Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Circle Rules Federation - The Slow (James K.) Polks Game 1

One of the things I do outside of the realm of theater and politics is that I play Circle Rules Football, a game invented by my friend Greg Manley as his Independent Project at the Experimental Theater Wing. Yes, he invented a sport instead of doing a play. And we're all happy that he did. The rules are on the website, and there's also a great explanatory video of what CRF is that was done by Good Magazine

Today was the first game of the Spring League. The Slow (James K.) Polks versus Dynamic Shock and Awe.

First, the obligatory smack-talk: our team, The Slow (James K.) Polks, draws its inspiration from the dynamic one-term President who did not seek re-election because 4 years was enough for him to make a drastic mark on the history of the United States through the annexation of Texas and other key policy victories. Dynamic Shock and Awe draws its inspiration from the tactic of overwhelming force and domination best known for its limitations in the Iraq War, where it turned out that staying power was very difficult.

The game was an hour: four 15 minute quarters.

QUARTER 1 - The elements were not on our side; there was a strong wind blowing against our scoring direction that made even medium distance shots pretty difficult. On top of that, our team had seven of its usual players show today, and their team had twenty. That meant that they could substitute a lot more rapidly, lowering the overall fatigue of their players over the course of the game.

That being said, the first quarter was a pretty close one. They scored a couple coming straight out of the gate as we found our footing, but from that point forward we remained a couple points behind them. We kept possession on the offensive a lot, but because of the wind and some admittedly good defense on their end, we had trouble sealing the deal with goals. At the end of the game, the score was 2-4 in favor of Dynamic Shock and Awe.

QUARTER 2 - We tried to shake up our offensive strategy, and we got a couple amazing goals in -- one involved a fantastic passing game that had our three offensives passing constantly over the heads of their players. At one point, we pulled into a tie game of 4-4. But Shock and Awe kept their lead steady, and by the end of the quarter the score was 4-6 in favor of Shock and Awe.

QUARTER 3 - We came out of the gate hitting as hard as we could, but they were surging in strength too. We kept possession very much on their side of the field -- we had switched sides of the field, but the wind was dying so it didn't help us out as much as we wanted. Their goalie for this quarter also had 30 pounds on our goalie, which in Circle Rules Football normally wouldn't be allowed but we didn't have anyone in the goalie's weight class. Our goalie Billy was playing a brave game, but he was getting pretty clobbered. Also, we started to really hit the fatigue wall from not having enough spare players. The Shock and Awe's lead intensified, and the quarter ended 6-10.

QUARTER 4 - Not the game's finest hour by any stretch. We picked goalie, so we put our smallest and scrappiest player in the goal. By the half, the two of them were getting pretty intensely physical. There were some questionable moves being put in, and a friendly argument broke out on the benches as to what violates the "no holds" rule of goal-keeping -- whether it is submission holds, or holds in general. The scrappiness of the goalies turned into a fairly rough game on the field we started to get down to the wire -- their captain, Scott Riehs, was carried off the field after a leg cramp the size of a golf-ball. But the fatigue had set in, and The Slow Polks really were getting slow on the field. The game ended at a fairly unpleasant 7-15.

Afterwards, the handshakes cleared, and our team had opened its season with a loss. The Dynamic Shock and Awe had lived up to their name, with a huge reserve of energetic players who fought hard and, well, maybe had a bit of advantage of not having to play as long. The debate around the holds continued, especially amongst the veterans who crafted the rules to begin with. They are currently at the bar hashing the rules out over beers, the way most of the games' rules were hashed out.