Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Your Spring 2006 Playoff Recap

The season is over. The champion is crowned. As last season’s titleholders, I would like to publicly take this opportunity to congratulatethe Spring 2006 CA Studio kickball champs.

Oh right, that’s us…

BOOYAH! The semifinals and finals were last night, and we took both games to successfully defend our championship. To put this in historical perspective:

- We’re the first team in the Division to win multiple Division Titles.

- We’re the only team in any of the Southern California divisions to win back-to-back titles.

- We’ve qualified for the next World Kickball Championships, which is great because they are apparently going to be held somewhere in California.

- My own personal record in playoff games with AHN: 6-0 (I missed our playoff loss first season).

A recap of the two weeks of playoff magic shall begin:

QUARTERFINALS (Last Monday):

AHN: SGE 11, Trey Stafford Explosion 1

There really wasn’t much to report on this game. The only real drama is whether or not Trey Stafford himself would accept Michael’s Board Game Challenge. Trey managed to blow his knee out on the second play of the season, and has been forced to be Mascot/Lead Heckler for his team ever since.

Michael (also on IR) decided to challenge Trey to a series of board games to be played during the game. Partially it was a way to question Trey’s competitiveness, and partially it was so we wouldn’t have to hear him heckling.

Trey refused to take the bait, much to our chagrin. Michael even went so far as to create advertising and everything…


Like I said, the game was pretty boring – we beat them 11-0 in the regular season, and this was pretty much that game played all over again. I was a little concerned that the team might be lackadaisical because of our past history, but we came out sharp, focused, and other adjectives describing being “on point”.

LAST NIGHT:


SEMIFINALS:

AHN: SGE 2, Redrum United Kickball Club 1 (6)

This is the game we were waiting for. The chance to beat Redrum for the third straight game and knock them out of the playoffs again was in front of us. Plus, the majority of Redrum have apparently decided not to play next season (I don’t know why), meaning that this was our chance to send them into retirement with a loss to us.

I should point out a few things I did before/during the game.

- I bought white wristbands, and wrote on them with black marker. “Die” on one and “Nasty” on the other. They work as standalone messages, or say them both aloud in a row to reveal a secret, encoded message.

- I also found some spare name tags in my bag, and decided to put them to good use:


One was for use against Redrum, the other was for the championship game. I’ll let you figure out which was which.

- I also purchased a red “Participation” ribbon, like you used to get when you didn’t place in the Science Fair but your teacher wanted everyone to feel special because they tried real hard. My plan was to present this to Redrum when we met on the field before the game, and explain that “I know you guys have never won a championship ring (pointing to my ring), and unfortunately you won’t this season, either. So, I wanted you to have something to remember how hard you tried this year!”

Scott objected to doing this. Something about “jinxing ourselves”. Mainly, Scott was just very, very nervous, more so than he usually is. And he’s a very nervous person by nature. On the scale of nervousness, Scott was somewhere between “Realizing you need to go to the bathroom RIGHT NOW when there’s no gas stations for 20 miles” and Albert Brooks filling in as anchor from “Broadcast News”. I know that Scott would say that winning and losing isn’t important to him, but that tends to go out the window when the game starts.

(I should point out that Scott did produce two great signs for the games: one said “One for the Middle Finger”, and featured a giant hand in flip off mode, with a ring around the middle finger. The other was, well, I really can’t say what it was about in a public forum. Suffice it to say it’s
disgusting, cryptic and wonderful. Kind of like us.)

You might notice on the game score the (6). That’s because in the playoffs, you go extra innings if there’s a tie. Redrum went up 1-0 early, but we were able to tie it up in the fifth inning, and then Scott turned a single into the go-ahead run in the sixth by basically running and not stopping until he got home. It was great.

I can’t tell you why beating Redrum is always satisfying, other than that it always is. Basically, they have a real cocky swagger to them, which is funny since they’ve never actually won a championship. They are the team that takes things just a little too seriously, and probably would turn pro if there was such a thing. (Someone with money: make this happen.) Someone mentioned that they seem to have a lot of people who “peaked at 17”, as in they were the cool kids/jocks/etc. in high school, and now it’s 10 years later and they still can’t get over it. So, the fact that the team of A/V nerds (us) keeps beating them is a cake filled with delicious irony. I should point out that the four people from Redrum who actually come to the bar if they lose are top-shelf people and are exempt from the previous rant.

(However, two of their players wear football receiver’s gloves in the outfield. For kickball. Because that’s the difference between making a catch or not…)

FINAL:

AHN: SGE 9, Uno Mas 7

Yes, you read that right – 16 runs between the two teams.

And, Uno Mas defeated the Valley Girls (the No. 1 seed) in the semifinals. Which made us all happy to no end because a) we love Uno Mas (they are the most fun at the bar, our practice partners and all-around good people) and b) the Valley Girls needed a big bite of humble pie. I was playing poker on Saturday with Tyler, one of their captains (and a really good guy, BTW). He mentioned to me that they weren’t that concerned about Uno Mas because “they don’t score
enough runs to win”. I just shook my head – I knew they were overlooking them and they would get burned.

It was the most fun playoff game I’ve ever played in. I didn’t feel a lot of pressure to win, because I would have been very happy if Uno Mas would have won. And the game was high-scoring, but not because of errors – there were just a lot of good kicks placed in perfect spots.

(I did give the participation ribbon and speech to Uno Mas before the game. However, since they are cool and have actually senses of humor, it was taken in the proper spirit instead of met with tough looks of “intimidation”, as other teams might have done.)

And it was a back and forth game. We went up 4-0 in the first inning, and it looked like it was going to be a rout. But Uno Mas came back to tie it, and it was on from there. There were four lead changes during the game – we happened to do it last by scoring three times in the bottom of the fourth innings. And Uno Mas managed to load the bases in the fifth inning with one out before we were able to get a pop up and a ground out to end it.

The celebration after the final out was interesting. I personally was excited, but it was a different feeling than before. Maybe it was the fact that we beat a team we really like. Maybe it was that we did it again. Maybe it was because, for personal reasons, I couldn’t get as excited as
I might have otherwise, but it was more a feeling of relief than elation.

This feeling lasted for about five or ten seconds. Then the smoke bombs came out, followed by much running around topless, posing for pictures, and generally make asses of ourselves. Even today after a long shower, I still smell like a Chinese fireworks factory (burnt gun powder, dirt and sweat). We weren’t able to get to the bar until 10:30 or so, but we made the
most of the time we had there.

Personally, I was happy with how I played. I went 2-2 in the championship game (with two runs scored and two RKI) after going 0-2 against Redrum. I had some very good defensive plays, including turning a double play on a popped-up bunt in the first innings against Uno Mas. Even though I did throw one ball away that cost us two runs. But I did hump home plate when I scored the second time, so that pretty much trumps anything else that happened.

So, in summary, I love kickball. I’m glad to have something to do once a week that gets my mind off of everything else that I’m going through. I’ve made some great friends already, and each season brings a new group of friends.

And we pretty much kick all kinds of ass, which is good because while I don’t need to win at all costs, winning is more fun than losing.

(Also, fireworks are awesome.)

6 comments:

Scott said...

I honestly felt less nervous for the Redrum game than for last year's championship. Though, as your scale suggests, "less nervous" for me is still borderline-Woody Allen for most.

Regarding the signs, the "One for the Middle" poster was a parody of the Pittsburgh Steelers' "One For The Thumb" At the time that had four Super Bowl rings. On mine, an empty middle finger flipping the bird waited for the next champmionship ring to be placed on it.

Also, I spotted a typo. You forgot to put "idiotic" between "Michael's" and "Board Game Challenge". I kid because I want to BE Michael.

Finally, Erin from Uno Mas is my favorite kickball player. When their team tightens up the defense, we're all screwed!

Jaymi Z. said...

Um, first of all. I am not an a/v nerd. I am one of the hot cheerleader types that finds out that nerds are awesome in bed while in the moon bounce.

Second of all...our team is so super duper awesome and I am way impressed with the focus that we had in our last games. We went from super stinky at the beginning of last season to a team people are actually saying "ooh, the ninjas..."

Let's just not develop any cocky swagger...k?

Oh, and how about we mention the appearance of our totally legit and awesome ninja who intimidated the right outfield girls on the other teams to no end. Or maybe he was just trying to get their phone numbers. Whatever, it worked.

Love ya guys and can't wait to play again next season!

The Duke of Kickball said...

Jaymi - As soon as I get around to moving the photos Ashley had to Photobucket, I'll definitely mention the Ninja.

And you are correct - you are not an A/V nerd. We are a very cocky team - not in the "we actually believe the shit that we're saying" but more in a "let's make fun of all the teams that are full of themselves by acting like that, except 20 times worse."

Scott said...

Jaymi,

Noted!

-Scott

Scott said...

Noticed another thing...the Trey Stafford game was 7-1 in the regular season, not 11-0.

Dan the knee-less gimp said...

we let you guys win and I'm only letting you in on this secret because I'm bored at work and don't feel like actually working. I think we need to up our stupidity factor next season and since I don't actually play for the next year or whatever I have lots of time to come up with dumb shit to do. unfortunately I'm also lazy and might not actually do anything other than wear my sweet poncho while coaching third.

alright time to shuffle papers on my desk so as to appear important and busy