There’s nothing like team sports to boost camaraderie in a band that has recently lost one of its founding members.
Unless, of course, it’s a game of dodgeball and James Corden is your coach. Even though the late-night host has been friends with One Direction for years, there are no friends when it comes to balls in your face.
The boy band stopped by The Late, Late Show on Thursday and, in a taped segment, fulfilled a lifelong dream.
“It definitely feels like the last five years I’ve been in this past has all been preparation for this game,” said Harry Styles. Bandmate Niall Horan echoed his sentiments: “The singing thing just kind of happened I wasn’t really planning a career in singing. It was all about dodgeball for me, as a kid.”
Liam Payne, sounding particularly sincere and like the diehard team player we know and love, said: “We’ve got a great coach and a team captain in James. I’m extremely honored to be here today and I’m grateful to be a part of the team.”
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For his part, Louis Tomlinson claims to have always been “dodgeball-obsessed. It’s such a big part of me.” But has he ever played dodgeball before? “No, no, never played.”
Their opponents – a group of women called the Ball Busters – pretty much destroyed 1D despite a solid effort and some truly spectacular dodgeball outfits. Styles, wearing a headband over his shoulder-length hair and wearing the shortest shorts he could probably find, was the clear winner of that fashion show.
We even got a glimpse of the thigh tattoo that sent Twitter into a tizzy when it was revealed in a photo Styles took with Chelsea Handler, but we still have no idea what it is. Tiger head? Whale? Conch shell? Is it like one of those stereogram pictures, where you can only make out the image if you focus real hard and believe in yourself?
(During the boys’ interview with Corden, Styles said he’d show it off but he wasn’t wearing any underwear. Classic.)
In a behind-the-scenes segment, the women revealed that Styles was the best player and that Tomlinson was the worst because he kept playing with his hair.
Noteworthy moments from the video we want playing on the inside of our eyelids for the rest of our lives include:
• Horan’s hiccuping laughter as Styles did sit-ups into Corden’s general crotch area. (You can’t see Horan laughing, but trust us on this one. It was him.)
• For some reason, fans on Tumblr and Twitter got particularly excited by Tomlinson and Styles doing a wheelbarrow during dodgeball training. We wonder why!
• Corden flopping Styles’ hair around and telling him that he looks like he’s a part of a “Hanson tribute band.”
• Corden smushing Styles and Payne’s cheeks after Corden’s Angels lost the game – truly living the dream.
• Finally, it was time to hit the showers – Tomlinson, you first: “Let’s scrub you down.”