Monday, August 17, 2009

SOFA recap, 8/16/09

Coming back after a bye week, the Springfield Open Football Association braved a humid August afternoon in the sun…and the clouds…and the rain…and the wind…and the heat…and the coolness…and more sun…and even more humidity…essentially every type of non-catastrophic weather known to humankind, for an afternoon of - you’ll never guess this - football!

This week marked a pivotal moment for SOFA, as it represented the first-ever gathering under Commissioner Ian’s direction. As a token of his regime’s affection, he lovingly painted the practice field at Kickapoo High School to resemble a true game-day field. Someone remarked how well-painted the yard markers were, but in fact it was the grass that was white from dryness, and the green had to be painted in.

You’re welcome.

In another SOFA shake-up, Ian debuted an innovative concept called the play clock. As in, we’ll play with this “clock” idea a little bit. Due to this exciting, alternative way of approaching the inexorable march of minutes, the game had a roughly 40-minute first half and a 50-minute second half, with water breaks timed perfectly to keep everyone on their toes (because knowing what’s going on is for sissy intellectuals). Furthermore, the field had what appeared to be a 120-yard line, which was a valuable lesson in the metric system of the Canadian Football League.

I aim to educate.

Sunday’s matchup was like a George Carlin routine: heavy on the offense. It was different from Carlin in that no sudden death was involved. You know he would have found that funny.

Really burying the lead here, huh?

Anyway, the Team With Interesting Names (Ian, Jerome, Jessica, Chad, Clover, Blue) topped the Average Names Team (Jack, Emily, Kenny, Joe, Stephanie and later Clover) with a 61-46 nail-biter. I mean, blowout.

Actually, it was only a blowout in the beginning. TWIN punched early and often, taking a commanding 38-6 lead into the half. Or, the first water break, I forget. Damn commissioner. After scoring on the very first possession (Ian to Jerome, and then to Clover for an impressive two), TWIN liked it so much that Jerome made an interception on the very first defensive play, setting up another TWIN score. Excellent zone defense kept their offense at bay, bending but not breaking in the red zone. The time of possession itself was nearly a shutout. Man, TWIN just crushed the other team like the ANT they were. Hell, some members of TWIN were so bored on defense that we started talking about health care reform.

But then ANT began to self-reflect and decide that they wanted to play. TWIN, feeling sorry for their opponents, let them have a few plays to build up their confidence. A couple of scores here and there, what’s the diff?

That, and no other reason, is how ANT mounted a remarkable comeback in the second half that narrowed the score to 42-38. At no point in the game did TWIN ever relinquish the lead, but Jack’s and Joe’s flurry of short passes were more than enough to make that horrible prospect possible.

It was about this time that the rain hit. As the sky grew dark gray, we were all hoping for some sweet, sweet relief from the stifling, vein-swelling heat. We got that and more in what Forrest Gump would have called, “big ol’ fat rain.” This made the ball nearly un-catchable, except that everyone still caught it.

In fact, everyone played at nearly their peak. I’m pretty sure everybody scored, including all three spectators and a couple of people who weren’t even there.

Soon after, the rain and clouds disappeared and it was as if nothing changed, except for the humidity. TWIN finally answered ANT’s comeback with a pass from Chad to Blue, a pass so laser-precise that it had two targets, with Ian ready to catch it too. The confusion, er, precision, led to Blue pounding a cleat into Ian’s big toe on his way to a touchdown. Ouch. But also, yay!

After Blue’s lucky TD, the game was essentially a shootout. With fewer than two minutes to play, ANT scored a touchdown to narrow the deficit to nine. An onside jump ball went to TWIN, and so did the game with a long bomb from Ian to Jerome that led to a walk-off touchdown.

Good game, good game, good game.

Catch of the Game: Clover, for the PAT she nailed in heavy coverage, and for the long bomb she caught for a near-TD once she became an ANT. Jerome is exempt from this category for the same reason Devin Hester doesn’t return our kicks.

Tinactin® Injury of the Game: when Kenny slammed his throat into Jerome’s shoulder in a mid-air collision. Kenny coughed up blood and everything. I hope he’s still alive.

Field Goal of the Game: Joe, by default.

Best flag-or-no-flag confuser: Emily.

Best-timed departure: Stephanie.

Best observation about Springfield: Jack (“When is there anything to do?”)

Best new car: Jessica.

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