In the heartland of the District of Columbia, a most unusual wildlife refuge has emerged. The preserve, dubbed the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, has fostered a uniquely urban jungle environment for over half a century. Within its walls, a delightful assortment of creature are housed, ranging from insects and interns to small mammals and journalists. One may even find the occasional footballer on its grassy fields. Join us now as we look at some of RFK’s wild inhabitants.
First spotted: October, 2013
The referee’s locker room at RFK is a sacred place. It is here, deep within the bowels of RFK stadium, that many MLS officials have taken pause, reflecting on a particular moment in a match. “Was that foul really severe enough to warrant a red?,” a pensive Red-card-o Salazar thought to himself. “Did they notice me?” pondered Mark Geiger, staring at himself longingly in the mirror.
"But what really is soccer - this cruel dance of light and sound, a mesmerizing ballet where man meets nature,” sang Baldomero Toledo, operatically.
That particular changing room is also adjacent to the media work room, and many a media member has made use of those facilities, answering nature’s call before churning out another 1500-word “what happened to Freddy Adu” opus. Just a week or two ago, while conducting end-of-the-year player interviews, I found myself in need of such a visit.
You can imagine my surprise when I gazed downwards and saw this monster gazing back at me. We stood silent, eyes locked; I completely abandoned the idea of urinating, terrified that this uninvited guest would take advantage of my vulnerable state and move in for the kill. I backed away slowly, retreating shamefully to the urinal in the hallway leading to the dugout. Advantage: Gryllus Assimilus.
One wonders what that cricket was doing in that bathroom stall that day. Perhaps, undeterred by the league-issued anti-match-fixing posters plastered on the wall, it arrived to gently chirp some instructions into the AR’s ear. Or perhaps it arrived in search of a Red Bull.
Yes, there’s a Red Bull refrigerator in the referee’s changing room at RFK.
Get your pitchforks.