Friday, November 2, 2007

There's a little blogspot on the sun today...

Let's hope it's not the same blogspot as yesterday... Since we last met dear readers, lo those 24 hours ago, I was attacked by an angry leprechaun. I have survived the attack, nay triumphed, but was a wee bit shaken by the absurdity of it all. And by 'shaken' I mean, THRILLED that something so ridiculous would take place in my midst. :)

Backstory: I play adult kickball. Yes, at first glance it appears to be an oxymoron. I am a proud member of the World Adult Kickball Association or WAKA. I'd like to say all of the people recognize that this is KICKBALL and not something to get all worked up about. It's supposed to be a social/athletic endeavor - a way for people to meet, socialize, and play a silly playground game. Well, things got out of hand almost as soon as the league started. There are a few teams that are chill but most of the teams are dominated by their psycho-competitive members. My team falls in the chill column. We were always a middle-of-the-pack team. Players came and went but for the most part our record was usually equal wins and losses; nothing to brag about. We were primarily a social team (read "there for the beer").

That was until the end of last season (in June). We played the number one team, Ball Breakers, for the last regularly scheduled game. They pretty much acted like they were playing mentally and physically challenged children. They were all smiles for a change and goofing around and having a good time -- until we started scoring. Next thing they knew, the game ended in a tie and they were trying to act like it didn't bother them. Now, I was pretty sure it did.

So the following Saturday, we were playing in the End-of-Season tournament. It's an all-day single elimination tourney that we have at the end of every season (hence the name -- clever, I know). We won in the first round and found ourselves playing Ball Breakers in the second. The captain dates a good friend of mine and he and I are somewhat friendly off the fields. Before the game started, he said in all seriousness, "Don't expect us to go easy on you in THIS game." And right then and there, I knew we had them. This team is SO competitive that if you can chip away at them in the slightest manner -- by scoring a couple runs or getting some outs against them -- you can get in their heads and they start to implode. And since I knew he was already trying to rationalize the earlier tie, I knew he was vulnerable. Sure enough, we played well, they started making errors, and all hell broke loose. They turned on each other with a vengeance and we eliminated them from the tourney. We actually went on to be co-champs of the tournament which stunned everyone, not the least of whom ourselves.

If you're still reading, you're either incredibly bored or a friend of mine. Thank you either way. I'll reward your commitment by ending this soon!

First game of the fall season and we're short a lot of people. Kickball registration actually stays open for a couple weeks into the season and I had a player who I was confident was going to register, but who hadn't yet, play for us. I was also CERTAIN we were going to lose our first game because we were missing so many people and the ones who were playing had either never played before or hadn't played with each other before. And who do you think we're playing? Ball Breakers. AGAIN. So I asked one of our former players who was dragging his feet about registering to play. Again, I was 100% certain we were going to lose, but I didn't want them to get killed so I asked Pat to play. He agreed and son-of-a-bitch, we beat the crazy bastards again! Now I'm nervous because Pat hadn't registered yet and technically shouldn't have played. But I knew he was going to, so I figured karmically and ethically I was OK.

Next week rolls around and Pat still hasn't registered. The full team is present and good lord, we're playing Ball Breakers again. Pat (who has some sort of personal vendetta against them that I don't know about) asks if he can play. I tell him No, because we have a full team of people who have paid and because he still hasn't registered. He's asking me in front of a player on another team, and I have to act like he IS registered because of the earlier week's game. So I can't really elaborate at that moment on why he can't play. I just say, "Don't you remember Pat, you're NOT FEELING WELL?" Hoping he'll catch my not-so-subtle hint. Instead, as my other team members start appearing and asking Pat if he's playing, he proceeds to loudly say that he isn't playing and that he isn't registered! He does it one too many times and 20 decibels too high and in front of the Ball Breakers, so I finally snap and yell, "PAT, SHUT UP!" My biggest fear is that my team will be penalized because I chose to have Pat play. They really played a fantastic game and I don't want their win disqualified because of my poor judgment.

Well, he has some sort of hissy fit and next thing I know he's told Ball Breakers that he was an illegal player in the previous week's game and then he JOINS THEIR TEAM. Now, I don't know what happened to his hatred of them that he had expressed oh, 30 minutes earlier, but now he's having a love fest on the other side of the field. We go on to play the Ball Breakers and tie them. So now they STILL can't beat us and they're losing their shit.

One of the biggest problems with Ball Breakers is their co-captain, the aforementioned leprechaun. He's angry, he's emotionally and vertically stunted, he's red, and as best I can tell, he hasn't had contact with a female in...ever. He's known for flipping out during kickball games and drinking mass quantities of liquor/beer. He also has one of those gravelly voices that sounds like he's been smoking and eating glass since birth. Well, he's all over me at the bar that night about my illegal player. All pointing at me and posturing and telling me I need to walk away before he does something. For context, I was selling 50/50 raffle tickets to support our charity, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia. I have to assume other volunteers don't elicit this sort of response. So, I've given him a pretty wide berth all season and have been able to avoid him and his black hole personality.

Until last night.

Some of my players reffed a game between Ball Breakers and another team. (We all self-ref in kball; if you're not playing, your team usually has to ref another game). So my team stuck around to watch and offer moral support (referees are routinely abused by the competitive teams. Ball Breakers in particular feel it necessary to argue every call. I have mentioned this is KICKBALL, yes?) I guess Ball Breakers won because next thing I know Lilley (the leprechaun) is yelling about how they're going to win on Saturday (tomorrow, at our End-of-Season tournament), and then he proceeds to get all riled up and starts yelling, "And then we're going to take out Balled & Beautiful [my team] in the second round!!" Some of his friends are high-fiving him and agreeing, but I think they mainly do that because they know he looks like an ass and like to encourage it. "That's right, we're gonna knock B&B out in round two!!" And then he sees me and the venom boils to the forefront of his bright red face, "Yeah, we're gonna win! That's right, WE'RE GONNA CRUSH B&B IN THE SECOND ROUND!!!!" Now, God bless my teammates, we all turned, looked at him as the pathetic speck he is and said, "Uh...OK." Well he didn't know what to do with that. So he just kept spewing that they were going to win and and that he hates me and that they're going to win because he hates me and because I had an illegal player. This is on November 1st. The first game of the season was on August 16th. Poor boy's been carrying this load for MONTHS. LOL! I just told him that I really hoped he won and that it brought him some peace. Every time he said he was going to win, we all just agreed with him and said OK. I love my team! The moron didn't know what to do with that. He was completely deflated and his closest friends (two of whom are also my friends) were laughing their heads off at what an idiot he was being.

And here's where karma steps in. We just got the tournament brackets earlier. My team is in third place overall, so we don't have to play in the first round. The leprechaun's team is playing a team that they may or may not beat. If they do, they then have to face the UNDEFEATED FIRST PLACE team before they can even consider playing us! We're not going to play them in the tournament!

Which I guess means they're not going to beat us, which unfortunately means for all of us: no peace for the leprechaun. :(

Time for a pumpkin ale, my friends. Have a wonderful day!

PS -- Go B&B! Play well tomorrow and more importantly, have fun!!!

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