Most Annoying People You'll Play in Rec Sports
Recreational sports are awesome. Many people are not.
These are two observations I've reconfirmed since joining a number of competitive rec leagues this summer.
It was my first time playing organized sports since college, and reentering the culture served as an important reminder of all the fun and soul-powdering awfulness you'll encounter while competing against overly-competitive jackasses.
Wave after wave the weekend warriors came on: muscle-bound monsters, rage cases and toe-headed Napoleons who'd just as soon snap your floating rib as look at you sideways.
I re-learned a lot out there, specifically, how insufferable we can be over a game that means absolutely nothing.
The following are number of the most annoying species you'll encounter in rec sports. They'll stomp your foot, smash your hyoid and cry for holding—typically all in one play.
These are the most annoying people in recreational sports. They must be stopped.
Johnny Football Wannabe
True to his namesake, the Johnny Football Wannabe is the self-fashioned hero who attempts to turn water into wine every down of the game.
Each play lasts 10-15 seconds with Johnny Wannabe on the field. He drops back and scans the coverage, but this is purely for show. He has no intention of throwing the ball, because doing so would forfeit the world a great gift: the sight of them getting cheap yardage against a two-man rush.
Johnny scrambles right, left and backward, palming the football to protract the myth that one day it will take flight. It will not. Johnny will get ten yards every other play because his linemen are holding and he won the Presidential Fitness award in middle school.
Go-To Move: Three-stop drop, pump-fake and run right up the middle.
Rugby Ralphs are everywhere, and for your own health, you should pray they're on your team.
They are squat, Cabbage Patch ninjas with stump legs and high socks. Like Aaron Craft mated with a lawn gnome, Rugby Ralph is not fast. He is shifty. You physically cannot stay in front of him.
Even worse than Ralph's groin-shearing lateral movement is his attitude. You think you're two human beings playing sports together until Ralph slams a furry little Ewok mitt into your trachea. That's when you realize he's playing Australian rules and you're going to asphyxiate at an open gym.
Ralph does not talk. Their entire being is focused on punishing the tall, gangly-limbed pansies of the world. This is not a game to them. This is how they claw their way out of the Napoleonic gulch that is their existence.
Go-To Move: Grunting, head-down charge.
Viktor the Victim
There's always one guy who treats offense like a crowd-surf in progress, throwing themselves into a sea of humanity and wailing agony all the way to the ground.
You'll know Viktor from the way he waits to see if his garbage, sky hook layup goes in before calling a foul. Even worse is the Viktor who screams "and one!" after a basket and acts like they're letting you off by not calling it.
Walk into the ocean, Viktor.
Go-To Move: "OH! [widens eyes] Foul, man. That's a foul."
The Wrecking Ball
"He caaaame in like an insufferableee assss..."
Nothing is worse than a Wrecking Ball, i.e. the skill-less goof who mistakes running into people for effort.
They go for truck-sticks on the flag football field. They throw forearms shivers on the basketball court. The Wrecking Ball's fortes are brute strength and sack lunches, and they approach sports with all the finesse of a drowning calf.
Go-To Move: [shoulder to the sternum] [elbow to the head].
Complainer Chris is the Johnny Cochran of rec sports.
Everything is debatable with Chris. The number of downs, the spotting of the ball, the true intentions of the Nicaraguan Contras—all rich grounds for a hostile dialogue in a recreational setting.
Chris' arms, when not pantomiming a holding penalty, are kept above his head at a 75 degree angle. This is known as the "WTF" position, and it will be engaged whenever another entity or atmospheric force engages their person.
They sir the sir. They are the worst.
Go-To Move: [Play ends in unfavorable outcome]
"ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?"
The Gigantic Goalie
This is a personal gripe. All of these are personal gripes.
Regardless, any team that plants a giant side of B-team beef in goal (hockey, soccer, lacrosse, whatever) deserves all the worst things.
Placing a large, sentient meat plug between me and scoring is brainless, annoying and 100 percent effective at all times. Huge people aren't good goalies—they're the best goalies, especially when you're playing a bush league hack like myself. I can't shoot through a mail slot. I don't have the finesse rating to slip one past a human tarp.
Go-To Move: [be alive].
Sorry Sam is sorry they missed that shot. And that catch. And the four opportunities they'll muck up before game's end.
There's nothing wrong with messing up. That's part of the game.
What is wrong is treating each screw-up like a singular phenomenon. Stop apologizing, Sam. This isn't Canada. No one cares that you haven't played in "like a year."
Go-To Move: [chest tap] "My bad."
Finger licking: Constant. Awful. Finger licking.
Gunslinging Steve is Brett Favre minus good habits and a cell phone camera. He's constantly barking out instructions from beneath his oily backward baseball cap. He is not what you call "in shape," but he is, as Dane Cook would say, "shapes"—generally pear-like.
Steve is all business when he steps behind center, or at least his airs are business-like. He gives one hand a tongue bath, kicks a leg up and barks something resembling "HEYAWGO!" He will try to lure you offsides at least twice a game. He has hard opinions on Ben Roethlisberger. The sweatband on his arm was wet when he bought it.
Go-To Move: Hand lick followed by raised eyebrows.
Let's get sports'd on the Twitters.