For those of us who still naively hold on to dreams of getting fit over summer – or simply want something to help us run off the piss consumed on the weekend – organised touch football often seems like the perfect remedy. We dust off the old boots, go for a run or two, and start dreaming of incisive runs and perfectly timed cut-out passes.
Come Christmas, a few sprained ankles and one torn hamstring later, numbers are down, the mate who organised everything has cracked the shits chasing people for money, and interest has generally wained. But for those precious few weeks, or perhaps just half a game, we truly believe we still have what it takes.
Almost as predictable as the impending loss of interest is the general makeup of each team you will face. And yes, even yours, if you are truly honest with yourself and the company you keep.
Please see below for the seven types of people that play touch footy, in no particular order:
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The Niggler is probably the worst person who has ever lived. Cut from the same cloth as Michael Ennis or Josh Reynolds, they slow down the play the ball, claim touches when they are nowhere near you, and love knocking the pill out of your hands as they run past.
Nothing short of filthy cheats, they are also quick to blow up should someone employ similar tactics. The first to start a fight, but nowhere to be seen should it actually come to blows. When two nigglers collide it often ends in two other guys having a stink, though they’re not entirely sure why.
In every facet of life The Niggler is a true prick. None of their mates genuinely enjoys their company; in fact, they’re often embarrassed by their actions. The unwritten code of never turning on your teammates saves them, however (which is surprising, considering they are the first to violate it), and that is often why The Niggler will continue to play team sports long into their thirties. They insist on snarky grubber kicks during park footy and are most likely an internet troll who once stole the wallet of a dying crash victim.
The Faded Star:
The Faded Star was clearly once a good player, but years of substance abuse and doing not too much has made them quite a bit slower to react. He played a few years of first grade after school, but his white line fever – one that you don’t have to run through a bunch of blokes to get to (although it sometimes happens after) – proved too alluring. Will occasionally do something freakish, which will make it all the more frustrating for teammates who wonder why the Faded Star can’t just go for the odd run over the weekend instead of embarking on a three day bender.
Being naturally athletic, they look fitter than they actually are, which leads to unrealistic expectations of their pace and ability to go all game. They will be blowing after the first defensive set and will need an immediate substitution after scoring a breakaway try – the one good thing they do.
Close friends are often concerned the Faded Star will suffer a heart attack after going harder on the rack than they ever did on the field.
The Team Player:
Does all the hard work around the middle and is a genuinely good bloke. Jokes with the ref and the opposition and takes it all in stride. The only player who seems to truly realise that touch is just good for a bit of fitness and a catch up with mates.
Easy to get along with and loyal, happy in their career and relationship, the Team Player is generally destined for a nice life and is intrinsically a very boring person. Hard to dislike. Handy to have around on the paddock and, above all else, in the pub when you’re a few bucks short.
No one wanted to ask the Ring-In to play, but ultimately guilt and a lack of numbers means they get a call up anyway. Always reliable, they turn up every week and prove more of a hindrance then anything else.
Completely incapable of completing a run and dump or even running on to a ball without dropping it, they appear completely ignorant to their own lack of ability and are prone to trying trick passes that inevitably end up in a turnover.
Freakishly uncoordinated, no one is entirely sure how the Ring-In has survived this long. Really, he is a walking affront to Darwinism.
The Over-Competitive Jerk:
Bearing many similar traits to The Niggler, The Over-Competitive Jerk uses the touch football field as place to vent his frustrations of faded dreams and the fact he was never quite good enough at anything.
Aching to start a fight or drop a shoulder, they particularly hate Faded Stars and Freaks (see below) for wasting their talent, something they were never blessed with in life. Will always overstate their ability and achievements and most likely be in a passive-aggressive relationship with their partner – who the Faded Star will inevitably sleep with out of sympathy more than anything else.
Constantly argues with the referee and calls plays that are never on. Won’t directly scream at a teammate, but will openly vent their frustration at no one in particular. Also, they are particularly hard on themselves when they make a mistake, due to the fact they deeply loathe themselves for lacking that elusive, highly sought-after X-factor.
The Freak varies from The Faded Star in that they’ve still got it. The only thing that actually prevented them from making it in footy was a nihilistic attitude resulting in a lack of commitment and complete disinterest in pursuing it.
Known as much for their low defensive rate as for making something happen out of nothing, The Freak will most likely play mixed touch so they can touch ladies on the bottom. Never to be found in the engine room, their idea of a run and dump is running through a party and taking a surprise shit on the dance floor.
Highly unreliable, The Freak can prove more elusive for their teammates than for the opposition on a Monday night and is often the reason a ring-in must be implemented.
The Douche-Bag is quite a good player, and boy don’t they know it. Blessed with all of the necessary skills, The Douche-Bag is the epitome of Private School elitism.
Rarely a genuine playmaker, they usually stand one off the play, avoiding the dirty work as it is beneath them. Possessing a safe pair of hands, those very same hands become quite dangerous around your girlfriend after a few beers. Rarely speaks to The Ring-In – as they simply can’t comprehend how someone can be so uncoordinated.
With their smug look and toned calves – made more prominent due to their insistence on wearing Skins – The Douche-Bag is dripping with Gen Y attitude. A terrible bloke, but in 2014, there’s at least one on every team.
By Alasdair McClintock