Ghostbusters vs. Lightning Donkies
"My only feeling about superstition is that it's unlucky to be behind at the end of the game." ~Duffy Daugherty
The Lightning Donkies walked onto the court more sacrificial lambs than lions. Their daunting task; defeat a team on a 22 game winning streak; a team that hadn't lost a game in two consecutive seasons; a team that inspired fear in every team they had played. The Donkies were overmatched in every way. Their opponents were bigger, stronger, and faster. Their team was the ultimate in consistency, having maintained virtually the same team across two seasons. Lightning Captain Mike Miller tilted his head to the heavens and prayed for a miracle.
At the beginning there was a glimmer of hope. Sure they were the underdog, but don't we all root for the underdog? Things like this happen in sports. These underdogs carve out a special place in both our hearts and our history. The 1980 U.S. Men's Hockey Team wins the gold against the Soviets. Buster Douglas beats Mike Tyson for the Heavyweight Championship. Villanova defeats Georgetown in 1984 for the NCAA Championship. Rulon Gardner defeats Alexander Karelin. The 2008 New York Giants beat an undefeated New England Patriots team for the Super Bowl. That is the mystery about sport. That is why we play the game.
And as the Donkies took the floor that night, they hoped to invoke the spirits of those upsets and give the history books another upset story to tell. They prayed that on this night despite the records, despite their ability, despite the odds against them, that this would be their night.
Wrong. If the question was about their chances, the answer that the Ghostbusters gave them was, "Not tonight." The Ghostbusters continued their path of demolition and laid waste to a Donkies team that served as a speed bump as the Ghostbusters cruises to the second consecutive championship game. A one sided contest, the Ghostbusters needed just ten games to euthanize these Donkies.
Results: Ghostbusters over Lightning Donkies
Vicious and Delicious vs. Terror Squad
"We didn't lose the game; we just ran out of time." ~ Vince Lombardi
If the first game was a sprint, then this was a marathon. On both sides of the tape were teams who not only felt they belonged here, but that they were destined to win it all. These teams knew each other well, with the season series split 1-1. This was to be their dénouement. Their time was now.
Like Frazier/Ali, this was a bona fide "Thrilla". On one side the #2 seed Vicious and Delicious, clad in Pink brandishing their color like a poison dart frog flashing its colors to warn others of its presence. Returning to action from a week off bye, these warriors had shown up to battle.
On the opposite side of the gym, a Terror Squad dressed in their traditional grey, a blue collar color invoking a sense of dedication and showing up to work. No flash no frills, the men and women donned their ashen garb packed their lunch and showed up to do some work. There was a steeled look in their eyes; equal parts determination and rage.
As the brawl for it all started the two teams traded blows. With each advantage, the other team balanced the box by returning the favor the next match knotting up the scoreboard. These were two teams so evenly matched that neither had the advantage. This one would come down to that greatest of human attributes; heart.
While the Terror Squad dominated the men's games at the start, the Vicious and Delicious Ladies answered the call each time leaving the teams tied at the first court change.
As the teams passed each other the tension was evident. The Terror Squad had a look of intensity. They realized the magnitude of the fight they were in. This was going to come down to who flinched first. They would have to step up their game, make the catches and dominate the floor to walk out hand raised at the end.
Team Vicious and Delicious had a lighter air about them. While the pressure of the situation seemed heavy on the shoulders of their opponents, this team carried it much lighter. Perhaps it was their intention to keep it light, but with each game whether win or lose; there was no sense of alarm, just one of greater resolution.
As these two heavyweights entered the later rounds if what would be a 16 round match, each looked to gain the advantage. The first knee to the canvas came from the Pink Squad. Having survived the early onslaught, team Vicious seemed to be caught off guard dropping a few games in a row.
Faced with the consequences, this Vicious group showed their tenacity and resolve pushing back from the virtual brink of elimination before deciding to let it all hang out. With each game that snuck away from the Terror Squad a sense of frustration started to set in. Usually reserved players began to open their mouths. This was not the time to hold back. Each team faces the fact that with the loss, their season would end one game away from what they wanted most; a championship.
Beaten down at the start but rebounding to take the lead, a Vicious Team poured out its heart and laid its guts on the table. This was a make or break game. With 15 matches under their belt both squads were tired. But tired never worked as an excuse before, and it would not work today. Each team understood the consequences of game 16. With a Terror Squad win, they force a one game overtime to decide. With a Vicious and Delicious victory, they carry the #1 contender status into the Championship.
The other game having ended, there was now a crowd gathered on the sidelines to witness this battle. After game recounts would retell the story of a game so intense it reached out and pulled the observers directly into it. Within each person a silent part of them cheered for their side. People, who a week ago were opponents, now pulled and cheered for these two warrior teams comprehending probably more than the players on the courts what the ramifications were for this match. They had suffered their dismissal, and now in front of them were two teams deciding their own fate.
As the final ball was caught, one only needed to look at the eyes of the players to know the results. For the defeated team the situation was as grey as their shirts. The fogginess of the reaction was one of disbelief, like watching an accident unfold in front of your eyes. Time seems to slow down. And while the brain struggles to comprehend what has happened, a look of confusion tempered with acceptance causes a stoic glare; disbelief metered with a dash of shock.
For the winners, the team unites and the eyes tell the story of everything they had been through. Alternating thrill and excitement with each blink, they lock with teammates each sharing in the hysterical joy of the situation. Their faces turn as pink as the shirts they wear. A season of camaraderie and effort has resulted in this moment; the moment of victory.
Result: Vicious and Delicious over Terror Squad
Ghostbusters vs. Vicious and Delicious
“The breakfast of champions is not cereal, it's the opposition.”
- Nick Seitz
“The essence of sports is that while you're doing it, nothing else matters, but after you stop, there is a place, generally not very important, where you would put it.” -Roger Bannister
As each team entered the court, the clock reminded everyone of the time. It was late. Each team had already played one match, now a second determined the season. Arms burned from throwing. Anxiety bred with expectation and the result was butterflies in the abdomen of every player.
On the Blue side rode more than a Championship. An undefeated season, a record of perfection weighed on them as well. Being the returning champ carried with it the ago old omen, "Winning one is easy, winning another consecutively is hard."
For the team in Pink their energy might have been spent, but heart had kicked in where will began to fail. Having survived a war the previous match to earn their spot in the Championship, their job was simple; cut and dry in fact. Win or go home. This season showed that had earned their place, and now they were just 9 games away from ascending to the top of the podium.
On both sides if the ball, there was a sense of esteemed respect. The Champs realized that this was a team that had scrapped their way to the finals; they were not going to lie down without a fight. The challengers knew their opponents well. Their previous match-up hadn't gone their way, but they were in that fight. Having pushed through the last round it seemed that this was their time. They were feeling strong and confident tempered with the knowledge and respect of what and who they faced.
As the match was recorded in the annals of Dodgeball History, there are differing accounts of how it ended. Like the Spartan 300 facing the Persian army in Greek history, this was a game where the winner could be in the eyes of the storyteller. For some the contest was never in dispute.
The Champs brought their top game that day. Bystanders will tell the tale of how for a time, the two teams were deadlocked. But the outcome seemed predetermined. The pendulum of fate swung to both sides of the court, with laser like throws and miraculous catches accenting each side’s skills and talents. Be they female or male, the focus and the determination of each squad was worn on the face of each player on the court for all to see.
Though the final ball dropped to the ground and the match was over, there was no loser on this day. Though the Ghostbusters would prove victorious, team Vicious and Delicious could hold their head high knowing they had pushed the Champs to the brink.
One can only be as good as one's competition. Both teams met afterwards and congratulated each other on a great season, and though the Ghostbusters had won and defended their title, Vicious and Delicious had ensured that when takes were told of this game, their names would be remembered as well.
Season 2 Dodgeball Champions: The Ghostbusters
The SJSL would just like to congratulate all the people who participated in Dodgeball Season two. Simply showing up and putting forth the effort on a weekly basis, playing as a team, making new friends, making time in your schedule to do something unconventional and perhaps a bit daring makes all of you a winner in the truest sense of the word. I hope you all had as much fun as we did playing this season and we look forward to you playing with us in upcoming seasons and sports.
One final quote to end the season:
"I asked a ref if he could give me a technical foul for thinking bad things about him. He said, of course not. I said, well, I think you stink. And he gave me a technical. You can't trust 'em." -Jim Valvano