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Week Seven Viewers Guide

Viewers Guide to Week 7

Assuming time and distance aren’t factors in travel this would be the perfect Sunday, July 15th for a KVKL fanatic.

5:00-5:30
Kanas Tree Care (6-0) @ Goesers Good Neighbors (5-1)
YSC 1 – 5:00pm
Kansas Tree Care was put on notice last week by Lawrence Shirt Factory, no matter how many great athletes you collect in the offseason, you still have to come out and prove it on the field.  A stirring walkoff win over The Shirt’s ought to compel them to come out guns blazing this weekend, while Goeser’s should be trying to land an early blow and get KTC on their heels. If Goeser can score a few early runs, they have a chance to swing the upset.  I don’t see it happening. 

KTC – 14
Goesers – 8 

5:30-5:45
ReBoot X (3-3) @ Jazzhaus (3-3)
YSC 2 – 5:00pm
Depending on what happens with Johnny’s, this game could very well determine who wins the #4’s. Both teams had solid wins last week, particularly Jazz which dropped a 30-spot on Ghosts, nearly doubling their runs scored on the entire season in one game. Two young athletic teams, this will come down to whichever team plays more fundamental defense. 

Reboot X – 15
Jazzhaus – 14  

5:45-6:30
Lawrence Shirt Factory (5-1) @ Jackpot! (6-0)
Lyons West – 5:00pm
Both of these teams played 11-10 games last week, Jackpot pulling out a win while Lawrence Shirt Factory suffered a tough loss.  The Shirt’s are looking to avoid starting out 0-2 in their pool, which would make getting a top three seed a tall task, while Jackpot! is aiming for their third win in a row against Happy Shirt. I’m going to assume no team has ever had a three game winning streak against The Shirt’s, this would truly be historic. It’s gonna be a slugfest, but Tyler and the squad are due to get one.  

Lawrence Shirt Factory – 9
Jackpot! – 7 

7:00-7:15
Pawsh Wash (3-3) @ Ladybird Harpies  (4-2)
YSC 1 – 7:00pm
Watching the top of the order for the Harpies, it’s not hard to squint and see the base of a future champion, they’re that fast. However, to be a really good team you have to play solid defense, and Ladybird is still in the mode of outscoring everyone.  Pawsh is a solid KVKL team, but if Ladybird wants to show they are for real, they need to come out and win this game by double digits. The first 15 minutes of gameplay will go a long way in determining if they will or not. 

Ladybird – 16 
Pawsh – 9

7:15-7:30
Woost (3-3*) vs. Muddy Waters (4-2) 
YSC 2 – 7:00pm
Due to an unfortunate forfeit, Woost is probably not going to end up taking the threes, but that doesn’t diminish the incredibly solid start they’ve had to their season.  Playing a fun brand of kickball, they are actually 4-2 and have a chance to spring a major upset against what could be a depleted Muddy Waters team. Muddy probably has more talent top to bottom, it just depends who shows up, as well as how Woost responds to their lineup snafu. 

Muddy – 13
Woost – 7  

7:30-7:40
Free State Growlers (3-3) vs. Corksuckers (3-3) 
Holcom Right – 7:00pm 
This game will probably decide who wins the #5’s. While Corksuckers has been a bit more impressive on paper, the Growlers have the best win on the season between the two, having beaten Pawsh Wash.  Free State is on a three game winning streak, and since allowing an unsightly 46 runs in their first two games, they’ve settled in allowed only 20 since.  These two teams have quite a fun rivalry, expect another exciting chapter.

Free State – 12 
Cork – 8 

7:40-8:10
John Denver (5-1) vs. Red Lyon (5-1) 
Lyons West – 7:00pm 
John Denver put up a masterful performance last week, allowing Pawsh Wash’s first batter of the game the score, and then pitching a shutout after that.  27 outs in a row without allowing a run is a hell of a feat, hats off to you guys and gals.  Red Lyon continued their mastery over the Red Legs, only allowing them to score in one inning.  Based on those numbers, this shapes up to be a defensive battle, where one crucial error will likely swing the game.  I say that Red Lyon is less likely to make that error. 

Red Lyon – 7
JDE – 5  

8:10-8:30 
Hurtz Donut D-Holes (5-1) vs. Red Legs (4-2) 
Hobbs – 7:00pm 
D-Holes pulled out a thrilling win last week against the Harpies, scoring runs in every inning except one and coming back from an early 8-4 deficit to win 13-12.  The Red Legs couldn’t get the boots working against Lyon, and they’ll certainly have to change that if they plan to keep up with the D-Holes consistent offensive attack. I think the Donuts continue their ascent to a top seven team with another W here. 

D-Holes – 10 
Red Legs- 7

9:00-10:30 
Love Garden Squids (5-1) vs. Chalmersiz (6-0) 
Hobbs – 9:00pm 
We’ve had exactly one game Game of the Week that has been decided by single digits, but barring some crazy shit, that is sure to change this week. This will be a great matchup of contrasting styles, with the offensive minding Squids ready to take on the more defensive Chalmers.  I usually opt for the defensive squad in these types of matchups, by Love Garden has played in a number of big games over the past few years, while this will be Chalmersiz biggest in quite some time.  

Love Garden – 12 
Chalmersiz – 10 

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2018 Rank Play Preview

2018 KVKL Rank Play Preview:

#1 Seeds

  1. KTC
    KTC already had one of the best collections of talent in KVKL history, then they added the premier lady in the league (Angela Finch) to the mix and have been the odds on favorite to win the title ever since. Elite athleticism combined with veteran kickball instincts make it hard to imagine this team losing a game, even against the best teams in the league, but then again the regular season has never been the problem for Kansas Tree Care…
  1. Jackpot!
    Reigning champions and masters of Hate Fuck Kickball™ deserve more respect than getting slotted in at #2, but that’s how good KTC is. Not to be outdone by their nemesis, Jackpot also picked up a top 5 lady (Sarah Riley) this offseason, furthering the arms race that is the #1 seeds. Some of the best veteran leaders (love ‘em or hate ‘em) in the league play of this team and keep them laser focused, even against lesser competition, so you know they are bringing their A+ game every single week during rank play.  KTC vs. Jackpot will unfortunately not be a GOTW, but damn if I’m not gonna do everything in my power to watch that finals rematch/preview. Shoutout to the homie CJ, you’re alllllll sick at hosting podcasts, 505 Por Vida!
  1. Lawrence Shirt Factory
    There has been a lot of talk about how stingy KTC’s defense is, but KVKL legends Lawrence Shirt Factory have given up only 6 runs in pool play, and are looking to regain their crown after a semi-final loss to Jackpot last year. Steady as ever, a lot of Happy Shirt’s season could come down to Chris Ford getting eligible and showing up for playoff games, he’s a game changer that they will need against the other elite teams in the league.
  2. Love Garden Squids
    Love Garden made a statement last year in the #1’s beating Wildman, Shirt Factory, and Goeser’s, showing that they truly are one of the best teams in KVKL. Their performance in pool play has done nothing to change that thought, as they gone scorched earth on the Kelly Corcoran division, outscoring their opponents 141-36, and never really being tested. The defense hasn’t been as solid as some of the other #1’s, but the offense has been clicking on all cylinders. The completion bumps up significantly, but Love Garden is out to prove that last seasons Final Four run was no fluke.
  3. The Salvador Pereziz presents The Mario Chalmersiz
    In their last 35 regular season games (2015-present) Chalmersiz is a mind boggling 32-3, with one loss each in ’15,’16, and ’17.  Equally astounding is that with a record like that, they have been in the #1 seeds exactly zero times.  After having feasted on the #2’s and #3’s for years, Chalmersiz finally broke through and will be facing top flight competition for five straight weeks. They will almost certainly not have a sparkling 9-1 record heading into the tournament again, but will be much more battle tested and ready to make a run at The Cup.
  4. Goesers Good Neighbors 
    Talk your shit Bryson! The man with the biggest mouth in KVKL came into the season boasting about his squad being a contender for The Cup, and up until this point he has been nothing but right. However, the real work starts now.  A solid 2-3 showing in the #1’s last year proves that they can hang here, but someone has to finish #6, and unfortunately for the Good Neighbors, they’re the pick.  (Feel free to throw out some shade on the next podcast, I know it’s coming)

#2 Seeds

  1. Red Lyon
    Red Lyon was destined for the #2 pool as soon as the divisions were announced, as they are consistently an upper echelon team, but utterly incapable of beating Lawrence Shirt Factory (just like most teams in the league). Their magical back-to-back runs to the championship game are starting to feel further away, and they have settled into the 6-10 range. That being said, they seem to match up well with everyone in the #2’s, and still have the athleticism to beat back some of the younger up-and-coming squads. Always be on the lookout for Lyon come tournament time, they’re a threat to spring an upset or two.  Shoutout to the Homie Nick Lerner, 505 Por Vida!
     
  2. Red Legs
    I’m never quite sure what to make of the Red Legs, they seem to have all the pieces in place to be a top team, but then they’ll have a performance like Week 2 where they only beat Corksuckers 4-3.  I was on their bandwagon since day one, and I still think they have the talent to make a jump and win the #2’s and be a top six seed in the tournament, but that might be their ceiling.
  1. D-Holes
    The D-Holes are a consistently consistent KVKL team, always with enough talent and moxie to beat the teams that they should, but never quite able to get over the hump and make the leap into the #1’s.  Obviously KTC put a beating on them during GOTW, but KTC does that to most teams so I don’t hold it against D-Holes too much. I’m not sure what the missing ingredient is for the D-Holes, but unless they find it they are destined for another run at the Twain, when I’m sure their sights are set higher.
  2. Ladybird
    Ladybird has been the feel good story of KVKL for a few years now, rising from the absolute bottom of the league all the way up to the #2’s.  That being said, it’s time to see what they can do against the big boys. I was able to catch a few innings of their game against the Ghosts and they have all the speed/athleticism/talent you can ask for, but at times it seems like something is off.  Personally, I think they have too many players.  With 17-20 people on the team, it’s hard for anyone to get into a rhythm, and when it comes to tournament time, do they have a rock solid defensive 10 that can get a shut down inning when needed? The Twain is a realistic goal for Ladybird, but they’ll have to make some tough calls on playing time if they want to achieve that.
  3. John Denver Experience
    JDE has shown some solid defensive chops the first five weeks of the season, only giving up 23 runs so far, but they’ll need to get the boots working if they’re gonna make some noise in the #2’s.  Since KVKL switched to the Five Division/Five Rank Play model in 2016, JDE has yet to win more than two games in rank play.  I’m confident they will beat Pawsh Wash, but they’re probably underdogs in every other game on the schedule.
      
  4. Pawsh Wash
    Pawsh Wash is a solid kickball team with some excellent KVKL talent, but they might be punching above their weight class in the #2’s. That being said, they were a #4 in ’16 and won the #3’s last year so this seems like a natural progression for them.  They are entering the #2’s with no expectations, so pulling off an upset or two will make their season an unmitigated success.  Let’s just try and keep the Dikembe Mutombo finger wagging to a minimum, ok? 

#3 Seeds 

  1. Muddy Waters
    There seems to be a team every few years that falls into the #3’s and just lays waste to the entire division, and on paper Muddy certainly seems to fit the bill.  An absence aided loss to Ladybird sent this team tumbling down the standings, and anything less than a 5-0 record here will be a disappointment. Caught a few innings of their game against Jackpot a few weeks ago and saw a fresh alignment, four players patrolling the outfield, including two ladies.  I’m all for new defensive formations, keep up the innovation Muddy, that was fun to watch!
  2. Rats
    The Rat’s were picked to be in the #4’s by most KVKL prognosticators before the season started, but a big upset win over Johnny’s in week four vaulted them to the #3’s, their highest placement in franchise history. However they shouldn’t have a happy-to-be-here attitude, as they have the ability to make some noise and finish with a top 15 seed come tournament time.  They have a solid core of veterans and should have their targets set firmly on The Twain.
  3. Los Matadores
    I wanted to rank Los Mat’s #2, but they still seem to have problems with fielding a full team (maybe they could acquire a few Harpies in the offseason?). Without consistent attendance, they will suffer a loss to a team that they probably shouldn’t lose to, but alas, that’s the life of Los Matadore’s. Goeser Bryson is firmly on Los Mat’s bandwagon, and that’s enough of an endorsement for me to place them in the top half of the #3’s.
  4. Woost
    The Woost has some of my favorite players in all of KVKL and are always a blast to play against (even when they have their music turned Up To Eleven and opposing fielders can’t hear each other call a ball in the outfield). They emerged from the four team scrum in the middle of the the Kelly Corcoran division with a with a couple of hard fought victories (9-8 over Free State: 8-6 over Reboot X) and now have to kick it up a notch to hang in the #3’s. I can see them finishing anywhere from second to fifth, depending on their ability to keep pulling out close victories.
      
  5. Kicking Assets
    Kicking Assets has been on a hell of a tear since week 6 of last year, sweeping the #6’s and running all the way to The Plate and following it up with an impressive first five weeks in 2018 (34-3 ass beating to Lawrence Shirt Factory aside). Jumping from the #6’s to the #3’s is no joke, and they’ll have to bring their A-game every week, but I think the improvement is real, and this is a team to watch out for in the coming years.
  6. Drop Stoppers
    The Drop Stoppers got their signature win of the season in week one, beating the Corksuckers 7-4.  They finished as the #3 due to winning the tiebreakers, and their reward is playing a tough slate of teams for the next five weeks.  In the long run it will make them better, when they look down in the standings and see fellow James Naismith division members Bunt-N-Grind and Corksuckers stringing together wins, they might think “what could’ve been?” 

#4 Seeds 

  1. Johnny’s
    Being placed in the #4’s can only be viewed as a disappointment for Johnny’s Bravo.  Thus far this season they’ve only beaten The Homies and The Late Fees, not exactly building on last seasons solid performance, which included sweeping the #4’s. I reffed their 18-16 loss to the D-Holes and saw a team with the athleticism and legs to hang with a top 10 squad, not sure what has happened since then, but they need to put together a few impressive performances to get the momentum headed back in the right direction. I’m betting they can do it.
  2. ReBoot X
    ReBoot could’ve easily finished in the #2’s, only a couple of close losses (to Pawsh by 4, and Woost by 2) knocked them down to the #4’s.  Thomas has quietly done a good job rebuilding on the fly, and they certainly kicked the shit out of my team in week two.  They’re going to surprise some people in the #4’s and are primed to make a run at The Diana Plate.
  3. Jazzhaus
    Rick has done a solid job of rebuilding Jazzhaus, as they were one close loss (15-13 to Kicking Assets) away from being in the #3’s. The athleticism is there, let’s see if they can make good decisions on defense and cut down on their errors. Last year was the first time they’ve finished .500 or above in quite some time, now it’s time to make it two in a row.
  4. Repetition
    Shoutout to Repetition and Rockets for giving us a great game of the week, there’s nothing like watching two evenly matched teams trading punches on a Sunday night at Hobbs Park! I was the head ref, and both teams were incredibly cool despite some close calls, so hats off to both of you.  Repetition is a great story, they entered the league in 2016 and took their lumps, got much better in ’17, and are now already a player in the Free Agent market, snagging a few players from other teams this offseason.  Obviously the #4’s will be a challenge, after never playing above the #6’s, but what I saw on Sunday gives me hope they will sneak out a few W’s.
  1. Ghosts
    The Ghosts beat the teams they are supposed to beat, but rarely jump up and upset a team that’s better than them on paper.  Their victory over AsteroidHEAD this season was impressive after some of the offensive prowess that A-head has shown off in previous seasons, but not a true upset.  Katie, Diana, Mike and the gang will probably end up with two wins in the #4’s. 
  1. Bunt N Grind
    BnG eked one out against the Drop Stoppers this week to keep themselves out of the #5’s, where they have been the past two seasons.  They’ve won three games in rank play the past two seasons, but I think that streak comes to an end as the competition gets bumped up.  Sorry, I haven’t see you guys play yet this year and just don’t know much about your team, prove me wrong! 

#5 Seeds 

  1. Free State Growlers
    The Growlers have had a precipitous fall since they finished in the #1 seeds in ’16, but a convincing win over Pawsh Wash last week has to make Free State feel a bit better.  Had they beaten Woost (one run loss in week 3) they would’ve ended up in the #2’s, but as it stands now they have a chance to get their confidence back in the #5’s.  Anything other than a first place finish in this division will be viewed as a disappointment.
     
  2. Corksuckers
    Also a victim of bad tiebreaker luck, the Corksuckers probably never thought they would end up in the #5’s this year, especially after only losing to Red Legs by one in week two. They’ve played the best teams in their division extremely well, only losing to Chalmersiz by five this week, and more impressively they put up eight runs against them. This veteran team has the ability to hang with anyone.
  3. AsteroidHEAD
    AsteroidHEAD is the most consistently inconsistent team in all of KVKL. They go toe-to-toe with Ladybird in the early contender for game of the year, falling 23-22, and then a few weeks later they show up completely flat against the Ghosts and get beaten.  They can easily beat any team in the #5’s, but they also have virtually no chance of going 5-0 because they don’t bring it every week.
  4. LuckyBerry
    I’m not sure what to think about LuckyBerry, their only win of the year was in a game where no bunting was allowed, they lost to Repetition on a walkoff, but then played Goeser’s relatively close this past week.  Perhaps its’s a sign that the talent is starting the jell, but until they win a game played with traditional KVKL rules, it’s hard to rank them higher than fourth.
     
  5. Nick Lerner’s Homies
    The Homies have the worst defense of any team not in the #6’s, having given up an astounding 95 runs through five games.  For them to have a chance to win anything in the #5’s they are going to have to improve that dramatically.  The good news is they can score some runs too, putting up 12 against a decent Johnny’s defense last week.  Cougar, you of all people know that defense is what wins in KVKL!
     
  6. Screamers
    For the Screamers, offense has been the problem, only putting up 13 runs through five games.  They played Jazzhaus close in week three and then beat Sacred S-word in week four, but they’re going to have to significantly improve their offensive output if they have hopes of winning anything in rank play. 

#6 Seeds

  1. Rockets
    REPOSTED FROM ABOVE – Shoutout to Repetition and Rockets for giving us a great game of the week, there’s nothing like watching two evenly matched teams trading punches on a Sunday night at Hobbs Park! I was the head ref, and both teams were incredibly cool despite some close calls, so hats off to both of you.  Rockets play a fun brand of kickball, and they should cruise to a 5-0 record in the #6’s and pad some stats.
  2. Liberty Hall Late Fees
    The most fun team in the KVKL has already given up a mind boggling 134 runs (nearly 27/game).  Obviously that number will come down now that they are playing a similar level of competition, but my goodness that’s a wild stat. All that being said, I’ve got them primed to win three games in the #6’s.
     
  3. Brewballers
    Picking the middle of the pack in the #6’s is a fools errand, I have no idea how 2-5 is going to shake out, so I gotta go with my beer brethren as the pick here.
     
  4. Sacred Sword
    Sacred S-Word is playing acceptable defense, but the offense has only produced eleven runs in five weeks, so they’ll need to get the boots working to make an impact here.
  5. Leafy Greens
    One of the most memorable individual performances of all time at week one GOTW from Khaki Shorts dude aside (he seriously checked his phone while in the field during GOTW??), the Leafy Greens haven’t done too much this season.  Jordan is solid out in LF, it’s too bad he can’t play all three OF spots.
     
  6. Grandstand
    C’mon Grandstand, get a W!

Movie Poster Monday, pt. 2b; or, Second Fiddler on the Roof

People say not to live in the past. To which I say, “The past was fun as hell.” Of course the present is amazing, and the future unsure and uninsured, but here we are, forever in the present, the now, the moment—until we’re not.

Ah, just kidding. I won’t do another deeply dark Sundays in the Shade post. But here I am, listening to Metallica’s Fixxxer,” and the thought comes to me: “When was the first time I heard this song?” And it makes me wonder—What other firsts do/can I really remember?

I have an entire playlist dedicated to the first song that I heard of most every band I listen to regularly. (A work in progress.)

firsts

SEE?

And I remember the first CD I ever owned: . . . And Justice for All by Metallica. And the first song I played completely on drums (“Cantspeak” by Danzig), and on guitar (“To Live Is To Die” by Metallica), and on bass (“Money” by Pink Floyd), and on melodica (“This Guy’s In Love With You” by Burt Bacharach).

And my first memory was being carted down the hallways of a nondescript hospital hallway with green walls with my parents by my side. My first drink—a Jack & Coke at Henry’s at the ripe old age of 23. My first car was a shitty ’86 Chrysler LeBaron and the first time I drove was at 9 years old in an white Honda Vista. (It later died and the joke among my family stemmed from the old restaurant Vista on 6th St., a burger joint that had the appropriate slogan, “Make the Vista Run!” It never ran again.)

I remember the first KVKL game I ever played in. It was against the old Creation Station team in 2010, pre-Game of the Week, and I pitched. We (Wildman) won, handily, like, 32-2.

Yet, for the life of me, after all these other (relatively) insignificant firsts, I cannot remember my first pitch, or first kick, or first out—anything. Maybe because, at the time, it didn’t seem like it would have as much of an impact on my life as it has. Hell, I remember the first week of dodgeball, and it was only a couple months prior to my first KVKL game. And I remember my first memory in life more clearly. (It was more of a nightmare.) I recall meeting everyone on that team for the first time—even the people who barely played again—which says something of the lasting memory of interaction as opposed to action—but the storied firsts of that first game have since been forgotten (maybe for the best).

So I wonder, further, since we have players who’ve been in this league way longer: What are some of your first memories? Be it the plays you made, the people you met, the games you played—any of it.

In that regard, [one of] the first music videos I recall seeing (that wasn’t Faith No More’s “Epic”), that had a lasting impact, was Metallica’s “One.” Inspired by Dalton Trumbo’s novel Johnny Got His Gun (and the film that eventually followed), it’s the inspiration for this week’s (second) Movie Poster Monday: Johnny’s vs. Corksuckers.

johnnysgothisgun

NO CAPTION NECESSARY

gg johnny’s.

Movie Poster Monday, Pt. 2a; or, The Six Million Dollar . . .

My first memory of Simon Skinner was about 7 1/2 years ago, before I’d ever played a kickball game, and before I even really gave a shit about kickball. I was a member of the Goats’ dodgeball team—during the Bleeding Kansas Dodgeball League’s inaugural year—and, for what I can only believe was conspiratorial, he reffed effectively literally every single game of ours.

And I loathed him. Much like, as I recall, he loathed me.

We both played on competitive teams replete with aggressive and argumentative athletes, and neither of us ever wanted to lose. And, I’m guessing in part because we didn’t have the kickball-buffer so many other players in the BKDL had, we only had that aggressive I’m-going-to-throw-shit-at-you-as-hard-as-I-can-in-close-quarters relationship so many others hadn’t experienced (unless, of course, you were on Das Boot or the Goats in the early kickball years), so it was only semi-natural we didn’t exactly get along. People didn’t hang out after dodgeball outside of with your teammates; there was no Replay/Harbour party—though we tried Taproom on a handful of occasions with limited success (I blame the bartender, Soobaru).

So it wasn’t really until the second season of dodgeball, as I recall, that Simon and I really had a chance to acquaint with one another. (Outside of that time in the BKDL’s first Final Four when I bent over to pick up a ball and he blasted me as hard as he fucking could into my defenseless left ear and I went deaf for what felt like eight goddamn years.)

These things kinda happen between eventual friends.

Since then we’ve gone on to help build a championship KVKL team, develop a litany of inexcusable and entirely unfunny inside jokes, forget who owes who the next drink, ND NU, and accept Matt Cosgrove as a friend.

tgc1

TALL GUY CLUB

And in my nine years of KVKL-ship—which isn’t exactly a lot compared to so many others—it’s easy to lose sight of ultimately the most important part of this league. I’ve written about community on here before—maybe two years ago—but when you see (or in my case hear about) a good friend going down and going to the E.R., your first thought isn’t about that team’s score or how you played that day or the upsets around the league—it’s about your friends and colleagues with whom you share an unhealthy obsession for kickball and beer. Also winning.

Yeah, sure, maybe we’ve all, in his words, wanted to kick his teeth in at some point or another. But we all know no one really wants that—for him or anyone—even the people we say we loathed when we met them.

There are proverbs for everything. And one I will forever share is from William Blake: The bird a nest; the spider a web; man, friendship.

So here’s this week’s (first) MOVIE POSTER MONDAY:

6milliondollarsimon

. . . BUT WE DON’T WANT TO SPEND A LOT OF MONEY

I’ve had the pleasure of playing on the same team and winning championships with you; the displeasure of playing against you and getting my ass handed to me by you; MG&Cing and Battlefield & Chilling together; spent hours looking for Jalen Rose with you; lying about getting married and then going to Brothers with you; and making a genuine ass of myself because (and with) you for (probably) too many years.

So. Here’s to (probably) too many more, ya douchebag.

 

Something Mildly Different; or, Movie Poster Monday

Because I forgot (re: didn’t know what to write about because I haven’t had the chance to watch many games this season due to reffing and didn’t want to be just another pundit who makes predictions because that’s kinda boring) to write a post last week, I wanted to do something to somewhat make up for it. So I’ve started a new thing:

MOVIE POSTER MONDAY!!!

Granted, it’s not Monday—because I didn’t think of it until Wednesday night—but it did give me a chance to fuck around on Photoshop.

While eating, I had the idea to make a poster for the upcoming Beard-Off challenge between the Ghosts’ Matt Cosgrove and ReBoot’s very own me. The winner of the game gets to keep their beard; the loser must shave. It’s a good ol’ classic Shave-Off, and for that I made this:

SHAVE OFF
Good luck, Ghosts. My team doesn’t want to see me without a beard, and I’m pretty sure none of you do, either.

Now then. Here are my boring predictions:

Red Legs > Goats
Happy Shirt > Channel 6
Muddy Waters > Hurtz Donut D-Holes
KTC > Wildman
Chalmersiz > Flying Hellfish
Love Garden > Red Lyon
Los Matadores > Corksuckers
Repetition > Liberty Hall
Sacred Sword > Homies
Johnny’s > Rats
Free State > Harpies
Pawsh Wash > Jazzhaus
Woost > Rockets
Where’s My Pitches > Leeway Frank’s
Brewballers > Leafy Greens
Double Meat > Grandstand

And because I didn’t want to leave MOVIE POSTER MONDAY with just one—and because I couldn’t sleep—I went ahead and followed it up with this week’s other creation:

scream-ers

I ONLY ADDED MYSELF BECAUSE I HAVE NO IDEA WHO ANYONE ELSE IS ON THE SCREAMERS

I’m also not friends on Facebook with anyone from AsteroidHead. Oh, and for this game, I choose AsteroidHead > Screamers.

Be safe this weekend. Don’t blow anyone’s hands off. And don’t be shitty to animals. And don’t shoot fireworks at Game of the Week. Sure, we all may know that, but the spectators might not, so warn your friends who may come out.

Why We Do the Things We Do; or, The Longing Impact of Loss

My first significant experience with death was when I was barely a teenager. I’d lost distant family members before, yet as a kid it didn’t bare the same weight at the time, so it’s hard to quantify that feeling of loss. My very first pet, my cat, Keebler, was hit by a car one night. I saw it happen—though at the time I didn’t realize what I’d witnessed—until I went outside and found her. She was six months old and I was devastated. I saw through my dining room window a car suddenly stop, and the driver get out and drag something to the side, get back in, and drive away. It was completely black out and I was concerned about her, so I went out with a flashlight—back when people had flashlights. I walked out with my mother and pointed to where I saw that monster go, and the light reflected off her eyes. I ran inside and I cried for days. 

My family insisted we get another cat, eventually, and, as the kid I was, I finally agreed. We found a pair of sisters—both all black: one short-haired; the other long-haired—who we aptly named Shadow and Phantom, respective. Phantom was mine, and after only 8 years, she developed kidney problems. She’d disappear into the darkness often, tucked away into the shadows of our attic, only appearing long enough to sip some water. Weeks later, even that stopped. 

We took her to the vet, but she passed that night. I remember it clearly because I became severely ill that night. Fever. Vomiting. Night terrors. Everything. I remember waking in the middle of the night to my room being overtaken by darkness, like I was being haunted, cursed, and I woke in a sweat, terrified. I could see the shadows move across the walls and envelop everything, like the hands of beasts clawing at every surface, like they wanted to suffocate me. Later, in retrospect, it felt like she, Phantom (or Fanny as we called her), was trying to reach out to me—to tell me it wasn’t my fault. It’s always hard to think otherwise, but I’m starting to believe her. Nobody ever gets used to nightmares, after all. 

My grandfather, Tommy, who I’m named after, passed away shortly after. And then my grandmother, heartbroken, had a stroke. She was a badass, too—she would’ve loved this league. I swear, every time I saw her, she had a PBR in hand. At the hospital, I whispered into her ear, told her how much I loved her, and apologized for not always being there—for not appreciating her and the man I’m named after. She passed away the next day. 

I have experienced my share of loss since then—family, friends, pets. It’s never easy. It’s never expected.

On 21 March, 2015, I lost my father. It was sudden. Yet in ’08 his doctor said he had six months to live. He didn’t like to listen to anyone, though, and sure as shit not that, so he fought the hell out of everything that came his way. Seven years later those six months came. Nothing has haunted me more. 

I always wanted him to watch me play something other than elementary school basketball, but he never had the chance, unfortunately. (He was my basketball coach as a kid, even, and he was pretty damn good.) Call it bad timing, call it whatever. But I’ve never had a chance outside of my day-to-day life to say I’m doing something for him, until this Sunday. 

I play in Game of the Week, on 18 July, on Father’s Day. Maybe a lot of us are playing for their fathers. I’m playing for him. I don’t particularly care about the outcome, because I know what it’d mean to him. And while he may not be there, I know he’s there. 

And for all of you, loved and lost and never forgotten: I wish you were here. 

All my love, 

Thomas

What Little We’ve Learned So Far; or, What Shall We Do Without Us?

After two weeks of KVKL’s 15th! season, we’ve all had more of an opportunity to glean what may be the season’s most interesting storyline: The quick turnaround of younger teams that once were considered easy wins.

The young Jazzhaus team easily demolished a Leeway Frank’s squad that’s full of veteran players, its leadoff kicker crushing consecutive home-runs, and its defense stifling L.F. to only nine hits total—and preventing it from even reaching second base. That’s fucking bananas.

banana-slicer
And then there’s the Ladybird Harpies, that, while it lost to Kansas Tree Care, 6 – 2, holding a championship-caliber team to 6 runs is pretty impressive. Especially if you look at some of its scores from last season:

17 – 3 vs. Chalmersiz
21 – 4 vs. Goats
24 – 0 vs. Los Matadores
16 – 5 vs. Rats

Not the best numbers against not the best teams. Call the loss to KTC a Pyrrhic victory (I would), but the Harpies already have a legit win by beating the Screamers, 8 – 7, and a good chance to notch another win this Sunday vs. the Corksuckers in the pre-Game of the Week.

For those who follow college basketball, one of the major topics of discussion in recent years  is the degree of parity, and the ever-smallering competitive gap. It would appear KVKL is experiencing something similar—with younger, athletic teams competing at higher levels, and veteran teams vying to steal younger, athletic players to supplant their aging rosters.

Because sometimes even great team chemistry is no match for great team biology.

Here are some predictions:

Screamers > Grandstand Glasskickers
Free State Growlers > Johnny’s Tavern
Where’s My Pitches? > Pawsh Wash
Channel 6 > Los Matadores
Red Lyon > Liberty Hall Late Fees
Kansas Tree Care > Red Legs
Hurtz Donut D-Holes > Ghosts
Muddy Waters Studio > Leeway Franks
Wildman Attack Force > Sacred Sword
Goats > Rockets
Love Garden Squids > Woost
Jazzhaus > Brewballers
Flying Hellfish > AsteroidHEAD
Happy Shirt > Repetition
Chalmersiz > Rats
Ladybird Harpies > Corksuckers
Double Meat > Nick Lerner’s “Homies”

Here is a drawing of a stapler:

Picture1

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