Rainstorm extinguishes hope for comeback
by Jay Suburb
A cold rainstorm drenched the courts Sunday and doused
any desire for a comeback, transforming a two-goal nailbiter into a
"It's like we packed it in for the last five goals,"
says Paul One of his side's late swoon. "I think we wanted to get
in out of the rain."
"I think we pretty much gave up," says notorious
gameshow host gone bad, Wink. "The rain really affected...the team
Until the showers hit about halfway through the game,
Paul One and his teammates had fought hard to stay close to their speedy
opponents. Tough defense and taking advantage of all their scoring opportunities
kept them within two goals of a team featuring two of the league's most
fearsome forwards, Lak Attack and Nibs, and the ever-dangerous Bird.
"Anytime you get Lak and Nibs on the same team, you
know it's going to be tough for the other team," says Beetle Boy.
"They were working pretty hard," says Nibs of
his outgunned opponents.
But then the rain hit, and the game slipped away.
"They just kinda slowed down a bit because it was
getting pretty slippery out there," says Nibs.
"It got slick and everybody seemed kinda worried
about turning an ankle or going hard into the boards," says Ottoman,
who made a triumphant return to the crease after being the odd goalie
out last week.
"You couldn't go anywhere except in a straight line,"
says Paul One. "You try to turn right, you try to turn left, or
you try to stop and you're blowing a tire."
As the underdogs struggled with the conditions, their
frustration escalated. Lazy checking and sloppy passes cost them dearly.
"The wrong guys were handling the ball, and we were
giving it up too much," says Wink, who had a close brush with the
fence post after his teammate, the Living Legend, stormed off the court
at the end of a particularly difficult shift. "It was like we were
confused over who was on which team because we kept making passes to
the other side."
"That's what happens when you cough up the ball,"
says Paul One.
And their opponents were only too happy to take advantage,
romping to the easy victory.
"Our guys just kinda kept the pressure up,"
"When you start to sense they're going downhill,
you think, okay, we can finish them off," says Beetle Boy.
Sunday's squall caught Beetle Boy by surprise, as he's forged a reputation
in his rookie season as a fair-weather roadster, playing only when the
sun shines. But, he discovered, the foul conditions may actually work
to his advantage.
"I'm not the fastest guy out there to begin with, and the rain slows
everybody else down so it maybe gives me a better chance," said the
Ottoman played one of his strongest games of the season after riding
the pines last week because of an unexpected goalie surplus. And, he said,
he earned his win partly because of that rest.
"I got to watch the game from a different perspective and see how
guys worked, and who worked well together," said Ottoman, who made
a number of key saves to maintain his side's margin.
And with more goaltenders available than creases to guard, he said it
was important to come back with a big effort.
"You wanna perform well, you wanna make sure the guys have confidence
That's exactly what happened, said Beetle Boy. "A good goalie keeps
you in the game. He allows you to take a few more chances because you're
not worried that everytime you give up the ball, you're going to give
up a goal."
At the other end of the court, Lobsterboy suffered his first defeat
in his second game back from his two-month hiatus to spend time with his
young family. But, said his mates, he wasn't to blame.
"The team just didn't seem to be into it," said Paul One.
"We made (the other side) look better than they really were,"
said Wink. "We weren't able to do anything. We just had bad chemistry."
"I don't think they had one player who kinda picked the team up and
led them," said Ottoman, of his bewildered opponents. "Everyone
was kinda waiting for someone else to step it up."
Bird recaptured his offensive touch Sunday, with a handful of goals.
For his own team.
Last week the snakebit scorer helped his opponents when he knocked two
goals into his own net. This week the ball bounced off him again, past
the other side's goalie.
But that still didn't win him the respect and admiration of defenders,
who've been repeatedly burned by Bird's knack as an opportunist.
"It's pretty frustrating," said Wink. "He doesn't even
need a stick. He could just go out there and let goals bounce in off him.
He's like a great big bumper from a pinball machine."