I slept much better last night than I had the previous night. I'm not sure if the fundamental reason was physical exhaustion, or dehyrdation from the sun and the wind, or increased comfort levels of sleeping relatively exposed in the back of a mini-van, or just finally adjusting to the timezone changes, but I was able to sleep.
Since we didn't make the A bracket, we had to drive to the next fields to play up through the B bracket. The games were supposed to start at 9. We left the main fields at 8:55 am, never mind about actually getting there on time. I warned the team that I may not be able to play today, depending on how I reacted to the aspartame I accidently drank the night before, but I'd play until I couldn't. Which, fortunately, meant all day.
We won our first game, capped at 11, against Huevos J-Bird, which was a team based mostly out the Bay Area. I was surprised we won the game, until someone pointed out our opponents were playing with just 9 people. Yeah, that would definitely have an effect on the game. During one point, Alex was working over Shasta (local Bay Area Open player, played for Vahalla years back, possibly Kaos, dating J-Bird now). We were able to tease Shasta during a point that Alex was only 12, which made everyone, including Shasta laugh, then get worked over a bit more.
The next game we also won, something closer like 11-9, having gone up big at the beginning, and letting the other team come back to make the game close. Now, how familiar does that sound?
The next game was against a Michigan team, on which were several players who knew many players on my team, Breast and Thighs. I think they're all in the Central Region, so play local(ish?) tournaments against each other a lot, so knew each other. There was some good comraderie amongst the players, which made the game both interesting and frustrating. After half time, which we took, it was clear that the team was getting tired. A couple players commented that, although they didn't really want to play another game after this game, they didn't really want to lose to this team, either. Losing would give the other team bragging rights for the whole next year, something that no one who knew the other players could bear.
So we won.
And won the right to play in the B bracket finals.
When we moved back to the original fields to play the finals, with everyone going over (a surprise for me, as the only injury was Dylan's chronic calf pull, an unmitigated success in my book considering how uneven some of the fields we played on were), most everyone was delayed by a parade of vintage and retro collector cars whose path just happened to cross ours on our way back to the fields. I guess it was part of the Poultry Days celebration, this car parade.
When we arrived at the finals fields, everyone's asses were dragging. I talked our opponents down from a game to 13 to a game to 9. We also found out that not only was one of the A bracket finals teams the only team to beat us this weekend, the other team in the A bracket finals was the only team to beat our B bracket finals opponents.
From the start of the game, it was very clear the other team REALLY wanted to win. Since we REALLY wanted to be done, the score reflected our mutual desires, and we lost 4-9, having been down 2-8 a few minutes before. Our loss in the B bracket finals did, however, secure the team a top spot in schedule for next year, and an easier road to the A bracket. I was told that, in the end, if we couldn't win it all, that was still a good achievement. Yay, John, Noz, Patrick, Dana, Karen, Alex, Truesdale (who is 25, not 29 like I thought), Amy, Dylan and everyone else. Yay, us!
The drive home to Valparaiso was quite pleasant. I'm actually surprised at how fast four hours of farm land can fly-by. I was definitely happy to be back home at the end of the day at Dad's place, and just as happy to head out with him for ice cream. Small moments like ice cream with Dad are parts of the big reason I came on the trip in the first place: to spend time with Dad. I'm glad we had many on this trip.