Sunday, September 26, 2004

The Domination of a Lifetime
Team Foos-Booyah! Destroys Opponents to Claim Outright Victory

Not-so ESPN
Scott Hammelsmith, sports writer (via our friend Perk!)

The games were a domination. There is no other way to describe it. From out of nowhere arose a powerhouse the likes of the Yankees of the 50s. I've not seen such foot-work, such grace, such sheer will to rule the field in all my days.
You may think I'm biased. You may think I care for no other sport. You are wrong. I was highly skeptical before watching this game. Having covered many such tournaments in every field of sport, I did not think I would see anything worthy of my time this day.
I was wrong.
First there was right-footed Flipper. She came from nowhere, like her team, to give the opponents a pure thrashing. The first game she lay low, deceptively luring them into thinking that she only kicked away from the goal. I was truly concerned about the team captain's choice to place herself in the front line.
Boy, was I wrong. The second game was nothing short of humiliating. To the other team! Flipper scored not one but FOUR goals on the way to a victory that trounced the Pink 03s (what kind of name is that?) in a resounding thumping that sent the message pure and clear: Team Foos-Booyah! rules the courts. Flipper earned her right to bear the title Captain.
Joining the most impressive Flipper was Burb and Shirtless, no less inspiring with their abilities to wallop the defending goalies, to grind them down until they lay helpless a their feet. Joining Flipper for a combined total of 14 points (1 surprise goal by Spec, the amazing goalie, but more on that in a minute), they had to help scrape their opponents off the ground when the games finally ended. They ran, they dove, they kicked, they head-butted, they mastered the front line. They fought, they scored, they fought and scored again. They owned the goal! Only by their grace and skill and deference did they convince the crowd not to cut the goal posts down then and there in tribute to their abilities. Burb was like a cat, fast, quick, and sharp. And if Burb was a cat, then Shirtless was a wolf, powerful, daunting, biting, and unyielding.
Standing behind the front line at half-back was another amazing spectacle. First, the right wing. A player formally little known in the world of sports outside of golf, Alternate #3 played so athletically there are few words to describe him. With a vertical leap from a sitting position of more than 4 feet, he head-butted balls that were so high up the average human (like you and me) would need a telescope just to see them. And then there were his legs. Such foot-work. Such agility. Such a power to reach! It reminded me of those stretch-arm-strong toys I played with as a child that you could pull and bend and stretch in any direction, doubling, even tripling the length of the arms. He reached so well, controlled the ball so effectively, even Péle would have been proud. Indeed, alternate #3 seems a title far beneath him. I dub him "Stretch" as the only title to come close to his inborn elasticity and grace.
Joining Stretch at halfback were the three towers of power, the paragons of excellence, three players so united in their skill, so willing to give their all to stop the ball, so effective at blocking anything in their path, so awe-inspiring in their will to stop even the most determined opponent from allowing anything to pass through, that I dub them collectively the Dominators, the Triple Entente, the Halfbacks of Glory. Yes, I’m talking about Lulu, Dr. Actually, and Raisenette! They played so skillfully, so craftily, so effectively, that the only way the ball could get around them was by someone from the outside throwing it in behind them.
And that brings me full swing to the heroes of the game. Yes, all players are heroes on this team. To single any one player out would be foolish and useless, so effective are they in their combined will and might. But few players receive so little glory for their unabashedly excellent contributions as the goalies. For every time the ball comes their way, even the slightest mistake can make or break the game.
And yet, after all was said and done, the goalies allowed a mere 8 points. 8! When their team scored 15! Yes, you know to whom I refer. First, there is Spec. For the first time in history of human foosball, a goalie scored an unaided goal, from one goal line to the other! Not only this, but such fancy footwork, such cat-like agility--we expect that out of a Flipper or a Stretch, a Burb or a Lulu. Yes, the forward positions require such movements. But the goalies? Spec flew to the ball, intimidated the opposing front line so many times they begged him to grant them mercy, to please allow them at least the chance to see the ball before he crashed it into oblivion or sent it spinning mercilessly back to the front line. But, as any great man OR woman on the field would do, he merely, and humbly, towed the line, kept the ball moving, and sought not his own glory, but again and again gave it to his teammates. Like the others on his team, we at ESPN expect the numbers will only rise for this one.
Last of all was Perk. Indeed, so much praise has been granted this team, and rightfully so, you think it would be difficult to say something fresh and new about yet another player on Team Foos-Booyah! Not so, fans. Not so. Never before have we seen a player so willing to sacrifice body and posterity for his team. He dove, he slid through the grass, he flew like an angel, he kicked like a stallion. And he laid it all on the line, even the possibility of future generations was sacrificed for his team. But he worked not alone. So skillful, so powerful, yet so united. Like the yin and the yang, like two peas in a pod, he and Spec joined forces to create a wall of defense that practically nothing could get through. Spec was like a jaguar, sleek, fast, smooth. And if Spec was the jaguar, then Perk was a tiger. Vicious on the field, tough, strong, yet of like mind. Together they passed the ball, moved the ball, flipped the ball, and punted the ball. They did everything to that ball that could be done, and then did it again. And with only two on their tether, they had the largest field to cover, yet did they tire? Did they weaken? Did they falter?
Fans, the likes of such play may never be seen again. For those of you who saw it, remember it well. Glorious days are these when the likes of such players as joined forces on Team Foos-Booyah! are at the same time all on the same field at the same time. Anyone of them by right could claim first player on any team in any league. Yet together? We hate to think what salaries they could command were a comparable team fielded in the NFL or NHL or any other of those lesser, weaker-minded and weaker-bodied sports.
If you ever get the chance to see them, do it. Pay whatever price they offer (and it will be high, I assure you), and relish it as long as you can. You may never see the likes of such play again.

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