Very likely the final installment of the Badger…
The Badger doesn’t normally like repeating himself, but he may make an exception for this one and very last time. Anyway before the end of the next paragraph he will sum up the first part of the story.
In the early 2000’s, the Badger moved Down Unda and signed for Maroubra Soccer Club. Although the club was small in size, “literally”, it had big aspirations. There was much hype about his arrival and the Badger had a huge reputation to live up to.
After the bitter failure in the Badger’s first game for Maroubra, yours truly was due a big performance to catapult this illustrious club up the league. Some people highlight a particular game against the Mascot Kings as the turning point for the club’s fortunes.
Playing on a typically mild 35 degree celsius Australian day, this game turned out to be anything but a normal game of soccer. Defying the written laws, it was agreed between the two coaches that the game would consist of four quarters so as to incorporate more water breaks, while also playing on a pitch with smaller dimensions to minimise running.
You really can’t fault the Aussies’ health and safety concerns, but as for their morals of the game, they were completely out of check. After 28 minutes, the Badger was the only factor holding the game at a steady score of 9-0. However, by the 32nd minute, a tenth goal was almost inevitable, and the Maroubran coach knew as much. So with no intention of seeing his side lose by a league record margin of 15 goals he called across the touchline “Oi Mate, first to farteen yeah”. His call was greeted with a confident nod, and left this Badger an unhappy camper.
With his team now losing goals by the second in order to reduce the chance of a player dropping dead from dehydration, the Badger was now amounting a serious cache of rage and pondering his next action. The game was far out of his individual reach, so like any raging footballer who was losing by a hefty margin, he began to time his tackles dangerously late, or more like Lee Bowyer late.
Coincidentally, this is in fact the origin of the name, the Badger. An animal renowned for breaking people’s legs, this particular Badger began to hunt down his prey at the start of the second quarter. A small nippy right-winger with blonde highlights was the Badger’s target and with one foul swoop, the Badger was determined to do some serious damage.
Most of the opposition’s play was going through this right-sided midfielder and within a minute the Badger had his perfect opportunity. With his opponent running at full flight with the ball, the Badger dove in two-footed and carefully shattered the youngster’s leg and life of walking unaided with a precise blow to his left femur.
Obviously Maroubra went onto lose the tie 14-0 and fulfill the forfeit, with the fourteenth goal being scored in the 35th minute. The last thing the Badger remembers hearing emanated from an Ambulance, as two paramedics frantically discussed which leg to amputate first.
To the discredit of all morals in football, the Badger escaped any form of punishment for the tackle, meaning he was eligible to take part in the New South Wales five-a-side Indoor Championship. Held in the one of the many stadia erected for the Sydney Olympics, the tournament was a developmental stage for some of Australia’s most talented youth players to demonstrate their skills to the onlooking Socceroos coach Frank Farina.
To this day it is not known why the Badger in fact wound up playing in this tournament, but nevertheless, the story must continue. For the tournament, the Badger was deployed in the newfound role of destroyer. The position is self-explanatory, with the Badger being entrusted to disrupt any fluidity in the opposition’s play.
It was in this elaborate position that the Badger cemented his nickname as he terrified opposition players after a series of leg breaking tackles left many crippled for life. This ruthless aspect of his play guided his team to the final and although the comprehensive 8-1 defeat didn’t reflect the flow of the game, the Badger was hugely chuffed with his yellow card that he received for a neck breaking tackle from guest referee Dwight Yorke
Even the Badger will admit that the aforementioned reference to Dwight Yorke may be a tad obscure, but even more baffling was the sudden invite to the Australian under 13s soccer trials. Scheduled to be held in Lane Cove National Park, the Badger was delighted with his sudden international status and felt vindicated for all the work he invested into his game.
To wrap up a long winded story, the Badger never in fact made the Down Underers’ under 13 team. He was deported exactly four hours before the trials with the Aussie authorities citing the lack of a Visa, passport and possession of performance enhancing worms the main reasons for the deportation of the acclaimed saviour of Australian football.