Back in 2015, I tried out for the Energy FC. I didn’t make the cut. But the coaches remembered me… because I have heart. I’m like the Rudy of OKC soccer… only more talented than Sean Astin and with really nice calves. While my dreams of being a professional athlete were crushed on that blustery February morning, the chance to get on the pitch wasn’t dead.
Knowing about my love of guns, Patrick and Energy FC (disclaimer: A member of TLO Ad Club) worked out a deal to let me shoot the t-shirt… errr… stress ball cannon during halftime of the recent match between OKC and Vancouver. The only catch was that I would have to work for a few hours in the hot sun as a member of the Energy Hype Team. They’re the people who help prepare the stadium, and pump up the fans during the match. I figured, “Sure, why not?! Show up before the game, hang some banners, eat some orange slices, and then shoot a modified potato gun into a crowd of people. Sounds like a great Saturday!”
Well, it wasn’t as easy as I expected. I arrived at 4pm and met my bosses Morgan the Marauder and Brendan the Benevolent. Members of the Hype team were already there setting things up. After hazing me in a ritual I’m not allowed to talk about called the Wedgie Grinder, they put me to work.
First we set up meeting spots for pre-game events, and then we prepared mics for the National Anthem, which I think was performed by Vince Gill and Carrie Underwood. After that, they sent me on a special mission to make sure the wheels of the giant Energy FC bike were screwed on tight.
I should mention that I was being shadowed by my own personal photographer, Jeslyn Chanchaleune. She’s working on a biopic about my life called “The Man Behind The Cape.” She took all the photos.
Once I checked the wheel’s on Wun Wun’s bike, I stopped by a merchandise booth to smell all the Energy gear and make sure it met specifications:
Fun Fact: I’m pretty sure the Energy uses Snuggle Fresh Spring fabric softener. It also could have been Ocean Mist. I’m not 100% sure. One thing I am sure about, though, is they don’t sell sunscreen at the souvenir stand, which is a shame, because that could make the Energy about a million dollars. I’m not the only Ginger Biscuit that likes to go to soccer games. It doesn’t even need to be branded. Just sell the cheap stuff. You’re welcome, Energy.
After smelling shirts, jerseys, and Umbros, I was sent to inspect each flag to make sure it wasn’t defective or showing signs of wear:
It should be noted that there are approximately 10,000 Energy flags inside Taft Stadium. Personally, I think they were just giving me busy work.
When the game was about to get started, I decided to ditch Brendan and Morgan to hangout with The Grid. If you don’t remember, these are the wild, rambunctious fans that cheer the Energy (and jeer the opponents) throughout the match. They were welcoming, funny, and made the game extra fun. They even let me beat the drum and yell at the opposing team’s goalie:
I can’t watch soccer on TV. It just seems slower than it actually is. Go to an Energy game and you can appreciate the skill, speed, and physicality of the sport. And sit with The Grid. I promise it’ll be a great time. If you ask nicely, they might even let you help them riot after the game and tip over a car.
As we got closer to halftime, I decided to find Brendan and Morgan and prepare to shoot the stress ball cannon. And wouldn’t you know, they made me do more work! I had to put all the cones that designated different meeting spots away…
Put the game ball holder in its special corner…
And lead the crowd in a chant… which they didn’t follow. I should have just played the Cha Cha Slide and yelled “Everybody Clap Your Hands.” It works every time.
After all the work, I was minutes away from my lifelong dream of shooting a prize cannon during a sporting event.
Like most of the writers here at TLO, I’m a big ole liberal… except when it comes to guns. If Obama or Hillary want my guns, they’ll have to pry them out of my cold, dead, hands (which should be easy because they have drones and I don’t). I’ve shot some cool guns in my life, but never a stress ball cannon. If my chant didn’t get the fans excited, I knew that shooting free souvenirs at them would.
The concept of these guns is pretty simple – it’s an aluminum tube with a plastic feeder on top. It’s pump-action and powered by canned CO2 like a paintball gun. Once the guns were assembled and we gathered our ammo, we were ready to go. Also, the cannon had a safety, so I wasn’t about to shoot my co-worker.
I was a little nervous at first, but realized that if some high school kids could do it, so could I.
Once I was out there, it was amazing. Patrick captured some video from the stands. You wouldn’t think a stress ball could travel very far, but you would be wrong. Standing in midfield, a couple of my shots almost went over the stadium. It was great at getting to the fans in the back, but I was a little hesitant to shoot toward the people at the front of the stands. I realize it’s just a stress ball, but you get anything moving fast and it’s bound to leave a mark. I was so into firing the cannon that I didn’t realize all my hype team members had left me and that the teams were back on the field. I was just pumping free swag into the masses, and it was great.
Afterward I gave the rest of the ammo to kids.
Overall, it was an awesome way to spend a Saturday. I would like to thank the OKC Energy FC for the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream. Also, big thanks to Morgan and Brendan for the hospitality. Whatever they get paid, it’s not enough. But hey, maybe the Energy can start selling sunscreen and use the profits to give them a raise!
Energy FC is a loyal member of the TLO Ad Club. We appreciate their support and letting us have a bit of fun. For ticket info, click here. To help Spencer achieve even more dreams, follow him on Twitter at @SpencerLenox.