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Lobsterboy manages a wan smile despite a steady downpour that kept attendance at the slippery road hockey courts to the minimum required for an official game.

 


Week 28
Rainy returns

Slick surface sets up comebacks

by Jay Suburb

It was the best of times, on the worst of days. And for a pair of lapsed roadsters, it was the perfect opportunity to ease their way into comebacks.

Ottoman and the Colonel took advantage of the driving downpour that kept attendance down, but spirits up, to lead their team to a 25-21 comeback win.

With only eight players braving the foul conditions, and no substitutes to spell off tired legs, nobody was prepared to take the game too seriously. And with the pressure off, the returning roadsters could relax and find their game legs.

"It makes it easier to step back in a game like this," says Ottoman, who hadn't played for two months. "It's kind of like a scrimmage or something, like pond hockey. Sure, everyone wants to win, but they're just having a good time out there."

"I haven't played in a long time, so coming in today is good," says the Colonel, who had been sidelined by injury and travel since the Shrimp Ring Bowl. "It was probably the easiest for me to be out there out of everybody. There's not a whole lot of pressure out there."

"We're just playing for the enjoyment of the game," says Lobsterboy, who defied his detractors who had recently been questioning his commitment to the game by making his second straight start.

But as the shelled shotstopper and his soggy mates discovered, a little too much fun can spoil the party.

After jumping out to a quick lead, largely on the strength of Kid's persistence in the offensive zone, and Bird's knack for knocking unlikely passes out of midair, the freewheeling upstarts seemed well on their way. They started to goof off, making the extra pass, sliding on the slick concrete to make defensive plays instead of properly taking the man. That is, when they bothered with defense at all.

"We just took it too lightheartedly," says Lobsterboy. "We were winning and we were trying some new things. You saw Unabomber taking the ball and moving it up, you saw Bird winding up with his big shot from the point. It was more like practice."

"The other team really did burn themselves out in the first half," says Ottoman. "They were trying to run around, Kid was sliding around all over the place, and I think they just really wore themselves out."

Up 15-14 heading into the final period, the upstarts stopped playing and allowed six straight goals. They never recovered.

"The other team seemed to be weighted down by the rain and their soggy gear," says the Colonel. "They stopped moving, and our slowness caught up to theirs."

"Our team played a really steady game," says Ottoman. "We started out kinda slow, but we stuck to the gameplan, everyone played their role and pulled it together."

The Stick Pull (Living Legend)
Ottoman (G) Lobsterboy (G)
Nibs Unabomber
Colonel Kid
Living Legend Bird
Scratches: Slick (legal problems), Cowboy Bill (unsanctioned baseball), Wink (exploitative employer), Giebelhaus (exploitative employer), Paul One (unsanctioned activity), Pig Farming Goalie (exploitative employer), Beetle Boy (weather woes), New Guy (exploitative employer), Elvis (weather woes), Billy Idol (weather woes), Gump (exploitative employer), Lak Attack (unsanctioned activity)

 

While Sunday's rainstorm, sparse turnout and lazy atmosphere may have been ideal for a couple of lapsed roadsters looking to recapture their game legs, they also may have given them false hope.
Both the Colonel and Ottoman struggled early. The feisty forward didn't score until the game was almost half over, while the sophomore shotstopper battled the ball whenever it rolled around his feet, giving up a number of goals to lazy rebounds.
"Today is not a good game for us to judge, it's a warm-up," said Lobsterboy.
"If it's a beautiful weekend, it's going to be a lot, lot harder."
"Everyone is taking it easy," conceded Ottoman. "You see a lot more odd-man rushes. It's kinda like pond hockey."

Another roadster who benefited from the soggy pace was the Living Legend, who accounted for nearly half his team's offense, including the game-winner on a wraparound that caught Lobsterboy out of position.
"Hats off to the Legend," said Lobsterboy of his longtime nemesis. "His famous shot from the corner was a good one, and his backhand breakaway, that was a really classic goal."
"The Legend's mojo got us going," said the Colonel.

Sunday's sparse turnout was disappointing for the players who braved the storm. Especially as rain games have been more the norm during this soggy season, and most roadsters have rarely flinched. A game two weeks ago, in similarly challenging conditions, attracted almost two full lines of players for each team.
"It's a wet day, a rainy day; it's good to see the committed guys out," said the Colonel, who cast aside his trepidation when the first drops started to fall as he departed for the hockey courts.
"It was miserable, my shoes are full of water," said Lobsterboy. "But it's great to come out. I think it's just the joy of the game."

Although notorious gameshow host gone bad, Wink, was officially listed as a scratch, he did take the pre-game warm-up before departing to service the onerous demands of exploitative employer.