The Oklahoma City Energy Football Club had open tryouts this past weekend. That's right, anyone who wanted to give it a shot could attempt to become a professional soccer player.
A few weeks ago, Patrick passive aggressively asked me if I'd be interested in trying out for the Oklahoma City Energy. He thought it would be funny for me to get in there and mix it up and embarrass myself while making a sponsor happy. Thanks Patrick.
Since I played soccer for one year in high school, I figured it would be fun. Now, when I say I "played" soccer, that really means I was a sophomore on the Shawnee High School J.V. team and spent more time looking at girls (all three of them) in the stands than scoring goals on the field. My crowning achievement was the time I stopped a ball with my face and broke my nose. I hated soccer the rest of that year and never played again.
Sidenote: Our soccer coach at SHS was cheating on his wife with a girl from my class. They later went on to get married.
Fast forward 18 or 19 years and there I was, the oldest dude on a practice field in Norman, pretending not to be out of breath like Chevy Chase on a red carpet and being yelled at by kids half my age for not knowing what the Hell I'm doing.
Some of the coaches knew I was there as a goof. The group I was assigned to was led by Steve Scott. He let me participate in the warm-up drills, but didn't tell any of the other players that I had no idea what I was doing. During the warm-up, some of the players literally laughed at how bad I was, while others were visibly frustrated. I'm not sure why they were frustrated. If I were a part of Last Comic Standing and I watched a comedian perform as badly as I played soccer, I would be like, "Hey, I know at least one person who is not a threat to my advancement!"
One of the coaches who didn't know I was there on behalf of TLO was Scottish scamp James Ritchie. He was asked to "evaluate" me and then proceeded to treated me like I was on stage for a Comedy Central Roast. What he said was hilarious... and hurtful:
"You are slower than a week in jail."
"Run the field? You couldn't run a bath."
"You fall down in installments."
Have you ever been yelled out by an angry Scottish man? It's like being scolded by Fat Bastard in the Austin Powers movies. It's pretty awesome.
In total, about 110 people showed up for the three day try-outs. From that group, 18 would be selected to play in an All-Star game on Sunday. From there, two would be invited to travel with the Energy FC to Florida to play in a soccer tournament. If they mesh well with the team and prove themselves on the pitch, they will get contracts with the team.
Overall, I was amazed by how skilled the players were. This wasn't just a group of unemployed 20-year-olds who played high school soccer at Edmond Memorial. There was a guy from Utah who was in town just for the tryout. I also overheard one of the coaches say there was a player Kiev, you know, the capital of Ukraine. The whole tryout was a melting pot of culture – Mexican, European, American, African, all together in Norman, Oklahoma trying to get a spot on a soccer team.
Here are some things I learned during my time with Energy FC:
1.) Apparently, the Energy invited everyone in the local media to the try outs. But the other "media" thought they were good or something. One dude was bragging about scoring a goal.
2.) They should have offered beer. Lord knows I'm better at sports when I get a little loose. Also, did you know they're going to be able to sell beer at Taft Stadium for the 2015 season???
3.) The balls were properly inflated... except the one they let me kick around.
4.) Twelve people were killed in soccer related riots after the scrimmage. I'm kidding. There were no deaths, but there were riots!
5.) Surprisingly, nobody was there to hand out orange slices. I felt ripped off.
6.) As a straight man, who is married with a kid... I can honestly say, I would eat sushi off the body of... wait... I'd kill for some of the bodies of the Energy's players.
7.) No one from the Energy FC is going to write a dis track about me... hopefully.
Overall, I had a great time meeting the coaches and staff. Even James Ritchie started to grow on me after he offered to play the bagpipes at my funeral. They are kind, good hearted guys and gained a new fan. It's awesome that OKC has professional soccer. If you want to see my post workout interview, you can find it here:
You may have noticed that I have been away from the site for a while. Between comedy, the day job and the baby, I haven't been able to be as active as I'd like. I promise to try harder.
Also, if you will indulge me, here is a picture of me and Dave Chappelle after I opened for him. It's far and away the highlight of my comedy career.