up or down five, it’s balls to the wall, studs to the sky with this dude.
– The stakes. (Hint: there are none!)
– The fact that you have a real job for which it helps to have two working ankles.
– Controlled play.
– Human life.
What makes matters worse is the rent-a-ref who is getting paid a ridiculously high hourly fee to officiate knows less about soccer than even this mad brute, and is thus powerless to stop him.
And don’t attempt to reason with him either. Oh no.
Reminding him that “it’s just rec soccer” is like telling your girlfriend to “calm down”. It allows him to sense your (healthy) fear, and will only enrage him further.
The best you can do is throw on your titanium shin guards and try to work your way through the match unscathed.
That and pray that he gets bored brutalizing the beautiful game finds another sport to play.