Thursday, October 11, 2007

End of season (fish) wrap-up

I know I've been very, very bad at updating the blog. I've had some requests from East Coast fans who couldn't attend the games, and perhaps didn't see highlights on their edition of SportsCenter (damned East Coast Media bias...).

I think our season could best be summed up by this:

Let me explain...

That is a picture of an unexploded piece of fish and chips that was supposed to inspire the team before our first playoff game. We were playing the Guy Fawkes Conservancy, which is the team of Kelly, Michael's girlfriend and also where former Ninja Cameron went to go play this season. Needless to say, we're very good friends with them. I wanted something to get people's focus, though, so we would act like it's the playoffs and not just another scrimmage game in the park on a Sunday afternoon.

So, I found out how to create a Penny Bomb using old toy cap gun rolls, a penny and some electrical tape. I don't want to be responsible for any lawsuits so I won't post any links, but they are easy enough to make, and as Sara can attest to (based on some testing I did in the street the night before), loud and pretty potentially destructive. I think her words to me before I left for the game were "try not to lose a finger".

With the Guy Fawkes team being (in theory) a bunch of limey British bastards, I wanted to destroy something British. So, I went to H Salt Fish & Chips (perhaps the most disgusting place on Earth, and this is from someone who cannot resist Long John Silver's) and ordered one single fish plank. The idea was to use that as a symbol of the other team, and then destroy it by blowing it up with the Penny Bomb in front of everyone to get us fired up.

The end result? A train wreck (I would have said "grease fire", but that would have been pretty close to what I was hoping to achieve.) The Penny Bomb needs friction to go off, usually being thrown to the ground. My bright idea was to tape the Penny Bomb to the fish plank and then throw it to the ground, causing the plank to explode in an orgy of fish, breading and grease. The reality is that H Salt fish is so greasy that I could not, for the life of me, get the bomb to stick to the plank - the tape would slide off from the grease, no matter how much I tried to use.

What wound up happening was me trying to throw this plank with the bomb half-falling off at the bottom, which gave it no momentum and not nearly enough speed to go off. So we would up with me throwing a fish plank into the ground, and then...nothing. I picked up the bomb and tried to throw it directly on the fish plank, but the plank wasn't hard enough to create a good surface, and it just bounced off. Finally, I just got mad and threw the bomb onto the concrete, but by this point, most of the team had wandered off, perplexed more than inspired.

Needless to say, we lost 4-1.

And that was this season. A lot of really big ideas that ultimately didn't go anywhere. Most of the team didn't get behind the "Amish" part of the team name for this season, and the things we did try to do...well, the barn raising was less than a success. And honestly, there was only so much you could do with being Amish - especially since we couldn't get a butter churn.

We finished the regular season 4-4, which actually wasn't terrible considering we had the toughest schedule in the Division by far. And we really only got blown out in one game (against the Valley Girls, who won the title on Monday, congrats to them...), and even then we were one close play at third away from making a game of it.

But it was a very disappointing season, and not just because of our record. As a team, we really didn't have a lot of passion or enthusiasm, not like we've had in the past. Some people were just burnt out on kickball, or burnt out on the team; we're a pretty demanding and "interesting" group of people, and I think it takes some effort to be fully involved. Plus, frankly, the vast majority of us have been doing this close to non-stop for two years now. I think that just puts a lot of pressure on relationships, and a) you start taking things for granted and b) every little thing that everyone else does starts to really get on your nerves.

And frankly, I'll take a lot of the blame. I know I can push the team to try to get involved, but depending on your point of view, it probably comes off as way over-the-top. There's a certain percentage of the team that just wants to show up and play once a week. Which I totally get, except that's not what the Ninjas are really about. I think as a team, we're a place for people who are completely insane, and want to spend hours planning a stunt to pull against the other team, or to record fake press conferences, or even just to practice. We try to take winning and losing as not seriously as we do take the theatrical, BS aspects of playing kickball. We want to win, too, and there's obviously no reason why we can't; but I want to shoot off confetti guns first.

The new season doesn't start again until Feburary or March of 2008 (thanks, WAKA!). Frankly, I think the time off will be good for us. I know some people won't be back - either they aren't playing next season, or they are joining new teams. And I'm fine with that - people should do what makes them happy, and I'd rather have someone not on the team than join because they feel obligated and be unhappy and unenthused. Our goal between now and then it to a) develop a lot of stunts and BS that the entire team can be involved in and b) recruit people who are willing to sell out for the team and get involved in our shenanigans. This will probably mean bringing in some players who have never played kickball before, which I actually love; they are a blank slate, and we are free to brainwash them and corrupt their unsuspecting minds.


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