Red Ass is a variation that caught the hearts and minds of hundreds of thousands of young Irish boys as they desperately sought a game that could bring together their love of sport and exercise with their love of causing one of their friends physical harm.
There were many variations to the rules. Some offered more points for a header than a volley, some played "over the bar doesn't count" and only punished wide shots to encourage more flamboyant attempts, and some used the highly criticised 'cheeky' rule that allowed the guy who was previously in goal to throw the ball for an assist to get a score on the new keeper, but the game was played all over this little island with the utmost enthusiasm.
One rule that never changed was that when your lives reached 0, you were getting Red Assed.
These are the players that made up every game of Red Ass.
Everybody's favourite Red Ass teammate, the acrobat is what the game is all about. He knows that a bicycle kick or the coveted 'Scorpion' will not only cause more points damage, but will make the experience better for everyone involved. Also, they know that if they don't make contact with the ball, then that's arguably the most entertaining thing that can happen. If you are the acrobat, we salute you.
The Invisible Man
Typically one of the weaker players in the group, this poor guy's worst fear is having the group belt footballs at his backside. He'll hide in the fringes, making sure to avoid the ball, occasionally doing a few solos and trying to set someone else up for a shot. He will inevitably be bullied into missing a shot and end up the loser of the game.
The Tactical Genius
He knows exactly how many lives each player has left, and what the quickest way to get them 'red assed' is. This guy is like having a manger on the pitch as he knows exactly where everyone should be placed and has assigned roles to each player. Typically the most annoying to play with.
The guy who shamelessly dedicates himself to setting other people up so that he doesn't have to shoot, his excellent work-rate and enthusiasm for the game can often fool inexperienced players into thinking that he's involved, but in reality he is conning everyone and will be the first person lined up to boot the ball at someones arse.
The Annoyingly Good Goalkeeper
That guy who will always volunteer to go in goals first if there are extra lives on offer for doing so, he is so confident that he'll be back out in a matter of seconds that it's no bother to him. Even if he's not catching volleys to free himself, he's making great save to preserve his lives. Typically takes risky shots because he can, the only way to get this wannabe Neuer red assed is via a phenomenal team effort.
You must keep one eye on the bastard at all times. This is the guy who's going to pick a victim and bully them into a red assing by deliberately deflecting shots off of them to send them in goal, he'll never EVER save the ball that's dribbling wide because it might risk his safety, and he'll ALWAYS re-join the queue for another blast when the punishment shots are taken. When he goes in goal he's even worse as he tries to smash the ball off you with his throw-outs. If this is you... You probably love it, to be honest.
This guy has your back. If you've mishit a volley and are watching it trickle wide to put you in goal, the hero is the guy who's going to risk his own life to try and keep you in play. Now, typically you only see the hero when the guy who's in goals is close to a red assing, so perhaps there is some bastardism in there too, but from the eyes of the shooter this man deserves a purple heart for his services.
The Creative Bullshitter
This is the player who can't accept that they have to go in goal. "Over doesn't count!" he'll cry when you've explained already that it does, he's always got two more lives than he actually should have because he's forgotten the two clear goals you scored last time he was in, and he'll claim every touch is a handball and every goal was wide. Just give it a rest and go in goal man.
Bonus: The Chancer Who Didn't Even Play
In a playground situation there is always that one guy who was probably having a smoke while the game was on, but arrived just in time for the red ass. Usually a lad from a year or two ahead of you, it's all down to whether or not the keeper has the balls to call him out.