Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Turkey Bowl Deux Mille Neuf

It was a cold and foreboding day as two teams of young, eager and out of shape people took the field at L'Ecole Des Voyageurs in Orleans for the annual Turkey Bowl, a brutal and taxing game of two-hand-touch which gets more and more contentious with every passing year. I arrived early, because I was the guy bringing the football. Also, I was last year's MVP, which meant that I was to bring the MVP trophy and put it up for grabs again. Last year's trophy was a plastic chicken glued into a gravy boat, but I could not find it. It appears my wife thought at some point this past year that it was junk, and through it out. Even though it was prominently displayed in my rather sparse trophy case.

So I arrived at the field with a new trophy, one that I had made myself after a short trip to the dollar store. It was a plastic chicken glued ont a gravy boat, just a different chicken and a different boat. And they were not glued together. Because I had only a glue stick at home, a promotional token from that movie Hump Day (which for some reason gave away glue sticks), I was unable to properly fasten the two together, and they came apart in my car on the way to the game.

As players began to trickle in from all over Ottawa, the two teams were chosen. Last year I benefited from some quality teammates and lazy opponents in winning the MVP trophy. I had good chemistry with Eric Russo, and the luxury of being covered by Marc Bois, who did not want to run very much. This year things were different, as I had Marc on my team and Eric on the opposing side of the field. I don't know when it happened, but event organizer Steven Dalrymple named our squad Team Punishment at some point during the game. It may have been off the top, or it may have been later on. But by the second half, we were Team Punishment. The other team had no name. I will refer to them as Team B.

In the first half, the teams appeared to be evenly matched. In that neither team had any offense. The first half ended with the score tied at 2-2. Marc Bois had thrown a pick-six for our side, but had redeemed himself with three interceptions and two (admittedly flukey) TD passes of his own. I had also thrown a pick-six, having been effectively baited on defense by Eric Russo. But I had not redeemed myself. At the half, we re-assessed our situation. They had two QBs who could throw deep, Eric and Pat. We had one, me. But we did have a few other QBs who could be very effective and accurate in short-yardage situations.

Team Punishment was also aided by the second-half arrival of Caroline Russo, who took the place of the six members of our team who decided to sit down on the sidelines and smoke rather than continue playing. It is a testament to the chemistry of Team Punishment that we didn't notice this mass defection until about five series of downs had gone by. In the end, it was Team B who sputtered on offense. Mike Phillips, a skinny British import, was proving to be a rather effective short yardage possession receiver, but toward the end of the game he was left out of the plans of Team B. Eric Russo, who throws a pretty nice deep ball, was constantly throwing that deep ball. Often into tight coverage. Which made it quite easy to defend. Team Punishment settled for shorter gains of 15-20 yards per play, and did very well in the battle of field position.

Toward the end, the result of the game was very much in doubt. I had led a quick TD drive early in the second half, and Team B had responded with a long, quick-strike TD of their own. The score was tied, 3-3, and the game would end with the next score. Or at 3:30, whichever came first. People had to go for thanksgiving dinner, after all. And with time running down, and the clock our enemy, Eric (the guy in the red shirt I don't know his last name) led a last-second, Favre-esque touchdown drive, three quick short completed passes followed by a short fourth-down toss to James Fraser for the win.

I didn't get to keep the MVP award I had built myself. Co-MVP honours went to Marc Bois and the guy on our team in the red sweatshirt who had a twin brother playing on the other side. Which was fortuitous, because the MVP trophy was now in two pieces. Bois had the trophy wrapped up at halftime, but his injury forced him out for the second half, leaving the door open for someone else. Eric Russo was the MVP of the losing side, winning a can of No-Name brand chicken and peas.

I got home exhausted, and went almost straight to bed, and only then did I discover that I was badly injured. I think it occured on a play where Krista, who had been covering me tightly all day, shoved me to the ground while visciously two-hand-touching me. My shoulder is absolutely screwed. I couldn't sleep on my left side or my right side, and I could barely sleep on my stomach or on my back. I tossed and turned all night, and each time I moved even a little the sharp and intense pain would wake me up. Which means that this morning, I am so tired that I didn't realize until now that I had written eleven paragraphs on a silly, silly football game. Sorry about that.


  1. Interesting story, slightly exaggerated one would say, perhaps even untruthful others would say… I, I mere passer-by, did witness this alleged shoving to the ground by a two hand touch by this angelic lady.

    First may I say I did only stop to bask in the mere presence of the very talented no name brand team; a team robbed by Mother Nature’s cruel nephew, Nephew Wind (also known as son of Brother Cloud)..

    This young lady I saw touched you with the warmth of Mother Teresa cuddling a kitten mixed in with a dash of the gentle embrace of Princess Diana.

    As I remember it, the clouds parted and rays of light from the high heavens poured through the instant her saintly hands lay upon you.

    I believe that young lady, that divine creature, is probably lying in her bed, sore, battered, beaten and exhausted from the self inflicted brutality to her muscles, brutality inflicted for the good of the game, a game called football.

  2. Both versions of the story could be said to have some accuracies...I think perhaps that in your view from the sideline you may have missed the post-injury sack dance she did, raising her saintly hands in the air and performing a Michael Jackson-esque strut over my prone outstretched body like a demented Ray Lewis...I could also have been lightheaded when I remember this occurring.