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The Colonel is robbed by Lak Attack, but, according to the volatile veteran, not all the larceny in Sunday's game was happening on the court.

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Week 3
Callback controversy

Contentious calls create acrimony in close game

by Jay Suburb

Perhaps Judge Judy should be the next player recruited to join the road hockey courts.

Three contentious calls over disputed goals created a cloud of controversy on an otherwise sunny Sunday. And, say some of the roadsters, at least one of those calls made the final score a lot closer than it should have been.

With his team leading 13-11 and in control of a close, hard-fought game, the Colonel maneuvered deep into the offensive zone, reached out with his gloved hand to knock a pass to his stick, but instead the evil orange plastic ball went into the net. Debate raged as to whether the play should stand.

The Colonel said it was an accident, like any other incidental deflection. Others argued a redirect with the hand by any other name is still a redirect. All eyes looked to the Living Legend, as Sunday Morning's senior player and adhoc commissioner, for a ruling.

He disallowed the goal. Then his team scored three of the next four goals, to tie the game at 14 and send it into extra time.

"You're up 13-11, you score a legitimate goal and then it's called back in an unfair and completely biased ruling, it took away from the pace of the game a little bit," says the Colonel, still steaming from the decision.

"Emotionally it's hard, because you're playing against a team, and you're also playing against the commissioner," says notorious gameshow host gone bad, Wink. "It was like it was always a two-on-one out there."

And the opposition was quick to take advantage.

"After the redirect call, it really stole some of the momentum from the other team," says the New Guy, another Sunday Morning rookie. "If a play is really clear cut, and you have to fight to get the goal, it really deflates a team."

But it didn't have to be like that, says Giebelhaus. "When you get a controversial call like that, you just have to knuckle down and try to score the next one. It's part of the game, you just have to deal with it."

And, ultimately, his team did. The Colonel rebounded from his frustration over the controversial call to score the game's two decisive goals, sealing a dramatic 16-14 victory. The final exclamation mark to a contentious day.


Not all of the Colonel's teammates disagreed with the Living Legend's ruling on the redirect.
"I think it was a good call," said Giebelhaus. "(The Colonel) didn't mean to put it in the net, but he directed it. I didn't like the call, but it was the right one."

The disallowed hand goal was the last, and most controversial, of a series of disputed scores.
Earlier, the Guy Called Mike was denied an apparent goal when a rapier shot that appeared to some roadsters to have caught the top right corner over the Kid's shoulder was ruled by other players to have careened off the crossbar.
Then, notorious gameshow host gone bad, Wink, lost an argument that a shot that had banked off the shaft of the Kid's goalstick as he flailed in the crease had bounced off the crossbar and not into the chain link at the top of the net.
"With all the cheatin' going on, it was tougher than it should have been," said the fellow founding father. "It was ugly, it was like something out of wrestling; I was waiting for somebody to come out and hit me with a steel folding chair."

While most goal controversies are decided by a consensus of the roadsters, and in the interests of sportsmanship, when an agreement can't be reached, it's often left to the Living Legend to make the call. But he was overruled by more vociferous roadsters on GCM's top-shelf shot, and he went against his own team when he agreed a low shot that eluded Lak Attack and appeared to deflect off the goalpost had caught the inside corner of the net.
"Sometimes the calls go for you, and sometimes they go against you," said Giebelhaus, of the Living Legend's unenviable position. "I don't think you really need to change anything one way or the other."

Sunday's game was the first of the young season in which both teams enjoyed the luxury of two full lines. The attendance explosion was ignited by the addition of three rookies, and the return of a veteran from his yearlong hiatus to pursue educational opportunities in a faraway city.
Beetle Boy, originally recruited by the Colonel, played his second game after a long career in unsanctioned roller hockey. After an admirable debut last week, he seemed to really find his groove on Sunday, playing on a line with GCM and the Hired Gun.
"I really like playing with (GCM)," said Beetle Boy. "He just sorta knew how to pass it to me, where I would be, and I just seemed to be able to get it to him too."
The playmaking pair teamed up for a handful of precision goals, including an unlikely seeing-eye pass by GCM out of the corner, through a forest of legs, right onto Beetle Boy's blade as he streaked into the slot, and one-timed it past a stunned Kid.
Two other rookies, Billy Idol and the New Guy, premiered at the court Sunday and made an immediate impact.
"Having that number of players out there was great," said Giebelhaus. "You can play hard, and then you can get off and let someone else out there. It's really important to be able to go hard on short shifts."
The lineups were further bolstered by the return of Bulldog, and the regular season premier of Hollywood. And when both of them ended up on the same side, along with the speedy playmaking of the Colonel and the booming shot of Wink, some roadsters thought it would be a short day.
"I thought we were gonna blow their doors off," said Wink.
"My expectations are always to win, I don't think that ever changes no matter who I'm playing with," said the Colonel.
But the underdogs played tough and kept the game close until its controversial conclusion.
"We put a great effort out there," said Beetle Boy. "I think we just had to work hard and play our positions."
"There was some tough defense," said the New Guy.
And more than a little overconfidence, said Wink. "I think we got cocky. We saw Hollywood, we saw Bulldog, we saw the Colonel, and we thought we had it made. We just didn't work that hard."

Despite the welcome abundance of players, Sunday's game almost didn't happen, as none of them were goalies. Lobsterboy was a surprise, and unexplained, scratch, Ottoman had the flu, and Turk missed his third consecutive game after announcing his comeback in the preseason training camp.
But the day was saved by the game's two top offensive stars, Lak Attack and the Kid, who stepped up to strap on the protective equipment. And while neither of the scoring rivals is unfamiliar with the position, each of them seemed to relish the unique challenge of facing the other in this new role.
"For the two most exciting offensive players in the game to forsake that so the game could go on is impressive," said Wink. "They're showing great leadership for the game."
"We had two really good goalies in the game, irregardless that they're offensive threats," said Giebelhaus. "That's what made the game as good as it was. There was a real balance of goaltending."

Besides the goalies, other regulars who missed Sunday's game included Paul One, Philderama, and the Whirling Dervish. Meanwhile, the previously-hyped comebacks of Lumberjack and Southpark remain shrouded in mystery, as neither has yet to actually play a game this season.