With little support from his teammates, Ottoman was helpless to withstand the offensive barrage unleashed upon him in the biggest blowout of the season, 20-4.


Week 12
Wet and woeful

Rainstorm floods net with goals

by Jay Suburb

For Ottoman, it was tossup as to what was more discouraging; the deluge of rain falling from the sky, or the flood of goals filling the net behind him.

The rookie goaltender has won only once since the season opener. But Sunday his losing woes plumbed new depths, as his teammates abandoned him, bounces eluded him, and the evil orange plastic ball got past him 20 times, to his side's four.

"I came out prepared for the game, and I just fell apart," says Ottoman. "It was just a bad game."

Indeed. Combined with two additional losses in consolation games, 10-2 and 10-3, Ottoman was beaten a record 40 times, the worst single-day drubbing in Sunday Morning Road Hockey history.

But Ottoman's teammates weren't blaming him. Despite the offensive talents of Lak Attack and Guy Called Mike, and a spirited effort by Elvis, who was a surprise starter after suffering a weekend-long bout with food poisoning, they were just never able to get on track.

"It was an all-around team effort of horrible," says notorious gameshow host gone bad, Wink, who was too despondent to play in the second make-up match. "We had trouble getting the ball out of our own end, we had trouble getting guys to come back to our own end, and when we did have chances, we'd screw up two-on-ones."

"It just didn't happen for us from the drop of the ball," says the Hired Gun. "It's disappointing to see the lack of effort out there. I think a lot of players took the game for granted today."

And their opponents were quick to take advantage. The Kid swooped and deked unchecked, his speed undeterred by the slippery conditions, while Bird, New Guy and the Living Legend were quick to convert every opportunity that came to their sticks.

"Our team was very mobile, we had good positioning and good defense," says Pig Farming Goalie, who regained his winning ways after suffering his first career loss two weeks ago. "I think everybody played very, very hard, but the ball bounced all the time for us."

But that was little consolation to Ottoman, whose forehead was stained blue by the end of the game from the sopping pads behind his goalie mask.

"They were getting goals sneaking through the five-hole, over the glove, under the glove, everywhere."

Despite the lopsided score, after the game Ottoman was optimistic he'd soon be able to turn his season around.
"You've just gotta keep coming out, keep trying," said the beleaguered ballstopper. "As soon as you come out for a new game, you play it like it's a new game, you start over again. Everyone starts at zero and you go from there."

At the other end of the court, the rout presented unique challenges for Pig Farming Goalie, who had to stay sharp despite his side's dominance.
"You always have to be ready for the ball to come to you, always, regardless of what the score is," said the lanky Latvian, who returned to action after missing last week's game, reportedly to nurse a hangover. "You've got to stay focussed and thinking about kicking the crap out of the other team as much as possible."

Sunday's tilted tilt was a marked contrast to last week's quadruple-overtime thriller. In fact, in Sunday Morning Road Hockey's eleven seasons, such routs have been rare, as teams are quickly corrected to temper any blatant imbalances of talent.
But Sunday's slaughter caught everyone by surprise.
"It wasn't like you could foresee this game was going to be a rout," said Wink. "The teams weren't really lopsided. It was simply a bad combination of guys and players having bad days."
"The score was lopsided, but the shots weren't," said Pig Farming Goalie.

Any hope for a comeback was further dampened by the difficult conditions, as a driving rain and wind storm rendered the courts slow and slippery and made it especially difficult for finesse players to find their pace.
"I think weather neutralized Lak Attack a little," said Pig Farming Goalie. "It was difficult for him to pass on the wet surface."
"It's disheartening," said the Hired Gun. "You make a decision to come out on a Sunday morning when it's just pouring rain and the wind is howling and then no-one tries hard."
But the conditions weren't an excuse, said Wink. "They were the same for everyone."
"You know everyone has just gotta play through it," said Ottoman.

For the second consecutive week, Lobsterboy was a surprise late scratch. But this time he was joined by one of his most vocal critics, Paul One. And again, alcohol was the culprit.
While the shelled shotstopper announced he was fit and ready to play after another Saturday night of boozy revelry, he said his car was out of commission, and so was his designated driver. Paul One, he said, had been at the same party and had apparently overindulged.
But when an alternate ride had been hastily arranged, Lobsterboy failed to live up to his pledge by leaving his phone unanswered.
For their fellow veterans, this latest insult just added to the injury left by Lobsterboy's shocking shirk last week.
"Those guys aren't key players anymore," said Wink. "If Lobsterboy would rather not come, if he'd rather be a lush and lying at home in a pool of his own vomit, then that's fine."
"It's really sad that alcohol has affected the game once again," said the Hired Gun, who's reportedly missed a few games through his career to nurse hangovers of his own. "One day there's gonna be no more founding fathers left. We'll be counting on these new guys to carry on and they need some leadership. You need guys like Paul One and Lobsterboy, as veterans, to come out and show them the way."
Or at least show them they're worthy of their billing, said Ottoman.
"You read and hear all about the heroics and everything Lobsterboy's gone through, and you come out here, you wanna see it," said the rookie rearguard. "You start to wonder if it's all just stories, or whether he's actually gonna come out and perform."