Guy Called Mike and New Guy battle for the evil orange plastic ball, in the first game of Sunday's Shrimp Ring Bowl.


Week 15
No consolation

Shrimp Ring losers find making up is hard to do

by Jay Suburb

For Paul One, Sunday's make-up game was no consolation.

After getting soundly drubbed, 20-10, in the opener, One and his teammates came out firing on all cylinders in the make-up match, opening up a quick 5-2 lead. But they couldn't hold it, squandering their advantage, and their second game of the day, 10-8.

"I thought losing the first game was bad, but losing that second one was twice as bad," says Paul One, hanging his head into his soggy t-shirt, soaked from the effort to salvage the day, and from the steady rain that drenched the road hockey courts as morning turned to afternoon.

It certainly wasn't the outcome he and his mates had bargained for when they agreed to the follow-up match, despite the deteriorating conditions.

"I thought (that second game) was gonna be our redemption," says One. "I thought it was our chance to do something and walk away with our heads held high."

Consolation games after a blowout have been a long-standing Sunday Morning tradition, as players try to achieve a workout. And respect.

"You definitely wanna win," says One. "In the second game, you've gotta get the passion back. You've got another chance to win a game, and you wanna go 100 percent for that."

But it's not easy, says Ottoman, the losing goalie in the first game. Especially after enduring such a decisive defeat.

"When the goals start to mount, the whole team starts to fall back," says the rookie rearguard, who bounced back with a solid performance in the nightcap, after being traded for Pig Farming Goalie. "The guys just wanna get it over with and start over again."

And for first half of the afternoon game, it seemed the morning's big losers were poised to pull off the stunning reversal.

With the newly-acquired Pig Farming Goalie shutting down the previously potent scoring combination of Kid and New Guy, the underdogs were able to press deep into the offensive zone, swarming their former backstop, Ottoman.

"I play against Kid and New Guy and I see they stumble over their big egos all game," says Pig Farming Goalie of his former teammates, now turned offensive foes. "It seems necessary to stop them and put them in their place."

At the other end, Ottoman's nightmare seemed destined to endure, as his former teammates rained shots from every angle, opening up their early lead.

"I thought we were done," says the beleaguered backstop.

But instead of tightening up from the pressure, he dismissed it. The low shots that had eluded him all morning started bouncing harmlessly off his big leg pads.

"Ottoman's big, he fills the net," says Paul One, of his frustrating foe. "I think he pulled up his level of play in the second game, that's for sure."

And that was all Ottoman's teammates needed to forge their comeback.

"Every goal, you try and forget it and just keep going on," says Ottoman. "There's a lot less pressure in the second game. Afterall, it's a consolation game."

But that's little solace to Paul One, or his twice-beaten teammates.

"It doesn't get any tougher than that."

The winning goal in Sunday's second game was scored by Beetle Boy, from a scramble to Pig Farming Goalie's left side. And while it may not have been an artistic success, it was remarkable that he scored it in a steady rain.
In his rookie season at the road hockey courts, Beetle Boy has secured his reputation as a fair-weather roadster
after scratching from all the rain games that had plagued the league through the Fall. There were even a few raised eyebrows when he reported for this week's game, despite a heavy overcast.
But when the skies opened up, Beetle Boy didn't scurry. Though that won't be enough to reverse his reputation, said the Living Legend, one of Sunday Morning Road Hockey's founding fathers, who's hardly living anymore, and rarely legendary.

While Beetle Boy happily celebrated his unlikely goal, Bird could only look on in frustration. The sophomore shooter with a knack for scoring from scrambles is mired in the worst slump of his young career, finding the net only once in Sunday's two games.
"Bird couldn't seem to fly today," said Pig Farming Goalie, who repeatedly denied the struggling sniper in the day's first match.
And as the goals dry up, the grip Bird has on his stick grows ever tighter.
"He shoots quickly, and often directly into you," said Pig Farming Goalie. "It makes your net feel smaller."
Bird's bad bounces are even affecting his teammates, said Ottoman.
"Guys are trying to make the perfect pass to Bird, right on his stick," said the rookie rearguard. "For Bird, you've got to get it to him chest-high so he can just swat it out of the air."
But Bird's no stranger to struggle. Afterall, he started his Sunday Morning career with five straight losses.
"Eventhough Bird's not scoring, he's a solid guy," said Paul One of his tormented teammate. "I don't think we can blame one guy for today's loss."

Bird's goal-scoring struggles could have ended in a hurry had he been lucky enough to line up with the Kid, New Guy and Wink, as that trio scored 15 of their team's 20 goals in Sunday's opener.
"I think it was just the fact we had three guys who could pass and really liked to pass the ball," said notorious gameshow host gone bad, Wink, of his generous linemates.
So much so, they scored five straight goals in the second period, denying the team's second line the chance to get on the court at all.
"We turned a 5-3 game into a 10-3 game just like that," said Wink. "There was no stopping us."

Sunday's game was the seventh renewal of the Shrimp Ring Bowl, a tradition started by Philderama when he treated the roadsters to a tray of the crunchy crustaceans to celebrate the first game of the new year. And he was on hand to keep the tradition going, making his first start of the season.
He also announced he would soon be expanding his franchise, with a new Philet expected to arrive in March.