The deciding Game Seven of the 2015 Oakleaf Olympics took place last weekend on a record-breaking warm December day, with temperatures in the mid-60s F and calm winds. Nevertheless, Team Oak still had four players left on the bench despite the very late date of this final game.
Team Oak 4
Team Chatsworth 7
The mild weather definitely gave Team Chatsworth a much needed energy boost and even though it was an afternoon game with a relatively early lights-out, they had enough time to pile up sufficient points across the goal line to bag the series win. Although overall Team Oak outscored Team Chatsworth by 75 to 62, by the rules of the series (per-game dressed players vs scoring asset bags) the underdog ended up emerging as the victor.
While storing the equipment away for next year’s contest, the victorious team paused for a brief postgame interview with Pup Spritzer, roving cub reporter for GNN (Garden/Neighborhood Network) who took time out from his usual beat of covering car chases and doing fire hydrant investigations to look in on the final game.
GNN: Overall, how would you rate your team’s performance this year?
TC: To be honest, Pup, I think we were woefully unprepared. Poor preseason conditioning was definitely a factor that slowed us down; this series should have been over in five games!
GNN: Isn’t that a bit unrealistic, given the size of their bench?
TC: Maybe. The fact that our equipment was somewhat limited in scope didn’t help either. That’s why we had to switch to an unconventional game strategy after losing the first three games so badly.
GNN: Unconventional? How so?
TC: Well, purists always contend that the field must be absolutely 100% cleared of scoring assets… even the sideline beds. You know: the classic Billiard Tabletop style of play. That’s how it was done last year when we had mercenaries, ummm, I mean, some extra drafted players. But this year, after having exceeded the salary cap this spring, that wasn’t possible – so we literally didn’t have the manpower. And so starting about midway through Game Four a decision was made to concentrate only on the turf areas of the field as well as certain selected borders, but not to try for a clean sweep, so to speak.
GNN: That’s very unusual. Is that strategy allowed in this league?
TC: It’s generally frowned upon but not technically illegal. We don’t play in an HOA market where everything is strictly regulated as must-do and can’t-do. But there are consequences to playing this type of game even here though.
GNN: Such as what?
TC: We’ll now be required to participate in the Early Spring Games, which – if the arena had been 100% cleared in the classic manner – we’d otherwise have been exempt from. That’s going to be very challenging because those games are scheduled at the exact same time as the start of the annual Weed Wars, which of course are compulsory. So the price of our strategy this autumn will be a backbreaking schedule three or four months from now.
GNN: What’s your team’s plan for next year’s Oakleaf Olympics and beyond?
TC: It’s no secret that we’re actively looking to move to a different arena in a much less competitive league. It’s our hope that we’ll be out of here before next fall’s games but of course that depends entirely on whether a suitable arena becomes available between now and then at an affordable price. We do have a definite location in mind though. The fields are smaller – half the size, in fact – and there’s not a Team Oak player in sight. I’ve done some discreet scouting and the only players I saw were wearing Maple Leaf jerseys; also they are pretty widely scattered. I’d estimate only a half dozen or less per arena…sometimes as few as two or three and those were right next to the goal lines. 🙂 Looks like heaven after the series we’ve just been through. I don’t mind telling you that our team had no idea what we were getting into when we bought into this league; these Team Oak guys are absolute brutes and they don’t seem to ever give up!
GNN: Well, congrats on the win and best of luck in the spring.
TC: Thanks, we’ll need it! (*off camera* Note to Equipment Manager: order extra-large bottle of Tylenol from Amazon…)