Sport and comedy can often seem like odd bedfellows; just ask the makers of the 1998 film BASEketball.
However Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Adam Riches has managed to blend the two worlds together. Soho Theatre is playing host to Riches’ creation Eric Coach until April as he tries to get his Centaurs Volfsball team in shape for their game against arch rivals The Lizards. Will it be a Leicester City style fairytale? Or another season to forget like Ipswich Town (Half of LOL is a fan of the mighty tractor men – Ed)?
We managed to grab a few words Eric Coach between press conferences.
Hey Coach, how the Centaurs doing this season?
Well son, it’s funny that you ask.
I have just returned back from my daily ‘Take a rifle and some watermelons into the woods so that I can take out my frustration on some fruit instead of some children’ sabbatical, where I also spent some ‘me’ time mulling over the same darn thing.
One week into our three week series at the Soho Dome and my boys have scored one less win than a win. Now I’m no Professor of Mathemamathematics, but even I know that equals…wait a second…ZERO POINT ZERO.
We are dick at the moment. D-I-C-ICK. And the bad kind of dick too, I’m not even kidding. If you had us in your pants you would absolutely be advised to go show it to someone with a modicum of medical training who would most likely throw up, pass out, then heat up a needle to go lance us and hopefully irrigate some of our infected dick jelly. We’re that bad.
But we still got a long time to go. I am as ever optimistic and high on prescription drugs.
For anyone not familiar with the wonderful sport of Volfsball what are the basics?
This is High School Volfsball remember? Pro Game is slightly different. But HSV is the hottest three on three action you can have with some of your clothes on, or none of your clothes on if you forgot your kit. But
Rules are simple. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you shoot the ball. A Hail Mary shot at the buzzer can win you the game, but only if you make it. A Hail Mary miss will you lose the game, whatever the score.
Now you add that kind of powder keg pressure to the hearts and minds of a bunch of poorly educated teenagers who are to a man, wholly unable to harness it and you couldn’t actually get more higher stakes if you ejaculated a griddle full of sirloins forty feet high into the sky. That’s why I love it.
(Oh, as an addendum to that, if you are ever planning to launch some meat into the ether, then please, let me know. It has long been a dream of mine to see beef fly.)
Any particular players we should be watching out for?
Tug Heartstrings and Memphis Alabaster are the two stand-out names on my teamsheet not least of which because they are the only two names on my teamsheet.
Tuggy has got some skills, but mainly for catching, skinning and gutting small woodland creatures. Memph has zero skills but cable TV in his Mom’s Winniebago, so I get him to Tivo all my favourite shows in return for starting him every game. He has a place in my team so long as Wicked Tuna has a subsequent series in the pipeline.
If you’re a fan of exclusives though, word is I might be getting myself a new player ahead of the game tonight. But you know what, in my experience words are merely assholes that have yet to find a font. I’ll believe it when I see it. Same as assholes. I’ll believe them too when I see one. Up until then, they are just myth…
How about your biggest rivals the Lizards? How’s their form going?
I refuse to talk about that. Like a perfect circle, I shall not be drawn.
Ok. Bill Shankly, legendary Liverpool manager said…
What I will say though, is that if you give a team all the funding that the school provides. All the kit, all the facilities, all the balls and all the backing from the Principal, the Board and the entire town, then chances are, you will see a benefit.
But, you know what, like the guy who refused to lease me a new truck said, ‘Credit where credit’s due.’ They’re playing some fine Volf out there and a seventy-five year winning streak is not to be sniffed at. That Swish kid and The Wrist are talented. I see this a lot with kids that will most likely grow up to be dead at twenty five. They remind me of two giant compasses living alone in a sea of bright, white, endless card in that they could legitimately score from anywhere.
I guess I just take my strength from ‘Gods of Egypt’, (that new Gerard Butler movie) and the fact that the Centaurs are the people’s champions. (If by the words ‘people’ and ‘champions’ you mean ‘me’ and ‘not’.)
Right. Well, as I was about to say, Bill Shankly, legendary Liverpool manager said “Volfsball is not a matter of life and death… it’s much more important than that.” Do you agree?
Speaking as a man that has lived and indeed killed, I would say no, I do not believe Volfsball to be more important than either of those two things. I want to live more than anything. That’s why I high-fived my way out of my Mother’s Away End all them years ago.
Also and possibly of more relevance to the question, I will not get arrested for losing another Volfsball game, but I will get arrested if I ever kill again or get found out for that killing I already done done. I mean I say me…‘Poach Eric Poach’ was the name I gave to Patrolman Dennison, right before I accelerated away from the scene of the crime ahead of torching my truck and bleaching my nasal hair. (Don’t ask!) ((Because I do not have an answer))
Have you ever given your team the hairdryer treatment at half time?
Son, I am a High School Sports Coach, not a Coiffeur of Poodles for Pageants! At half time, I give tactics and hydration, not teasing flicks with my backcomb. (That’s a comb for my back, losers!)
What would you say your greatest achievement in sport is?
I would say most definitely the one time we got to within one point of scoring a point. I immediately marched straight into the Principal’s Office to demand a contract which he just as immediately, if not sooner, refused.
I love marching places and demanding shit and you would honestly be surprised the number of times it actually ends up with me not getting barred or lifetime banned from anywhere. And I include my bedroom in that. #takemebackhoney
From the Opposition dugout we speak to the Lizards star man The Wrist, despite the fact that he has recently committed himself to a vow of silence.
Best friend and worst influence Swish Swisherstein has agreed to translate The Wrist’s gestures…
Hey The Wrist, how’re you feeling about your upcoming match playing the Centaurs?
THE WRIST EATS CENTAURS FOR BREAKFAST! (And also when his Mamma puts ‘em in his lunchbox.) He’s psyched for the game, not only ‘cos he spent last semester in the sin-bin, but also ‘cos we got the greatest Lizard team in history; solid skills, pure physical prowess and a whole heap of my Daddy’s oil money. The Centaurs are gonna get their hairy hinny behinds a whoopin! Even if they wanted to forfeit we wouldn’t let ‘em, ‘cos we wanna BBQ us some man-horse.
Do you have a game plan going into the match?
The Lizards don’t need no game plan ‘cos we got gameplay! Game plans are for losers who suck donkey dingus, which the Centaurs definitely do, ‘cos The Wrist has seen ‘em at it! I left my jockstrap in the Volfsball Arena this one time and when he went back to get it, there they all were – Coach Coach too – chowing down on pony baloney like pre-game protein shakes were going out of fashion.
You are seen as the star man of your team, does that bring extra pressure?
There ain’t no pressure baby! The Wrist is the ace of spades, hotter than a sun-baked reptile, so hot he’s on fire! Not literally. Although there was this one time we was in the locker room trying to scorch textbooks by igniting our ass gas and there was some serious blowback. No one likes a singed gouch.