Posts Tagged ‘victory’

“The underdog often starts the fight, and occasionally the upper dog deserves to win.”~ E.W. Howe

I was pondering last night that there are a lot of situations in life that there is an underdog.

In my first year of college, the group of friends that I made there was no exception.

There was one who was kind of an underdog. I’ll refer to him as “Brian”.

Brian was actually the stereotypical shy guy. But he was also one of the nicest people on the planet.

During the times when we were not in class we would hang out a lot. We’d play cards, eat in the cafeteria together and so on. Eventually getting to know him was quite interesting.

He was the kind of person that would give you, not only the shirt off his back, but his pants as well. He and I took several road trips and logged in lots of miles on his own vehicle. And he never once expected or asked for gas money. Even though at times, I would give him some.

Like many young men starting their college career, it would be kind of a culture shock. We all were away from home, in a world where we made our own rules, and had nobody there to tell us what to do. His life up to that point was kind of structured in that manner. But now that he was in college, all bets and rules were off.

Brian and I eventually developed in our friendship to the point where we were there for each other. When one of us would either be homesick or have some kind of problems, we would listen to one another. Especially him. He was always willing to stop whatever it was he was doing to listen.

The group of friends would eventually come up with our own code, our own language. It was our way of being able to talk about certain things and certain people without anyone knowing about it. It got to the point where Brian would always talk about how much he had a crush on a girl who was in a lot of his classes.

But because of his shyness, he just didn’t have it within him to tell her that he liked her. He wanted to ask her out on a date but was too shy and too scared.

The code and language that we developed actually sounded like a foreign language. We probably would have made really good spies. Brian would eventually talk in that way all of the time.

The girl that he had a crush on was tiny redhead with deep dark blue eyes and very pale white skin. And because of those physical characteristics (red hair, white skin, blue eyes), we would begin to refer to her as The Patriot.

But even those characteristics of her would have certain code words. Her eyes were deep blue, so they were called “sapphires”. Green eyes were “emeralds”, and so on.

Brian eventually began to talk to the girl more and more. He would be that friendly smile and that openness would allow them to begin a wonderful friendship. But he just couldn’t bring himself to tell her just how much he liked her.  

The Patriot would eventually come up for Homecoming Queen. I don’t remember anymore for sure, but I do not think that she won the title. And Brian was heartbroken that she didn’t win.

He stood by her side in all things, even in her shadow. This secret devotion that he had would only come out when he would speak in the code.

Towards the end of the school year, we all got together and we started to talk about what each of us was going to do in the next year. Some were going to transfer to other colleges, others were going to return for a second year.

Brian was coming back for a second year to earn his Associate’s Degree. But The Patriot was about to transfer to a state school to continue on in her education to enter a program that was going to take her six or seven years to earn her degree. I didn’t know it yet, but I would not return for a second year.

The end of the school year was coming near and Brian was actually running out of time if he had any chance at talking to The Patriot about how he was feeling.

Brian would end up having a conversation outside of her dormitory and he said to her, “I appreciate all of the times that you have smiled and made my life worth living. You are a terrific person. And pretty too. I could swim forever within your sapphires.”

The Patriot was totally confused. Brian would tell us that she smiled when he said that to her, but he just didn’t have enough within him to come out with the truth of his feelings. And it was something that he said to at least throw the hook into the water to see if she would bite.

Brian and The Patriot were such good friends by that time, that they traded phone numbers and addresses and became penpals over the summer.

The Patriot did go off to the state school and Brian returned. But they kept in touch. Brian never once used her phone number but never called. Instead, he wrote her.

As the next school year was in full swing, I would go back to the college to visit for a couple of days. Brian and the rest of the group of friends were so elated to see me again.

He still was talking about her as he always had. His crush never faded away even though she was gone. His one and only hope and connection was to write her while she was away at another college.

It just so happened that Brian admitted to me that he wrote her a very long letter and explained his feelings for her in a way that he knew that she would understand. And took that opportunity to ask her out on a date if she were to ever to be near.

That second day of me hanging out with the guys at the college dorm, he would receive a letter from The Patriot.

Nobody was really paying attention because it was common for her to write. But soon everyone was paying attention was Brian exclaimed “Damn! Damn!”.

Brian was a deeply religious person. He didn’t smoke, drink, do drugs, or even use profanity. We knew that from the obscenities coming from him that was something was horribly wrong.

Brian would eventually lock himself in the bathroom for twenty minutes. It was there that everyone heard him weeping.

When he emerged, he explained that The Patriot had turned him down. She had given him the “just friends” bit.

Women today are still notorious for that kind of crap. But for Brian, having never gone through a crush and then rejection before, his world was destroyed. He said that it would have gone over so much better if she had simply told him that she wasn’t interested or just a no.

Brian and I would fade in and out of communication. But I always knew that I could call his parents to see where he was at. The bonding friendship even had grown so much that I was seemingly “adopted” by his own mother as she would kiss me on my head when she saw me.

Several years later I would still contact his mother to find out where he was at. He now is probably the happiest in life that he has ever been. He is now married to an incredibly gorgeous woman and has a son. Nobody really thought that Brian would come out to be the winner because he was so much of the underdog based on his shyness. And then it turned out that he would have the most beautiful spouse out of any of us guys who were in the group of friends.

Cheering for the underdog is not a bad thing. We all know that often times the underdog will win. And in this case, the underdog won BIG!!

My point here is never assume that you should count out the underdog. They do rise to the top from time to time. For Brian being the underdog, he went through hell and back. And then he won in the end and still is riding high.

 

So then let’s get right to it!!

Participating in this tournament meant that we were guaranteed to play at least four games. Five teams total in the division. And so this is my experience and perspective for the road to winning the Bronze Medal.

Game #1- G.L.A.S.A. vs. TSH. Final score: 13-1.

Yep, you read right. It would be the largest margin of defeat that we would endure. Many things were a factor in this eye-opening game. #1- We had never played in a tournament like this before. #2- We did not have a goalie. Instead, someone volunteered to take up the position who in their own hockey experience, never played that position before. We were unarmed with very little defense to protect our goal. We had a lot of mistakes and basically this game, we took the loss. Team leaders and supporters continually reminded us that we did score one goal, and ruined Chicago’s shut out. We would shake the cobwebs off, learn from our mistakes, and move on.

Game #2- Buffalo vs. TSH. Final score: 2-1 (SO).

Victory. We had someone coming in as a goalie this time, and that player actually plays goalie. We also had our first taste of what it was like to be winning in regulation, but Buffalo came back and tied it which caused the game to go into sudden death by a shoot out. It began with a three man shoot out for each team, and it was still tied. So then each team went to the bench and each player took a shot at the goal until a player scored. My chance at the goal didn’t get off the ice and into the air and so it was easy for the goalie to just put his glove down and stop the shot from going in.

Ending the first day of competition with a WIN was a great feeling. Our tired bodies enjoying the fact that the first game of the second day would not be until the afternoon.

We had a player in goalie, who actually was a goalie. The player was actually playing for TWO different teams in the entire tournament. My hat goes off to him for being so tough!!

Game #3- Minnesota vs. TSH. Final score: 7-0.

Personally this game was probably the beginning of my physical and mental exhaustion. It was unfortunate that minutes before the game against Minnesota, I would find out that my brother-in-law had passed away the night before and I had no idea about it. Team supporters were discussing the sad news and assumed that I had already known about it. But I had not. I was fortunate enough to be able to concentrate on the game while I was on the ice long enough to put aside the sudden news of my family’s tragedy.

Minnesota was a team of all teams. Expected to win it all. (And they did.) We played them very tough. At that point, any other team that Minnesota played… they gave them a serious beating. But when they played us, Minnesota had fewer goals scored against an opponent. And we held them to seven.

If there was a game that I would have guessed we would have been beaten 13-1, it would have been this one. But I was wrong and I’m glad that I was.

One memory that really sticks out in my mind is that while we were getting beat by Minnesota, a female player scored on us and she turned around and filled the entire ice rink with her giggling and laughter, so proud of herself for scoring a goal. Everybody there heard it. She was bouncing up and down in her sled… it was a priceless moment for her. I had to skate by her and tell her “nice shot!”. I’m sorry, but it was too cute and funny.

Game #4- Florida vs. TSH. Final score: 1-0 (SO).

Another game that went into a shoot out. The three man shoot out produced no results and both teams actually went through their entire benches before finally our team cycled through to the top again and then scored, ending the nail-biting overtime period. My chance to win it all had failed because I skated too close to the goal and the puck didn’t have a chance to gain any speed or air to get passed their goalie.

This game was essential for us to win. If we would have lost, we would have been sent home. But we won, and then an hour or so later, we were back on the ice once more to play in the semi-finals. Going into it with a record of 2-2. A few players from Florida congratulated us on our win and one even said that it was worth the elimination to have been a part of the extended and grueling overtime period as he laughed about it.

Game #5: Semi-final- G.L.A.S.A. vs. TSH. Final score: 2-0.

Wretched bloody game 5!!!

Again we played Chicago. We knew what they were capable of doing. But our team was showing huge amounts of improvement with each game played whether we won or loss. And it was our third game that we played in eight hours. As SIX MINUTE CENTURY says in their song: “Through the flames, we abide. Weary, we march on.”

This game should have gone into our third shoot out of the tournament. But there was one major problem. The officials didn’t know what they were doing!

Chicago’s first goal was crap. They took a shot at the goal, and our goalie stopped it. But then the player who had taken the shot ran right into our goalie and knocked him over. The puck sputtered behind our goalie and then Chicago tapped it in. But it should not have counted and the call should have been “goalie interference”.

Being down early kind of worked its way into our mentality, but we stuck to it and fought our hardest. Even though we did take shots at the goal.

And that kind of irritates me as well. The website that keeps tracks of the stats throughout the entire tournament said we had NO shots on goal. I had a couple, so that’s bull. One game, I’m not even listed on the roster and I was there playing. And they had me as goalie for the first game, which I was not. But I will digress and get back to game five.

With less than two minutes left in regulation, the most unbelievable chain of events happened that contributed to the 2-0 loss. And yes, I took this very, VERY personal!!

Let me draw your attention momentarily to the image of hockey sticks that is used when playing the sport of sledge hockey. The metal picks on the end of the stick are the device to help propel a player across the ice as they remain seated in a sled. These picks are very sharp and they have to be, to be able to dig into the ice and move the player along.

I was in the offensive zone and Chicago was trying to get it away. I struggled in a physical battle for the puck and fell over in the sled.

Falling over happens a lot, that’s just how it goes. But what DOES NOT happen, or SHOULD NOT happen is that these sticks are used as a weapon.

I was stabbed in the back with a stick with the metal picks coming down into my body. I did have the essential protective gear and equipment on. But with enough force behind the swing… I felt it.

I’m laying there on my side, fighting to get the puck and I’m stabbed! I noticed that an official was near by and I took advantage of it and screamed out bloody frickin’ murder when the offense happened in order to get the attention of the officials. So yeah, I played it out and whined on the ice.

The play was called dead by the whistle, “Slashing” was called for a penalty for G.L.A.S.A. #23. They made it a five minute penalty rather than a common two minute penalty because of the seriousness of the offense.

BIG PROBLEM though!

#1- The scoreboard showed that the five minute penalty for our team and not Chicago.

#2- Player #23 was NOT pulled out of the game to sit in the penalty box, instead they pulled out someone else.

Again with the cheating and stupid officials because they were idiots and didn’t know what they were doing.

With only less than two minutes left, we pulled out our goalie and had six men on the ice. Chicago got the puck and scored on our empty net to make the score 2-0.

It was #23 that scored on the empty net, and he should have been pulled out of the game in the penalty box. But no. That clinched their victory over us.

G.L.A.S.A. would go on to face Minnesota in the Championship Game. And we were going to the Consolation Game. In which we met up against Buffalo again.

Game #6: Consolation- Buffalo vs. TSH. Final score: 3-0.

Third place on the line. Our game continued to improve more and more. We were not called for the same kinds of mistakes as we had been in our first two games.

We jumped ahead early 1-0, and we never looked back. Buffalo took out their player from the goal and he played as a forward late in the third period. But we would score twice on their empty net late in the game, clinching our victory and Bronze Medal.

When it was all said and done, our team couldn’t have been happier. There was a bit of a discussion about had the officials not cheated during the semi-finals, of whether or not the Silver Medal would have been “given to us”. Well I said that we would have received the silver for sure, because we were not going to beat Minnesota, but we had earned the right to play for it.

All in all, everyone on the team, the coaches, the parents, the supporters were happier than pigs in mud about our tournament results. Not one person complained or groaned about our performance during the Consolation Game.

So now we know what its like to travel. We know what it is like to travel AND participate in a tournament and play at a higher level than what we have ever done before in the past. We have that knowledge, experience, and a higher ability to play with other teams from across the nation. Something that none of the team players had ever had before.

We know that we can do it now. And we have proven that. Coming home after a victory is always a plus. Third Place couldn’t have been any sweeter. It is going to be something that everyone is going to remember for the rest of their lives. Because I know that I sure will.

 

 

“To be honest, I find going out pretty scary and intimidating. Got all those people checking you out, with only one purpose: hooking up. I’m quite the dork, I’d rather sit home and play Scrabble. But that doesn’t get you a girl, does it?”~Wentworth Miller

Okay fellow subscribers and readers: No hokey posts about love, emotion, desires, dreams or the brain today. I’m sure that plenty of you are tired of it all.

I also want to say thank you to all of those who read this blog. Yesterday I reached over 3,000 total views. It is what makes me want to keep this blog alive, instead of discarding it. Knowing that people are reading it.

With that said:

This afternoon, I went out on to the battlefield. Well actually, just the game board. But it was still heated. After having played a gruesome game of Scrabble today, I was reminded of the previous times I have played against the neighbors and I either came out of it victorious, or was put into immediate shame.

There was a time a few years ago, the apartment complex had a Game Day on Friday afternoons. Scrabble was one of the games offered and I stuck around to play the neighbors. Suddenly, it was a grueling foursome fight.

But then the guy who would always win, was caught cheating and so his wife simply bowed out of it after verbalizing her disgust in her husband’s cheating ways. Then the next person simply had lost her interest in playing the game.

It became a head-to-head challenge. My opponent with many degrees and certificates and knowledge of languages, and simple little ole me.

Eventually, I could see how the guy was cheating. He would put words on the board and claim 20-30 points for the word when it actually never was a word. When he was asked to use it in a sentence, he wouldn’t blink or shake and would make up something that sounded real that nobody ran for a dictionary. It was supposed to be fun, it was never for prizes or anything like that.

What would seem to could have been the final blow at the time was the argument over the word “CALVARY“. I was using it as a military term, but the old man defied all of that logic (even though he came out of the Army as a Lt. Col.), and said that it was a proper noun, i.e.~ the Cross of Calvary, and therefore it could not be played.

There were no dictionaries around and no computers available that were working to jump online to look it up. The end result was that this word, would have landed on a triple word score block and put me so far ahead of him in the lead that he’d have no chance to come back and beat me because all other triple word score blocks were already used. Plus it was nearing the end of the game, and I only had a few letters left. Using the word would have meant that I used ALL of my tiles that I had and that would have added even more to the lead for getting a 50 point bonus for using all of your tiles. I was looking at a word that would have gained me close to 80 points total. The guy wouldn’t have had a freakin’ chance.

So the final result was that I pulled my word off of the board, and he grabbed it to take his turn. He claimed that because I placed an improper word on the board, I forfeited a turn.

I think that actually are the rules, but this is supposed to be a low-key match on a Friday afternoon just passing the time away. No world-domination of supreme rule involved and the fate of the world was not in jeopardy from this game. Besides, nobody made him forfeit a turn when he got caught cheating and it was obvious, and then he went ahead and played another word. Nobody said anything about that!!!

He ended up using the triple word score block and had something like 50+ points from one word. Suddenly it was I, who was so far back that I could never catch up and he won the match by well over 30 points in the end.

To this day, nobody has ever figured out if I was actually right or not.

He and I have played a game or two here and there since then. But not as we used to, not after that scene over that one word. Probably a year went by before we went at it again.

His wife had refused to play. And I do not think that anyone blamed her because her husband would cheat so deliberately.

A two player game will mount points up of over 200 total and be pretty close to 300. A three or four player game is a little different. Once a player is getting up to 200 points, they are either cheating or its nearing the end of the game.

We no longer fear the dreaded J, Q, X, or Z. In fact, we invite it. Those are the letter tiles that gain you the most points, even if you are unsure of which words would contain them to spell out something correctly. I think that many people who play the game just for fun don’t really know a lot of words with those kinds of letters and they panic whenever its something that they draw.

Today’s “playground” was a bit different. It was myself, plus the husband and wife. A glorious effort by all who were involved because we were just so darned rusty in playing the game. But it got pretty heated and intense.

I could never maintain a lead. Sure, I would play a word and then capture the lead… but the person after me would always score something higher and pass me up to take the lead away.

At one point, I was so far behind that I did what I could to catch up. I had a “Q”, and I was able to form the word “QUEST“. But that “Q” was one space short of being in the triple word score block. A “Q” equals 10 points alone x 3 would’ve been 30 points on just ONE letter, then the rest of the word. But it was short one spot.

The wife saw the opportunity and started to trash talk and celebrate as she added on to the word and created the word, “REQUEST“. I think it was 54 points for that one word. She built herself a very solid lead.

She was very proud of herself for finding it. The husband already had warned me that’s what she would have played. So all the trash talk- we were prepared for. Nothing like the elderly pointing their fingers in your face and giving your the raspberries.

But it was my turn next, and I took up the other opportunity because I built the word “REQUESTED” and the “D” actually landed on the other triple word score block. (For those of you who play and know the board- the “D” was played at the very bottom right corner, which tripled the word in points.)

It gained me 57 points and only behind the leader by less than ten points at that time!!!

Suddenly, things weren’t looking to bad for me. The wife immediately was deflated and all I was really hoping for was to keep up with the wife, and only doing my best to try and keep the lead close from the husband. I felt there was no shame in earning second place. Epic war!

But then I was the player who went out. I added the total score and was still down by just a few points. The rules do state that if any player is left with any letters, and someone goes out, then they subtract the point value total from their score. The one who goes out first actually GAINS the point value of each letter left unplayed by other players. The wife had a total of five points, and the husband only one point. The gain of six points at the end was the trick that gave me the victory!!! I beat the husband by one point– HIS point that he had to surrender, otherwise he and I would have tied.

Clearly, he was a bit disgusted that he lost, and by so very little. He’s so used to decimating me. He wanted another game, but I was fortunate enough to announce that I had an appointment soon and I had to leave.

The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat…. or something like that.

So if Wentworth Miller (of “Prison Break” fame) says he’s a dork for playing Scrabble, then every once in a while, I am in complete dorkness!! I say to him, “Come on over, I’ll kick your butt.”

What kinds of board games do you indulge once in a while? Trivia? Monopoly?? Let me know. I’d be curious to find out.

And for those of you who are wondering:

  • Wife- 194
  • Husband- 201
  • Me-202